2013-14 Priority Project Awards

Project Registry – Priority Project Awards

In 2013-14 Waterfowl Chesapeake started its “Project Registry” program envisioned to be a web-based resource for meritorious habitat projects being undertaken on Delmarva.  As part of the Registry program, a panel of neutral experts from the Bay region conducted an annual review of important waterfowl habitat conservation projects being undertaken by non-profit organizations or multi-organizational partnerships.

In its first year, eleven projects were submitted and vetted by the expert panel; three emerged to be highlighted during the Waterfowl Festival.  They were:  Waterfowl Chesapeake’s Habitat Resources Program, Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s Wetland Restoration & Education Project and the Martin National Wildlife Refuge Living Shoreline.  These projects received recognition only in that year, however in 2016 Waterfowl Chesapeake chose to provide funding support for a component of the Pickering Creek project.  For more on that project >>>

WC Habitat Resources Program – Delmarva Peninsula

This initiative intended to reach out to Delmarva landowners interested in creating, restoring and conserving habitat and expanding food resources for waterfowl on their lands, and who needed information on programs and tools to help them realize their conservation goals.




Waterfowl Chesapeake aimed to accomplish this program by:

  • Developing a “One Stop Shop” website with a menu of resources, tools, tax benefits and programs available to conservation-minded owners;
  • Designating a representative to supplement the program with “hands-on” individualized guidance; and
  • Conducting several workshops to inform landowners and the general public of the Program.

The initiative aimed to offer all citizens affordable access to knowledge and resources generally available only to those with specialized knowledge or having the financial ability to retain such services.

The Habitat Resources Program would be designed to stimulate greater private conservation activity on Delmarva, leading to an increased level of restored or expanded habitat and waterfowl food resources.  The resulting “on-the-ground” action also would benefit other wildlife species of the region and the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.

Waterfowl Benefiting from Project:  All waterfowl species

Pickering Creek Audubon Center Wetland Restoration & Education Project – Talbot County, Md.

The greatest threat facing waterfowl and other wildlife is loss of habitat.

An equally important challenge is the widespread lack of understanding and appreciation of nature by our future leaders — today’s youth.

Waterfowl Chesapeake wanted to promote awareness and direct its support to an exceptional combined habitat and education project at Pickering Creek Audubon Center, a 400-acre wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center located on an undeveloped tributary of the Wye River.

To help replace disappearing habitat for waterfowl and wildlife, this project added 15 acres of wetland waterfowl habitat to over 100 acres previously restored  as wetlands, woodlands and grass meadows.  The Center’s environmental education programs connected this worthy project with high school science teachers and tenth grade students who will become our future policy and scientific leaders.

Wetland viewing platforms and an improved trail system at the Center are other key educational components of this outstanding project.

Waterfowl Benefiting from Project:  American black duck,  American widgeon, Blue-winged teal, Canada goose, Eastern mallard, Gadwall, Green-winged teal, Hooded merganser, Northern pintail, Northern shoveler, Ruddy duck,  Tundra swan, and Wood duck.

Martin National Wildlife Refuge

Martin National Wildlife Refuge Living Shoreline –
Somerset County, Md.


The American black duck is one of the most threatened of all waterfowl species in the Chesapeake. The remote and pristine marshlands and submerged aquatic vegetation (“SAV”) beds of Martin National Wildlife Refuge – immediately north of Smith Island – support one of the largest remaining populations of nesting black duck in the Bay.

High tides are currently breaching a thin strip of sand and marsh between the Bay and the interior of the island endangering the SAV beds of Lighting Knot Cove. If not protected, the erosive wind and wave action will push through the Cove compromising the food resources and habitat for black ducks, as well as other waterfowl.

This project will restore and protect 800 ft of shoreline buffering Lighting Cove through the installation of triangular concrete wave attenuation devices that will absorb the high energy wave action of the Chesapeake Bay but still allow for the natural shoreline process.

This shoreline restoration project will result in preserving 60 acres of sheltered shallow waters and tidal wetland serving as critical habitat for nesting black duck, and wintering habitat for Tundra swan, American widgeon, Canada goose, hooded mergansers and several other waterfowl species.  These shoreline protection measures will also help maintain important fish and shellfish habitat including the vital soft crab fishery of Smith Island.

Waterfowl Benefiting from Project: American black duck, Bufflehead, American widgeon, Canada goose, Gadwall, Hooded merganser, Northern pintail,  Tundra swan, Long-tailed duck, Scaup, Surf scoter

The Alliance for Waterfowl Conservation gave its highest ranking to this project and shortly after the Alliance ranking, the project was awarded a major grant from the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Program. 

To learn more about the Project Registry, click here.

To submit your project, click here.