Written by Ducks Unlimited
WATERTOWN, S.D. – South Dakota Ducks Unlimited will dedicate a Watertown-area project as part of DU’s new Rescue our Wetlands campaign. DU announced the wetlands conservation campaign this spring at its national convention. Rescue Our Wetlands, is the most ambitious campaign in DU history with a goal of raising $2 billion dollars by the end of 2018.
“The Rescue Our Wetlands campaign will help DU deal with the rapidly growing threat to wetlands and grasslands that are so necessary for ducks and more than 900 other species of wildlife, as well as for providing clean water,” said Jeff Heidelbauer, DU regional vice president and South Dakota resident.
This will be the first Ducks Unlimited, Inc. campaign that includes DU Canada and DU Mexico. The campaign will focus on the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States and Canada, the world’s best waterfowl breeding area, as well as important waterfowl migration and wintering grounds in other parts of the US and Mexico.
Each of the seven states in the Great Plains Region of Ducks Unlimited will identify a Rescue Our Wetlands project dedicated to major donors and new Greenwing Legacy members.
The South Dakota project is about 30 miles northwest of Watertown. Called the Engstrom Property, it is a 240-acre tract of wetlands and grasslands on the south side of Swan Lake. DU purchased the property in 2012 as part of DU’s Revolving Habitat Program. It is adjacent to a large game production area owned by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) and a parcel owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
DU plans to restore three small wetlands on the tract. This will provide additional pair and brood habitat for locally breeding waterfowl. The property will also provide significant upland habitat for pheasants, deer and other wildlife.
Ducks Unlimited is working to transfer ownership of the property to SDGFP, which will be a great addition to the existing GPA and enable public hunting access. Upon completion of the Rescue Our Wetlandscampaign, DU, will hold a dedication ceremony and construct a cairn at the old homestead site that sits high on a hill overlooking Swan Lake.
“It is an ideal location to recognize Ducks Unlimited donors and partners who help with the Rescue Our Wetlands campaign, helping to protect vital habitat in the prairie pothole region and beyond,” Heidelbauer said. “Everyone can help with this campaign by becoming a Ducks Unlimited member, attending a local fundraising banquet or by becoming a major donor.”