With support from a diverse group of conservation partners, Ducks Unlimited received a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant in December, 2009. The grant will help protect, restore and enhance over 865 acres of critical wetland and upland habitat on public and private lands throughout the northern portion of Iowa's Prairie Pothole Region. All tracts restored, enhanced or protected under this grant will remain open to public assess.
"We're grateful to be working with such a great group of dedicated partners on this project," said Eric Lindstrom, DU regional biologist. "Significant conservation planning efforts were invested in developing a suite of high quality projects. This effort illustrates the passion, commitment and science-based approach that each of the partners have for preserving our state's treasured natural resources, not only the benefit of wetland-dependent wildlife, but also for fellow Iowans."
Grant funds will be leveraged with over $2 million in matching funds provided by The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Cerro Gordo County Conservation Board, Vermeer Charitable Foundation, Kossuth County Pheasants Forever, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and DU. This partnership provides a unique opportunity to strategically invest NAWCA dollars in protecting and improving key habitats in a region of Iowa that has been severely altered.
The Nature Conservancy's contribution includes Clausen's Cove, a generous gift from Mr. Max Clausen of Clear Lake, which protects the last 2700-foot stretch of undeveloped shoreline along Clear Lake.
"Mr. Clausen would be proud that his generous gift has become more than his legacy to the Clear Lake community," said Jennifer Filipiak, TNC director of conservation science. "We were able to use his gift as matching funds towards Phase I and several future NAWCA grants that will protect, enhance and restore wetlands throughout the prairie pothole region of Iowa."
Once comprised of a vast sea of native tall grass prairie dotted by over 4 million acres of small depressional wetlands, Iowa's PPR has endured drastic landscape-level changes over the past 150 years. DU and its partners are dedicated to conserving habitat and preserving biodiversity throughout this region of the state. Thanks to the Matching Contributions Plan offered by The Nature Conservancy, this initial grant represents Phase I of several anticipated future $1 million grants focused on the Iowa PPR.
Arguably one of the most effective wetlands conservation programs in North America, NAWCA stimulates public-private partnerships in support of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. NAWCA is a non-regulatory, incentive-based, voluntary and competitive habitat conservation grant program. NAWCA provides federal cost-share funding to protect, restore and manage wetland habitats and many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities for people, from bird watching to hunting.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.