Wetland protection, enhancement, and improvements will benefit wintering waterfowl and protect critical ecosystems.
Ridgeland, Miss.- Oct.17, 2023 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) and its partners in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi recently received a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant that will protect and enhance over 2,840 acres of wetlands along the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV).
“These two enhancement projects will provide quality waterfowl habitat in a high priority area for wintering waterfowl on wildlife management areas (WMAs) managed by The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) that provide numerous hunting opportunities to the public,” said Nick Biasini, DU regional biologist for the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. “They could not be done without the strong partnership between the LDWF, Wetlands America Trust, and DU.”
The Russell Sage and Bodcau WMA Wetland Enhancement Project is the continuation of a multi-phase effort aimed at the protection, restoration, and enhancement of critical wetland habitats on public lands in the MAV by leveraging private land conservation values perpetually protected in Arkansas.
Primary conservation programs in the MAV aim to maintain and restore the landscape at some functional level that benefits wildlife and people with specific emphasis on increasing non-breeding period survival and breeding success of migratory birds that utilize this landscape as wintering and migration habitat. This project will protect and enhance 2,840 acres of state and private lands in the MAV in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
DU’s list of partners on this project includes Wetlands America Trust, Inc., LDWF, and a private landowner.
“Since its inception in 1989, NAWCA has seen unrivaled success in restoring North America’s threatened migratory bird habitats,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “These projects not only support natural places, but they are also good for local economies, support outdoor recreation, improve our water quality, reduce erosion, and protect against flooding. We thank our friends in Congress for supporting this vital program and look forward to getting these projects underway in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.”
NAWCA grants totaling more than $1.83 billion have leveraged $3.75 billion in contributions from partners since their initial legislation in 1989. These contributions have far exceeded match requirements, allowing for the successful implementation of wetland habitat restoration projects across North America. Federal and non-federal funding has resulted in the conservation of more than 30 million acres of wetlands and associated uplands across North America. The abundance of wildlife, including many species of waterfowl, other migratory birds, fish, and mammals supported by wetlands, translates into multi-billion-dollar activities for Americans who enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and photography.
NAWCA partnership grants play an important role in meeting DU’s mission, from restoring altered wetlands and enhancing water quality to reducing soil erosion and mitigating the damaging effects of floods. In addition, many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities, like hunting and bird watching.
Visit DU’s dedicated NAWCA webpage to learn more.