Waterfowl Chesapeake Announces 2013-2014 Priority Projects

Inaugural Project Registry process unveils two initiatives making a significant impact
on waterfowl conservation in the Chesapeake

Easton, Md. – December 4, 2013 – Waterfowl Chesapeake is proud to announce the highest-ranking projects from its inaugural Project Registry review process completed in October. Of the eleven projects submitted and then reviewed by Waterfowl Chesapeake’s Alliance for Waterfowl Conservation, two were deemed the most important to support. They are Waterfowl Chesapeake’s Habitat Resources Program and Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s Wetland Restoration & Education Project.

The Waterfowl Chesapeake Habitat Resources Program is an outreach initiative to Delmarva landowners interested in creating, restoring and conserving habitat and expanding food resources for waterfowl on their lands who need information on programs and tools to help them realize their conservation goals. Through the resources program, Waterfowl Chesapeake will develop a “one stop shop” website with a menu of resources, tools, tax benefits and programs available to conservation-minded landowners. The online resource will be supplemented by a representative that is available to provide “hands-on” individualized guidance.

The Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s Wetland Restoration and Education Project will convert 15 acres of farmland to freshwater wetlands. This site is adjacent to a recently completed project, which restored 75 acres on their Easton, Md. campus. In addition, the project also has educational components including the creation of wetland viewing locations, educational workshops for landowners and students, and incorporation of the habitat project into the Audubon environmental education program for high school teachers and students.

“We were very pleased with the response to our first call for projects,” said Judy Price, Waterfowl Chesapeake executive director. “It was encouraging to have the participation and support of many of our public and private non-profit conservation partners as project submitters and members of the Alliance for Waterfowl Conservation.”

In addition to the two aforementioned projects, the Alliance for Waterfowl Conservation gave its highest ranking to a project involving the design and construction of 800 ft. of living shoreline to resolve major erosion problems on the west side of Martin National Wildlife Refuge in Somerset County, Md. However, shortly after the Alliance ranking, the project was awarded a major grant from the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Program.

“We were thrilled with the news that this critical project received much-needed funding,” said Price. “Waterfowl Chesapeake’s new Project Registry will help us promote awareness of high value projects like the one at Martin National Wildlife Refuge, and this recent grant decision serves to endorse the credibility of this process.”

The Waterfowl Chesapeake Project Registry is designed to identify and promote support for significant projects that advance the creation, restoration and conservation of waterfowl habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and nearby coastal bays. The Registry provides a comprehensive collection of pertinent projects that can be researched through Waterfowl Chesapeake’s online web platform, thus, expanding awareness and visibility to potential supporters and funders. The Project Registry will also serve as a tool to assist Waterfowl Chesapeake and its partners in making wise investments to ensure that abundant waterfowl thrive throughout the region.

Submitted projects are reviewed by Waterfowl Chesapeake’s Alliance for Waterfowl Conservation. Representing a broad cross-section of environmental expertise and diverse backgrounds, the 2013 Alliance included current and former leadership from the Chesapeake Bay Office and the Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S.G.S. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, University of Maryland’s Horn Point Laboratory, Town Creek Foundation, the Maryland Ornithological Society and the Washington College Center for the Environment & Society.