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Wetlands, Wildlife and You! A Partners for Fish and Wildife Programto Encourage Wetland Restoration in the Mississippi/Missouri River Confluence Focus Area
Midwest Region, March 31, 2007
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Mark Howell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, helps landowners understand the importance of native vegetation for migrating waterfowl in a workshop entitled
Mark Howell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, helps landowners understand the importance of native vegetation for migrating waterfowl in a workshop entitled "Prairie Cordgrass, Wildlife and YOU!"

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a
Workshop Participants listen as George Seek, Ducks Unlimited, explains management techniques and the importance of wetland habitat to society.
- FWS photo
Workshop Participants listen as George Seek, Ducks Unlimited, explains management techniques and the importance of wetland habitat to society.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a
Workshop participants learn how to restore native wet prairie in the Missouri river floodplain in St. Charles County to provide habitat for migratory birds.
- FWS photo
Workshop participants learn how to restore native wet prairie in the Missouri river floodplain in St. Charles County to provide habitat for migratory birds.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a

In 2005/2006 funds provided through the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MoBCI) Grant sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and supported by Ducks Unlimited, Inc. and the Missouri Department of Conservation were used to work with 40 different Confluence landowners.  Funds were used predominantly in Lincoln and St. Charles Counties in Missouri, to enhance wetland habitats with prairie cordgrass plantings through two separate workshops which were held to assist landowners who voluntarily wish to enhance wetland habitat with native prairie cordgrass on their properties.

Since 2004, Ducks Unlimited, the Service, and Missouri Department of Conservation have worked with partners to improve native habitats in the Missouri/Mississippi Confluence Focus Area.  This area is a part of Missouri’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, which includes the floodplain of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in Lincoln, St. Charles, and St. Louis Counties. 

The Mississippi River corridor is the longest and most traversed migratory route for birds in the northern hemisphere.  During peak migration, ducks, geese, shorebirds, large wading birds, raptors, warblers and other songbirds utilize habitats along the confluence and the river corridor to rest, refuel and nest.

The Service and it's partners are working with landowners in this area to develop a relationship and preserve, enhance and restore native habitats on private lands.  The partnership developed a “Prairie Cordgrass for Wildlife and You!” workshop to inform and educate confluence landowners about the history of the natural condition of the Mississippi/Missouri River floodplain, the importance of wetland habitats in the confluence, and the importance of a diverse array of habitats needed to support migratory birds.

The Department of Conservation hosted the first workshop in St. Charles County and Ducks Unlimited hosted the second workshop in Lincoln County in Missouri.  Forty landowners and their operators were invited to listen to presentations from the partners.  Forest Keeling Nursery, a local business specializing in native plants, demonstrated planting prairie cordgrass and to discussed new opportunities to plant native rice. 

Landowners were presented with the Missouri/Mississippi Confluence Partnership efforts to conserve and restore habitat on private lands in partnership with other interested parties like the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance and Pheasants Forever.  Landowners were given information on waterfowl and their migration, their biological needs during migration, ways to improve body condition for nesting, providing winter cover with cordgrass, wetland management techniques to maximize foraging and resting habitat, and the importance of diversifying wetland habitat to fulfill the needs of all-birds who migrate along the Mississippi/Missouri Rivers.  We also informed participants that Missouri provides the best migration habitat if landowners are willing to work with conservation professionals to improve native habitat on their lands. 

In exchange for the informational workshop and demonstration, landowners were provided $1,000.00 worth of 1-gallon prairie cordgrass plants to plant on their properties.  Once restoration is complete, a total of 200 new acres of prairie cordgrass habitat will be available for wildlife in this two county area.  Also, in exchange for the plants, landowners became participants in the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and each landowner signed a Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Habitat Development Agreement with the Service, MDC and DU.  Landowners were given the opportunity to either plant the cordgrass on their own or to have Forest Keeling Nursery plant it.

Both workshops were a complete success and all 40 landowners have planted their cordgrass plants with advance assistance from MDC and Service private lands biologists.  There was 100% attendance at the workshops and 100% participation in the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program through this partnership.  All cordgrass was planted by the end of March 2007 and 40 Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements were signed.  Landowners are required to maintain their cordgrass plantings for no less than 10 years and they were provided a management plan to help them manage the prairie cordgrass habitat over time.

The Service and MDC will be on hand throughout the life of the agreements to assist with additional wetland restoration needs.  We will continue to work with all landowners to look for new opportunities to diversify wetland habitats on their properties and we will continue to carry the message of the importance of the Confluence Focus Area for all-bird conservation.

We have been so pleased about the success of this workshop we held a wetland cost/share program workshop in March of this year and are planning more similar workshops in the future to help landowners restore, protect and manage habitat for migratory birds and all bird conservation in the Confluence.

This effort is just another piece of a larger partnership effort to conserve the Confluence.  Currently there is a consortium of 40+ different state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporate entities and landowners who recognize the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Missouri/Mississippi Confluence Focus Area.  We have been working with many stakeholders on 5 different teams for Land Protection on Private Land, Land Acquisition, Private Land Restoration/Enhancement, Outreach and Education, and Policy Issues.  The Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative is an important component to our efforts in restoring habitats in high priority bird areas.  We are grateful for the opportunity to utilize these funds to assist landowners in their habitat restoration goals.


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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