U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
For release April 29, 1998 Contact: Rachel F. Levin 202-208-5631
MIGRATORY BIRD CONSERVATION COMMISSION APPROVES $13.4 MILLION
FOR WETLANDS PROJECTS IN 19 STATES
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, a cabinet-level congressional commission
chaired by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, approved more than $13 million
to be used for expanding the National Wildlife Refuge System, and for 19 wetlands
acquisition, restoration and enhancement projects in 15 states.
The refuge system, the world's most unique system of lands devoted to wildlife,
will gain more than 6,300 acres to benefit a variety of fish, wildlife and plants,
as well as provide recreational and educational opportunities for people, thanks
to the $3.4 million approved by the commission at its September 1997 meeting.
The wetlands acquisition, restoration and enhancement projects approved by the
commission will be funded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act,
which provides matching grants to private and public organizations and to individuals
to carry out wetland conservation projects.
The commission approved more than $10 million in funding under the North American
Wetlands Conservation Act matched by nearly $24 million from partners.
Fifteen wetlands-related projects in Mexico will also be funded with $1.3 million,
matched by a total of $1.6 million from partners.
"Now that it is spring our thoughts naturally turn to the millions of birds
migrating from their wintering grounds in South America," said Jamie Rappaport
Clark, director of the Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
which administers the 92 million-acre refuge system. "The wetlands
acquisitions will provide more habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife
to thrive, as well as improving the vitality and health of our National Wildlife
"The projects funded under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act
have been matched two-to-one by funds from private partners such as conservation
groups, agricultural interests and small businesses," Clark said.
"These diverse partnerships, which are completely voluntary, mean that
taxpayer dollars are going further to preserve some of our most important natural
New National Wildlife Refuge System Acquisitions
Cache River NWR in Arkansas will acquire 740 acres of wetlands, facilitating
the restoration of a large contiguous corridor of bottomland hardwood forest.
The new acquisition at Cache River, which hosts large populations of wintering
waterfowl such as mallards and wood ducks, will also offer recreational access
in the form of a public boat launching facility.
Greater sandhill cranes and bald eagles, both listed on the federal endangered
and threatened species list, use Klamath Forest NWR in Oregon as a nesting area
and a migration route. Klamath Forest will purchase nearly 3,000 acres in the
northern portion of historic Klamath Marsh. A variety of waterfowl species,
including mallards, pintails, gadwalls and Canada geese, will also benefit from
the acquisition of this prime migration and nesting habitat located within the
Pacific Flyway and designated as a "waterfowl area of major concern"
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Cokeville Meadows NWR in western Wyoming will gain 2,100 acres of wetland and
riparian habitat for its migratory waterfowl population, and for the multitude
of resident big and small game, furbearers and upland gamebirds. The acquisition
will also allow the refuge to offer public activities such as hunting, fishing
and wildlife watching.
Sixty-eight acres of low wooded wetlands and salt marsh habitat will be preserved
at Cape May NWR in New Jersey, ensuring that the millions of birds that use
Cape May during migration will have a place to stop over. The coastal
wetlands of the refuge, located on the Cape May peninsula in southern New Jersey,
provide habitat for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, woodcock and a
variety of neotropical migrants.
Great Meadows NWR, near Boston, will gain 9 acres of wetland habitat for black
ducks, wood ducks, mallards and Canada geese, all of which nest on the refuge.
The habitat at Great Meadows, which is nearly 80 percent freshwater wetlands,
is also used during migration by peregrine falcons and bald eagles.
The purchase of 362 acres will allow enhancement of habitat at Malheur NWR in
Oregon, and encourage increased nesting by sandhill cranes, considered a "sensitive"
species in the state. In addition to cranes, the site will also be managed to
provide increased nesting habitat for trumpeter swans, Canada geese, redheads,
canvasbacks and dabbling ducks. The newly acquired
property will also allow public access to the refuge's 23,000-acre Malheur Lake
hunting grounds, and will add to the hunting area.
Montezuma NWR in New York state, which hosts large numbers of migrating waterfowl
in both the spring and fall, gains 114 acres. The refuge, established in 1938
with an initial purchase by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, provides
nesting, feeding and resting habitat each fall for some 50,000 Canada geese,
more than 100,000 mallards, and 10,000 black ducks. In the spring, 100,000
Canada geese have been known to use the refuge.
Wallkill River NWR in northern New Jersey will purchase 34 ½ acres of upland
and wetland habitat which will be used by migrating waterfowl such as black
ducks and will also be open for recreational hunting. Wallkill River refuge
straddles two major migration corridors for waterfowl moving between eastern
Canada and the Atlantic coast -- the Delaware River and Hudson River corridors,
both of which are used by a variety of shorebirds, raptors and neotropical migrants.
North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Projects
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act provides matching grants to private
and public organizations and individuals to carry out wetlands conservation
projects in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Act was passed in 1989 and
reauthorized in 1994; Congress appropriated $11.7 million for Act projects in
fiscal year 1998.
