Written by Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited has been awarded five North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants to support its restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast. More than $4.6 million in NAWCA funding will be combined with nearly $10 million in partner funding to restore more than 21,800 acres in coastal Texas and Louisiana. These projects will provide high quality foraging habitat capable of supporting more than 70,000 ducks throughout the winter.
“The coastal prairies and marshes of Texas and Louisiana provide some of the most critical waterfowl habitat on the continent. Unfortunately, this habitat and all of its values to wildlife, fisheries and people are disappearing,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs Jerry Holden. “We are battling a long-term crisis of coastal marsh loss exacerbated by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and the selection of these grants reflects a national understanding of that importance.”
Gulf Coast wetlands protect nationally important infrastructure for energy and shipping industries and provide critical waterfowl, fisheries and cultural resources.
“While our focus is waterfowl habitat, it’s important to remember DU’s conservation work makes a huge difference for all wetland dependent species, especially people,” Holden said.
In the five years since the Deepwater Horizon incident that claimed 11 lives and dumped an estimated 3.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Ducks Unlimited has received $5.35 million in funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation administered Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund for projects to improve migratory bird habitat in coastal Texas and Louisiana. In addition to the NFWF grants, DU has received $3.6 million in Gulf Coast NAWCA grants supported by Gulf Spill funding, including one of the five grants in this latest round of funding. Ducks Unlimited and its conservation partners match every NAWCA dollar at least 1:1, and on average 2:1.
“Since our Dust Bowl era founding during the Great Depression, Ducks Unlimited has been making the best out of bad situations for North America’s wetlands,” Holden said. “Even the cloud of oil at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico had a silver lining, and we will harness it for the benefit of waterfowl, other wildlife and people.”