Ducks Unlimited was recently awarded a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant from the U.S. Department of Interior to conserve 1,536 acres of habitat in Washington’s North Puget Lowlands.
“Preserving farmland and restoring tidal wetlands in a fast-growing region are two of our primary conservation goals in Western Washington,” said C.K. Eidem, regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited. “Approximately half the acres in this grant will enhance working ag fields that are flooded during winter months to benefit waterfowl and preserve farming opportunities, while another third of the acres will restore tidal wetlands, which are important to waterfowl and vital to salmon.”
The North Puget Lowlands Project is a collaboration to conserve priority wetlands and bird habitats in the North Puget Lowlands Ecoregion of the Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture. This project will conserve 1,536 acres of freshwater wetlands, estuaries, winter flooded agricultural lands, natural shorelines and riparian forests. Partners with this grant include Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Snohomish County, Lummi Island Heritage Trust, Skagit Land Trust, Trumpeter Swan Society, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, and several private landowners. More than $2.1 million in state and non-federal funding was leveraged to secure this grant.
“Ducks Unlimited is celebrating over 30 years of conservation work in the state of Washington, and the partnerships described in this project exemplify DU’s commitment to conservation,” said Eidem.
Many species will benefit from this project including mallards, wood ducks, hooded mergansers, American wigeon, rufous hummingbird, bald eagle, several species of Pacific salmon, shorebirds, and forage fish. Planning and implementation of individual tracts funded under the North Puget Lowlands Project will begin immediately.