The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded last week Ducks Unlimited with a $2 million grant and $2.03 million match in funding to conserve bird populations and wetlands in Kansas, including Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton County and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County.
The service’s Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved this year’s grants under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the USFWS noted in a news release. NAWCA grants conserve bird populations and wetland habitat while supporting local economies and outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hunting, fishing and birdwatching.
“This is a pretty plush pot of money,” said Jim Pitman, a biologist for DU. The NAWCA program has been around since 1990 and DU has benefited in the past, but this is largest grant they’ve received.
It will go to a host of restorations on public and private land and land acquisitions. Partners in NAWCA matching-fund projects include private landowners, states, local governments, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups, tribes, land trusts and corporations.
In all, the area included covers just over 8,000 acres around the state, Pitman said. This includes 2,200 acres of wetlands that will either be created or restored.
Among the projects will be a purchase of a dryland area at Cheyenne Bottoms from the Nature Conservancy that will be converted to a wetland with public access and eventually returned to the NC. An easement will also be purchased at the bottoms.
There will also be a public land restoration at Quivira, Pitman said.
In making the announcement Friday, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), said this is a big deal for the state. “Kansas has some of the most magnificent wildlife and wetlands in the country, and conservation efforts must be a priority in our great state.
“I want to leave our world better than we found it and by improving habitats and our environment, we not only care for our wetlands and wildlife, but provide better outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone,” Marshall said. “These dollars are an important part of the Department of Interior’s conservation efforts so the next generation of Kansans can experience the great outdoors.”
These efforts will also take place in the following counties: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Barber, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Decatur, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Elk, Ellis, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Johnson, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Labette, Lane, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn, Logan, Lyon, McPherson, Marion, Marshall, Meade, Miami, Mitchell, Montgomery, Morris, Morton, Nemaha, Neosho, Ness, Norton, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Rawlins, Reno, Republic, Rice, Riley, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Saline, Scott, Sedgwick, Seward, Shawnee, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, Wabaunsee, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson, Woodson, and Wyandotte.