Ducks Unlimited help conserve 194 acres of wetlands
Wetlands provide many benefits to Lake Champlain, including flood protection, fish and wildlife habitat, and improved water quality. Ducks Unlimited (DU) recently utilized an LCBP grant to conserve 194 acres of wetlands in the Lake Champlain Basin. Thanks to DU and their federal and state partners, the tens of thousands of waterfowl that use Lake Champlain now have more habitat!
In 2007, the Lake Champlain Basin Wetland Restoration Plan identified and prioritized 86,000 acres of wetland restoration opportunities in the basin. In recent years the State of Vermont has received significant funding for the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). The voluntary WRP pays landowners to restore and conserve degraded wetlands and adjacent areas. While there is need and opportunity to use this money in Vermont, the NRCS does not have sufficient staff capacity to conduct the outreach necessary to let landowners know about the program.
To address this need, a unique partnership was established between the NRCS, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Ducks Unlimited. DU identified wetland restoration opportunities, worked with landowners to define specific projects, and worked with partners to design and implement wetland restoration and protection through conservation easements and on-the-ground restoration design and implementation.
During 2010, more than 1,000 acres of Vermont land were enrolled in Wetlands Reserve Program. The majority of the WRP sign-ups occurred as a result of DU’s on-the-ground involvement. Of the 194 acres conserved as a result of the grant, 156 of them are in Grand Isle County and 36 acres are in Chittenden County.