Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Polk County has received $176,000 from the federal Migratory Bird Conservation Commission to acquire an additional 160 acres of land, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a news release.
The federal agency oversees Glacial Ridge and other lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System. David Bernhardt, secretary of the Department of Interior, is chairman of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.
The funding for Glacial Ridge is part of more than $130 million the MBCC approved for various wetland conservation projects across the country. The grants, awarded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), will be used to ensure waterfowl and other birds are protected throughout their life cycles.
Of the projects approved, $33.3 million will be allocated for the Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 157,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds for 32 projects in 21 states throughout the country.
The grants will be matched by almost $85 million in partner funds.
The 160-acre expansion at Glacial Ridge will provide habitat for dabbling and diving duck species and protect grasslands that provide habitat for upland-nesting duck species, including mallards, blue-winged teal and gadwalls, as well as other migratory birds, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.
The project also will enhance public opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation, including hunting and wildlife observation.
Gregg Knutsen, manager of Glacial Ridge and Rydell national wildlife refuges, said more specifics about the acquisition will be available when the warranty deed is signed and the purchase becomes official.
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 6,300 partners in over 3,000 projects.
“Wetlands and waterfowl habitat are disappearing at an alarming rate across North America,” Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam said. “Thanks to the MBCC and Secretary Bernhardt, this funding will continue to expand efforts to protect and enhance wetlands habitat to ensure future generations have the same opportunity to enjoy nature as we have.”