We would like to give recognition to Ducks Unlimited, a substantial Upper Mississippi / Great Lakes Joint Venture partner, for successfully securing North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) funding for two proposals within our JV!

One of these projects, “Eastern Wisconsin Great Lakes Focus Area,” Ducks Unlimited and partners will use $1 million in NAWCA funds, and over $2.3 million in leveraged match, to acquire 900 acres of habitat, or restorable habitat, restore 81 acres, and enhance 2,133 acres of habitat. Conservation efforts will target critical breeding and migration habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, colonial waterbirds, and migratory songbirds within the Lake Michigan watershed of Eastern Wisconsin.

The other project, “Missouri River Valley Wetlands,” will also use $1 million in NAWCA funds, and almost $2.4 million in matching funds, to acquire 1,575 acres of habitat, or restorable habitat, restore 20 acres, and enhance a whopping 3,023 acres of valuable bird habitat. This project’s focus is the conservation of major wetland and grassland complexes within the Missouri River Alluvial Plain and associated tributaries in western Iowa and northwest Missouri – an area critically important for waterbird migration.

These projects will help deliver habitat objectives identified in the Upper Mississippi / Great Lakes JV’s Waterbird and Waterfowl habitat strategies. It is also important to note the tremendous influence the NAWCA grant program has on wetland and wetland-associated upland habitats. In the past two decades, this grant program has funded over 2,950 projects totaling $1.73 billion in grants. More than 6,200 partners have contributed another $3.57 billion in matching funds to affect 30 million acres of habitat.

A Bald Eagle flies over a huge concentration of migrating Mallards at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge. Loess Bluffs NWR will receive NAWCA funding through the “Missouri River Valley Wetlands” project for enhancement activities. Photo courtesy of Mike Shannon, Ducks Unlimited.