Migratory Bird Conservation Commission Approves Acquisition of 9,000 Acres of Wetlands for National Wildlife Refuge System
For Immediate Release
June 5, 2013
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission today approved $28 million in funding to conserve, restore and enhance vital wetlands, including acquisition of more than 9,000 acres of waterfowl habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
“Conserving wetlands is one of most important things we can do to ensure our land and wildlife remain healthy,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who attended her first meeting in her role as chair of the commission. “These key investments will help strengthen the wetlands that provide vital habitat for ducks, herons, warblers and hundreds of other species as well as give us clean water to drink, boost local economies, and provide us all a place to enjoy the great outdoors.”
The commission approved close to $4 million in projects for land purchases and leases on three refuges with funds raised largely through the sale of Federal Duck Stamps.
In addition, the panel approved $23.7 million in grants through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act to protect, restore or enhance nearly 89,000 acres of habitat for migratory birds in the United States and Canada, leveraging $28.5 million in matching funds.
“The commission's work protects some of the most valued -- and threatened -- habitats on the continent,” Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said. "Wetlands support birds all along their migratory routes, and these projects will improve habitat for species as they move northward this summer.”
The three commission-approved refuge projects are:
• Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Approval to acquire 81 fee acres of quality waterfowl habitat in the river floodplain for $44,700. These bottomland hardwoods and associated wetlands benefit a wide variety of waterfowl, including mallard, wood and mottled ducks.
• Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. Price approval and approval for a boundary addition on 489 lease acres for $1,750.The commission also supported a price re-approval of $22,350 on leased land that it previously approved in September 2012. Since then, the state of Montana reassessed the lease value, which increased by 102 percent. The new price is now locked in for five years. The refuge and the wider land area support high breeding densities of lesser scaup and trumpeter swans.
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