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Wetland conservation funding approved

A regional watershed project will receive a share of $28 million in Migratory Bird Conservation Commission funding.

The Upper Snake River region will receive $1 million to protect and enhance 1,691 acres of migrating, breeding and wintering habitat. The funding will specifically target improvements to benefit trumpeter swan, northern pintail and mallard ducks.

The project will be managed by the Teton Regional Land Trust in cooperation with Idaho Fish and Game, and the Nature Conservancy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided a description of the project:

“Project objectives aim to offset impacts of current threats to avian resources and heighten the profile of the value of wetland conservation by

1) expanding permanent protection of 1,069 acres of wetlands and 699 acres of associated uplands around core wetland conservation areas and corridors through perpetual conservation easements acquired by Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) and the Bureau of Land Management that will enhance water quality, quantity and security of highly productive wetland areas;

2) enhancing 50 acres of emergent wetlands by Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) on the globally significant Mud Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and 6 acres on two key permanently-protected parcels within core wetland conservation areas by private landowners and The Nature Conservancy and

3) leveraging capacity of TRLT and partners to galvanize support for wetland and waterbird conservation through community engagement initiatives, a goal of NAWMP. These initiatives are wide reaching, engaging youth, adults and teachers from across the region in tangible conservation efforts.”

The total North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants include $23.9 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to restore more than 150,000 acres of wetland and associated upland waterfowl habitats. They will be matched by $72 million in partner funds.

NAWCA is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. Since 1989, funding has advanced the conservation of wetland habitats and their wildlife in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico while engaging more than 6,200 partners in nearly 3,000 projects.

Other funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps.”

Earlier this summer, Ducks Unlimited was awarded a $1 million grant, to be matched by another $2.2 million for another project in western Wyoming. That project, too, was aimed at habitat protection:

“This project will permanently protect 785 acres, while restoring 2,370 acres and enhancing 563 acres is Western Wyoming. Activities include the acquisition of four conservation easements; construction, installation of levees, pipelines and other water control structures, river channel and riparian restoration, and installation of fencing to achieve vegetation conditions favored by waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds. The projects expand and complement habitats protected through other conservation efforts within the project area. Although more than 100,000 acres have been protected via permanent conservation easements within the project area, only the Western Wyoming Wetlands Partnership is dedicated to improving wetlands by restoring and enhancing ecological function.

Wildlife benefitting include mallard, Northern pintail, lesser scaup, wood duck, redhead, canvasback, ring-necked duck, American wigeon, Canada geese, and arguably the most iconic to the people of western Wyoming, the trumpeter swan.”

You can learn more about the approved conservation project programs here.

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