Seven national wildlife refuges grew by about 10,640 wetland acres all told when the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) approved almost $11 million in land acquisitions at its final meeting of 2012.


The National Wildlife Refuge System purchases were announced in September by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.


Of particular note is the commission’s action at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, MT. By approving a boundary expansion of more than 12,000 acres in the largest wetland complex in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the commission is protecting high densities of breeding lesser scaup and breeding trumpeter swans. Of that expansion, about 6,600 acres were acquired.


The habitat purchases and leases were supported by the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (MBCF), which includes proceeds from the sales of Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, aka Duck Stamps.


Here are the refuge acquisitions:


Red Rock Lakes Refuge, MT—Boundary addition of 12,352 acres, including acquisition of 810 fee acres at $3.6 million and 5,834 lease acres at $11,085, to protect breeding habitat for 21 species of waterfowl.


San Bernard Refuge, TX—Boundary addition and price approval for 1,441 fee acres for $2.59 million, to benefit wintering, migratory and resident waterfowl.


Trinity River Refuge, TX—Boundary addition and price approval for 200 fee acres for $176,200, to protect biologically significant bottomland hardwood forest for waterfowl as part of the East Texas Bottomland Hardwood Initiative.


Montezuma Refuge, NY—625.39 fee acres for $2.38 million, to increase the refuge’s capacity to support an additional 9,000 migratory waterfowl in spring and more than 18,000 in fall.


Tualatin River Refuge, OR—23.59 fee acres for $82,500, to support large populations of wintering waterfowl, including tundra swans, mallards, northern pintails, canvasbacks, ring–necked ducks and lesser scaup.

photo of deer and geese

Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area, CA—164 easement acres for $309,000, for winter foraging and nesting habitat for waterfowl, including mallards, northern pintails, gadwall, cinnamon teals and northern shovelers.


Waccamaw Refuge, SC—1,542.83 fee acres for $1.85 million, for habitat consisting of alluvial bottomland hardwoods and a network of oxbow lakes, ephemeral creeks, and tidal lakes and sloughs.


The commission also approved $18.4 million in federal funding to conserve more than 95,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitat in the United States under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).


Since 1929, the MBCC has met several times a year to consider land purchases through the MBCF. Its next meeting is scheduled for March 2013. More information is at http://www.fws.gov/refuges/realty/mbcc.html.