To date, Act-funded projects have been supported by more than 900 partners from
federal, state and local agencies; private organizations, including environmental
groups, small businesses, and farmers and ranchers; and private citizens.
The partnerships these groups form develop projects focusing on wetlands acquisition,
restoration and enhancement activities.
"I am pleased to see that year after year diverse groups have come together
voluntarily to form partnerships aimed at preserving our valuable wetland resources,"
Clark said. "By providing matching funds for these important projects,
the North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant program encourages a win-win
situation, for wetlands and wildlife, and for people."
Connecticut and Massachusetts:
Lower Connecticut River Wetland Restoration. The commission approved a total
of $1.2 million for two wetlands conservation projects in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
In Middlesex County,
partners will contribute $442,289 to restore 300 acres of state-owned wetlands
at the mouth of
the Connecticut River within an
area designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, and it is also
one of The Nature Conservancy's 40 Last Great Places. Waterfowl, shorebirds,
wading birds and terns will enjoy long-term benefits as a result of the project.
Calcareous Wetlands of Southwestern New England. In Litchfield County, Connecticut
and Berkshire County, Massachusetts, partners matched a $1 million grant with
more than $3 million of their own for the project to acquire 2,300 acres of
calcareous wetlands. These wetlands provide critical habitat for waterfowl and
other wetland-dependent birds, as well as several dozen rare species of plants
Teton River Basin Wetlands. More than $650,000 in funding approved by
the commission will be used to purchase 1,000 acres in the Teton County.
Partners, who contributed $1.5 million to the project, will purchase several
tracts of wetlands and associated uplands providing migratory, nesting, feeding
and resting habitat for waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds and wading birds, as
well as several rare, threatened or endangered plant and animals species.
The Teton Valley Land Trust will manage the project area.
Meredosia Wetland Complex. Brown, Cass and Morgan counties will gain 1,160
acres of wetland habitat thanks to nearly $525,000 from the conservation commission
and $1.8 million in funds from partners. This acquisition adds to an ongoing
project to restore areas along the Illinois River in the Meredosia complex,
which includes Meredosia, Chautauqua and Emiquon national wildlife refuges.
Until the beginning of this century, the Illinois River was the second most
productive river system in the nation, surpassed only by the Columbia River.
Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Wetlands II. In Lake, Porter and LaPorte
counties, along southern Lake Michigan, a $1 million grant will help purchase
more than 1,200 acres of critical habitat for migrating waterfowl, raptors,
shorebirds and neotropical birds. Despite urban and industrial development,
this coastal area has continued to provide habitat for at least 337 avian species,
and a high concentration of endangered, threatened and rare species. Partners
will contribute $4.2 million to the project.
Conquest Farm Acquisition, Restoration and Enhancement. In the first phase
of this two-phase project in Queen Anne's County, 561 acres of wetland and upland
habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will be restored and enhanced.
Using $1 million in grant funds and $2 million in partner contributions, biologists
will recreate and improve habitat for the benefit of wintering and migratory
waterfowl and other wildlife.
Prairie Wetland Heritage Conservation Initiative. The two most endangered natural
communities in Minnesota--prairies and prairie wetlands--will be preserved in 36 counties
using $785,000 in NAWCA monies and nearly $2 million from various partners.
Through the Prairie Wetland Heritage Conservation Initiative, biologists will preserve,
enhance and restore more than 3,000 acres of prairie pothole habitat to benefit waterfowl,
non-game animals and several federally-listed endangered and threatened species.
Red Lake Farm II. The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians will manage more than 1,200
acres of wetlands and other habitat, including a portion of the Kiwosay Wildlife Area in
Clearwater County. The area supports both residential and migratory wildlife
populations, and the $177,000 grant, plus $388,000 from partners, will help restore
nesting habitat as well as wild rice and small grain food plots, which are a food source
for the migrating and breeding waterfowl.
Drover Island Wetland. About 600 acres of wetlands, wet meadow, shrub savanna and
other habitat along the Platte River in Buffalo County will be restored and maintained
with a $225,000 grant through the NAWCA and $800,000 in partner contributions. The
project area is adjacent to the Big Bend Reach of the Platte, which sustains more than 230
species of migratory and nesting birds and supports the annual spring staging of half a
million sandhill cranes, the largest concentration of cranes in the world.
New Hampshire and Vermont:
Upper Valley Connecticut River Wetland Conservation. Fulfilling the goals of the
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture is
the aim of this project. Using $300,000 in NAWCA funds and nearly $700,000 in
partner contributions, state and local agencies will acquire and conserve 650 acres of
rich wetlands along the main stem of the Connecticut River in north-central New England to
benefit American black duck and other migratory waterfowl, arctic nesting shorebirds, and
federal and state threatened and endangered species.
Great Bay Estuary II. In southeastern New Hampshire, a $700,000 grant and $800,000
in partnership monies will help acquire and restore high quality saltwater and freshwater
wetlands in the Great Bay estuary. Migratory and breeding waterfowl, shorebirds and
waterbirds depend on this habitat, as well as rare and endangered terrestrial and aquatic
plants, migratory and resident fish, and shellfish.
