Saint Paul, Minn. – April 6, 2010 – Pheasants Forever was recently awarded seven North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants to conserve wetlands and associated grasslands in Illinois, Minnesota and South Dakota. Pheasants Forever received $2.375 million in NAWCA grant funding for implementation of its wildlife habitat conservation mission on more than 27,000 acres.
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act was established in 1989 to provide matching grants for organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States. As part of the Act, both the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission and North American Wetlands Conservation Council were formed to recommend and approve worthy conservation projects. From September 1990 through September 2009, some 4,000 partners in 1,943 projects have received more than $1 billion in grants. NAWCA funding is awarded through a Standard and a Small Grants Program.
“We can’t overstate the importance of our partnership with NAWCA on these projects. These federal grants leverage significant state and local resources, giving Pheasants Forever chapters more dollars to drive mission directly onto the land,” said Ron Leathers, Pheasants Forever’s Government Grants Coordinator.
2010 Standard NAWCA Grants
Pheasants Forever’s approved Standard Grants will be used to restore and protect habitat in South Dakota. “We’re excited to have NAWCA support for the next phases of the standard grant proposals as well,” added Leathers, “Both of these projects have used strong partnerships to put habitat on the ground in South Dakota. This is a unique landscape that remains largely intact. We’re looking forward to working with South Dakota’s landowners to make sure the landscape stays intact long into the future.”
South Dakota Prairie Coteau Project – Phase II – This project represents the second phase of a coordinated effort to accelerate wetland and associated grassland conservation throughout the Prairie Coteau of northeastern South Dakota. During Phase II, partner contributions will be combined with grant funds and more than 150 individual projects will be completed under a variety of protection terms ranging from ten-year habitat agreements to perpetual fee-title protection. On private and tribal land, 1,500 cropland acres will be restored to grassland, 200 wetland acres will be restored, and 20,000 grassland and wetland acres will be enhanced with beneficial grazing systems. In addition, 1,600 grassland acres and 250 wetland acres on private land will be protected with perpetual easements and 838 acres will be afforded fee-title protection. The Prairie Coteau hosts high wetland densities, diverse bird communities and some of the largest remaining tracts of northern tallgrass prairie on the continent. The project actions will impact a wide range of bird species including waterfowl, shorebirds and grassland nesting passerines.
Harvey Dunn Grassland Preservation Project III – The goal of this phase of the Harvey Dunn Grassland Preservation Project is to protect 1,804 acres of wetland and grasslands in the eastern part of the Prairie Pothole region, part of a larger effort to protect 24,000 grassland acres and restore 121 drained wetland basins. While the project area has significant habitat resources, it has also been severely affected by conversion of habitat to cropland. Protection will be through fee acquisition and easements from willing landowners who want to protect their grasslands. The 1,804 acres of habitat preserved by this project will provide direct benefits to not only waterfowl, but also numerous species of shorebirds, wading birds, marsh birds, other wetland-dependent wildlife species, grassland songbirds and other grassland-dependent wildlife species. Valuable breeding, migration and, for some resident species, critical wintering habitat, will be protected.
2010 Small NAWCA Grants
Pheasants Forever’s five approved Small Grants will result in nearly 1,500 acres of new habitat, including 414 acres of land acquisition which will be permanently protected as wildlife habitat and open to the public for hunting. Projects include DeKalb County Potholes and Otter Lake projects in Illinois; and the Big Kandi Waterfowl Production Area land acquisition, Prairie Storm Waterfowl Production Area addition and the Chub Lake Wildlife Management Area complex addition projects in Minnesota.
Pheasants Forever, including its quail division, Quail Forever, is a non-profit conservation organization is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs. Pheasants Forever has more than 120,000 members in 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada.