Saint Paul, Minn. – July 12, 2011- Pheasants Forever has been awarded five North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants to conserve wetlands and associated grasslands in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Pheasants Forever will utilize NAWCA funding to permanently protect and conserve habitat on more than 420 acres that are vital to waterfowl and upland birds and also open to public hunting.

Pheasants Forever projects funded with NAWCA Small Grants in the Midwest in fiscal year 2011 include:

Minnesota:
Ras-Lynn Waterfowl Complex Addition (McLeod County): The Ras-Lynn Addition acquisition will permanently protect 88 acres directly adjacent to the 1,300 acre Ras-Lynn Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This complex is complemented by the 226 acre Barber Lake Waterfowl Production Area and over 300 acres of private wetland/upland easements.

Rich Valley WMA Addition (Dakota County): The Rich Valley Addition acquisition will permanently protect 80 acres within an established and growing habitat complex. The proposal property is within 4 miles of 19 existing permanently protected habitat complexes that include Waterfowl Production Areas, Wildlife Management Areas, and federal and state easements.

Madrena WMA (Lac qui Parle County): This project is vital to protecting key wetland-grassland complexes and provides waterfowl and grassland birds with high-quality nesting cover. Pheasants Forever will acquire 160 acres and subsequently donate the property to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for enrollment in the DNR’s Wildlife Management Area System. This area provides critical staging and migratory habitats for Lesser Scaup, Canvasbacks, Ring-Necked Ducks, and other waterfowl.

Wild Wings WMA Addition (Lac qui Parle County): This project will support the acquisition of 50 acres adjacent to the existing 112 acre Wild Wings WMA that has significant palustrine emergent wetlands. Along with providing enduring waterfowl, water quality, and wildlife benefits, the subject property will add much needed adjacent upland habitat to the existing wetlands. The purpose of this project is to protect key wetland-grassland complexes and provide nesting waterfowl and other grassland nesting birds with high quality nesting cover adjacent to wetlands.

Wisconsin:
Marsh Road Acquisition and Restoration of the Lower Wolf River Bottom Wildlife Area: The purpose of this project is to permanently protect and restore 44.55 acres of former wetlands adjacent to the Lower Wolf River Bottoms Natural Resources Area (LWRBNRA) and Wolf River Wildlife Area (WRWA) that combined, encompass 3,385 acres.

“We’re excited to have NAWCA support for the next phases of these projects,” noted Ron Leathers, Public Finance Director for Pheasants Forever, “All of these projects have used strong partnerships to put habitat on the ground in Minnesota and Wisconsin. These are unique landscapes that demand protection. We’re looking forward to working with landowners in both Minnesota and Wisconsin to make sure the landscape stays intact for generations to come.”

About NAWCA:
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act was established in 1989 to provide matching grants for organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States. As part of the Act, both the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission and Northern American Wetlands Conservation Council were formed to recommend and approve worthy conservation projects. From September 1990 through March 2011, some 4,500 partners in 2,067 projects have received more than $1 billion in grants. NAWCA funding is awarded through a Standard and a Small Grants Program. NAWCA funding is awarded through a Standard and a Small Grants Program.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent – the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.

Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.

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