Sept. 1, 2015 – The largest freshwater cattail marsh in the nation has renewed life thanks to a more than $1.5 million investment by Ducks Unlimited and generous local support.
Horicon Marsh in southeastern Wisconsin spans nearly 32,000 acres and is a short drive from the Milwaukee, Madison and Fox Valley metro areas. It hosts more than 400,000 people annually for hunting, bird watching, hiking and environmental education programs.
The $1.5 million restoration investment includes a gift of $500,000 from the Ted and Grace Bachhuber Foundation and a $500,000 challenge grant that 72 Ducks Unlimited donors met in a little more than two years. Ducks Unlimited paired the grant with numerous other county, state and federal funding sources.
The ongoing restoration has enhanced more than 2,700 acres of wetlands so far and focuses on four major areas: land protection adjacent to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and State Wildlife Area; watershed restoration; invasive species control and improved wetland management.
Ducks Unlimited shored up more than three miles of dike and added water control features to keep water levels optimal for a variety of waterfowl. Ducks Unlimited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources partnered to control invasive species and enhance more than 500 acres of the marsh. DU acquired 71 acres of habitat around the marsh which provides a buffer of grassy habitat for waterfowl nesting cover and filtering water into the marsh.
The result is a national wetlands jewel in Wisconsin that will serve waterfowl and people for generations. Over the years, 264 bird species have been observed using the marsh, a vital migration stop for several hundred thousand Canada geese annually during the spring and fall. The marsh also is home to the largest breeding population of redheads east of the Mississippi River. The marsh was designated a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.
The public is invited to two Ducks Unlimited events near Horicon Marsh to support Ducks Unlimited's mission of wetlands conservation. Details can be found at www.ducks.org/wisconsin:
The Horicon Flyway Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is presenting its 12th annual fall smoker at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Dodge Center, 616 Clinton St. in Horicon. Tickets are $25 per person, $40 per couple or $250 for a sponsor and includes dinner, beverages and raffle opportunities for cash and guns.
The Beaver Dam Ducks Unlimited Chapter is planning its 39th annual fall banquet for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 15, at Bayside Supper Club, W9231 County Road G, Beaver Dam. This is a top event in Wisconsin and features door prizes, auctions, gun raffles and other prizes. The event will have a special program where attendees have the opportunity to enter a statewide raffle for a two-year lease of a Dodge Ram truck. Tickets for the event are $40.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.