Ducks Unlimited's Western Regional Office
recently celebrated a major milestone as it surpassed the 100,000-acre mark for waterfowl habitat conserved
or protected in the Pacific Northwest. "To put it in perspective, that's roughly 76,000 football fields," said Mark Biddlecomb, DU's direction of operations in the region. DU projects vary in size, ranging from a few dozen acres to several hundred. Of the 100,000 acres conserved, more than 14,000 acres of wetlands are now permanently protected. The other 86,681 acres have been enhanced or restored. The Western Region's conservation and restoration target goal for 2013 is more than 23,000 acres.
"Our volunteers, members, and supporters are the keys to our conservation success," Biddlecomb added. "Without them, none of this would be possible."
The numbers don't tell the whole story, said Tom Dwyer, DU's director of conservation programs in the Pacific Northwest. "Our Nisqually Estuary Restoration Project
is the largest tidal restoration project ever completed in the Pacific Northwest," he explained. "This effort spanned more than 15 years and involved more than 900 acres of tidal habitat in the Nisqually Delta, an area crucial to the recovery of endangered chinook salmon."
The Nisqually Estuary Restoration Project was given the Coastal America Award for excellence in leadership for protecting, preserving, and restoring the nation's coastal resources and ecosystems. The Coastal America Award is the only environmental accolade of its kind to be presented by the president.