Ducks Unlimited (DU) and numerous partners invested $2.7 million to protect, enhance or restore 11,656 acres of wetland and grassland habitat across 30 Wisconsin project sites in 2019, DU leaders announced last week.

Partners included the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Flint Hills Resources, Doral Corp., Enerpac, Alliant Energy, WE Energies Foundation, Fund for Lake Michigan, James E. Dutton Foundation and DU major donors.

The milestones in 2019 added to a sizeable historical investment in Wisconsin. Over the last 30 years, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 134,000 wetland and grassland acres across the state, investing nearly $37 million into wetland habitats.

“Wisconsin’s wetlands play a significant role for Great Lakes and continental waterfowl,” said Brian Glenzinski, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist in Wisconsin. “But our wetlands are also crucial for water quality. Wisconsin has lost nearly 50% of its historical wetlands needed to filter and store rainwater before it enters local water sources and the Great Lakes. The more wetlands we can put back on the landscape, the better for ducks and residents.”

2019 highlights

Officials with DU highlighted the following 2019 projects:

• Numerous project sites — The 2019 field season was productive. With projects from the Mississippi River to Green Bay, the Ducks Unlimited conservation team completed or started several projects. These include the Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge, Bark­hausen Waterfowl Complex, Ken Euers Nature Preserve, Collins Marsh Wildlife Area, Big Muskego Wildlife Area, Vernon Wildlife Area, Waterloo Wildlife Area and Berg­strom Waterfowl Complex, and others.

• Natural Resources Con­servation Service partnership — In 2018, Ducks Unlimited entered into a three-year partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help deliver the Wetland Reserve Easement Program across Wisconsin. In 2019, the first year of the program, 2,040 acres of habitat were conserved with an additional 5,000 acres projected for the remainder of the agreement. This effective model has already opened additional funding streams to potentially expand and extend Wetland Reserve delivery in Wisconsin.

• Horicon Marsh up­grade — A portion of Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area got a significant upgrade with the installation of a new water-level management system and completely renovated dikes. This project adds acres of habitat to the Greenhead unit while reducing the miles of dike that the Wisconsin DNR needs to maintain.

For a complete report of 2019 activities and a look into what’s planned for 2020 and beyond, people can view the Wisconsin DU conservation report at