MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Ducks Unlimited was notified that it will receive a $2.5 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to provide additional habitat for waterfowl and other birds that will migrate to the Gulf Coast later this year. This partnership between NFWF and DU will seek to restore and enhance upwards of 20,000 acres of wetland habitat on lands adjacent to or near Gulf Coast marshes.
The funds will be used to flood alternative habitats in the critical rice region of coastal Louisiana and Texas. The areas to be flooded will provide crucial migration and wintering habitat within the Gulf Coast region. This will be especially important if oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill is pushed into fresh and intermediate salinity marshes by storms later this summer and fall. Normally, fresh and intermediate salinity marshes winter vast numbers of ducks, shorebirds, wading birds and other wetland-dependent birds.
The additional habitat will also help address long-term deficits in feeding habitat resulting from massive coastal wetland losses during the past decades. A recent Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) study found that in southeast Louisiana alone, coastal marsh food resources may support 1.3 million fewer waterfowl than they likely did during the 1970s. Research indicates there isn’t enough food to support North American Waterfowl Management Plan population goals for wintering waterfowl along the Gulf Coast.
DU CEO Dale Hall said DU will begin this effort immediately. “Ducks Unlimited is pleased to partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation on this important Gulf Coast habitat initiative. This effort will not only offer alternative habitat to migratory birds potentially affected by the oil spill this fall and winter, but will also serve as a foundation for work that will help solve long-term habitat issues waterfowl face along the Gulf Coast. This initiative fits DU’s long-term goals for Gulf Coast habitat needs, and we are pleased NFWF looks to DU to deliver it.”
“Using resources from NFWF’s Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife, we can make an immediate difference for shorebirds, waterfowl and marsh bird populations affected by the spill,” Jeff Trandahl, NFWF executive director, said. “Through our collaboration with Ducks Unlimited, we can put projects on the ground to benefit these species now.”
NFWF’s Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife was made possible with proceeds from BP’s share of net revenue from oil recovered from the Deepwater Horizon site. The fund will support immediate actions to safeguard wildlife at risk from the Gulf oil spill, including waterfowl and shorebirds.
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 more than 12 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.