Conservation Reserve Program Wetland Restoration. A $300,000 grant from the
commission and $700,000 from partners will allow the purchase of more than 3,000 acres in
36 counties in North Dakota. These restored wetlands will provide an ideal mix of
wetland and upland habitat for nesting waterfowl and endangered and threatened species,
such as black terns, piping plovers and Franklin's gulls, that use prairie potholes as
Mouse River Watershed II. Nearly 7,000 acres of wetlands in five North Dakota
counties will be acquired and restored for waterfowl, neotropical migratory birds and
resident wildlife. This wetland and upland enhancement project, in the Mouse River
watershed, will establish habitat management demonstration areas on J. Clark Salyer NWR
and on several waterfowl production areas managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It will be carried out using $200,000 in grant money and more than $500,000 from
Hackberry Flat III. More than 4,000 acres of wetlands and associated uplands in
Tillman County will be acquired as migration, wintering and breeding habitat for waterfowl
and other migratory birds. A grant of $900,000 and partner contributions of $2.4
million will fund the project, which also contributes to the habitat goals of the North
American Waterfowl Management Plan's Playa Lakes Joint Venture. The project area is
in the direct migration route of whooping cranes, and provides habitat for bald eagles,
thousands of ducks and geese, and sandhill cranes as well.
Tualatin River Valley Ecosystem. More than 500 acres of wetland-floodplain and
uplands on the
Tualatin River NWR in Washington
County will be restored or enhanced to benefit a host of migratory birds, threatened and
endangered species, anadromous fish, and other species. A $400,000 NAWCA grant and
$900,000 in partner contributions will allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to construct
dikes with emergency spillways, install water control structures, fabricate fish ladders
and screens, and implement a number of other conservation measures.
James River Lowlands Acquisition. This project encompasses lands in eight counties.
More than $100,000 in grant funds and $300,000 from partners will go toward the purchase
of some 1,500 acres of wetland and associated uplands in the heart of South Dakota's
Prairie Pothole Region. These lands serve as essential habitat for breeding and
migrating waterfowl, as well as providing water quality benefits and recreational and
educational opportunities, such as hunting and birdwatching.
Crow Creek Watershed. This migratory bird project in Buffalo County will provide 200
acres of critical waterfowl brood and migratory bird habitat in the prairie pothole area.
The project will be supported by more than $100,000 in grant funds and $150,000 in
Katy Prairie Initiative. This project, in Harris and Waller counties, represents the
inception of a watershed-based initiative that will permanently conserve critically
imperiled migratory waterfowl and shorebird habitat in the Katy Prairie. Funded by
$700,000 in grant money and more than $1 million in partnership monies, the project will
focus on 630 acres of marsh wetlands that are valuable wintering or stopover habitat for
more than 200 bird species. The area is also used by birdwatchers and hunters.
Austin's Woods/Brazoria NWR Complex. Grant money of more than $300,000, matched
equally by a number of partners, will be used to acquire more than 1,200 acres of
bottomland hardwood forest.
In addition to the U.S. projects, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission will also
fund 15 projects in Mexico, many of which will preserve wintering areas used by millions
of migratory waterfowl. Partners contributed a total of $1.6 million for the
projects, for which NAWCA awarded $1.3 million in grants.
Among the NAWCA grants awarded in Mexico:
$15,000 to train interpretive guides and plan environmental education strategies on
wetlands in Baja California Sur. These coastal wetlands serve as wintering habitat for the
Pacific black brant and a variety of shorebird species, as well as calving areas for the
gray whale. Partners will contribute another $35,000 to the project.
$120,000 to the Institute of Ecology, augmented by $138,000 in partner funds, to design
sustainable use practices for wetlands in the La Mancha-El Llano area of Veracruz.
This area supports an array of wetland ecosystems, an ecological reserve and diverse
species of migratory birds, as well commercially valuable fish, molluscs and crustaceans.
Nearly $15,000 for establishment of trails and an environmental education program on a
coastal mangrove estuary near the state of Campeche. The Los Petenes State Reserve,
part of the unique coastal wetlands of the Yucatan Peninsula, is a stopover for millions
of migrating birds and supports thousands of wintering blue-winged teal, as well as a
large resident population of Caribbean flamingoes. Partners will contribute $20,000
for this undertaking.
More than $45,000 to develop community-managed nature tourism and environmental education
programs along the southern coast of Quintana Roo. This project involves two coastal
wetlands, one of which, Banco Chinchorro, supports the most extensive coral reef system in
Mexico. The other area, Sian Ka'an, is a large mangrove estuary which provides
habitat for a number of endangered species. This project will also be funded by
$58,000 in partner funds.
The Commission also approved $265,000, to be combined with nearly $300,000 in partner
funds, to inventory and classify coastal wetlands in the states of Tabasco, Campeche,
Yucatan and Quintana Roo. The inventory covers some of the highest priority wetlands
in Mexico for migratory birds and other wildlife.
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