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Stevens County wetlands part of $2 million restoration project

Stevens County will be one beneficiary of $2 million in funding to restore wetlands and migratory bird habitat.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission recently approved $2 million in federal funding to enhance and restore wetlands and critical migratory bird habitat in Minnesota.

The commission allocated more than $26 million to protect, restore, improve and manage more than 135,000 acres of vital wetland areas and associated wildlife habitats across the U.S. under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive $1 million for the Glacial Ridge Prairie Landscape Initiative to add more than 6,000 acres to Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, and enhance an additional 300 acres of critical migratory bird habitat. This project will provide critical habitat for more than 300 wildlife species and 200 bird species, including mallards, sandhill cranes and prairie chickens, by restoring wetlands and grasslands within the Red River Prairie ecosystem and Glacial Ridge's Wetland Management District.

The Glacial Ridge project highlights the connection between NAWCA and the Service's Small Wetlands Program, which uses Federal Duck Stamp dollars to acquire wetlands and uplands to be managed as part of the system of Wetland Management Districts scattered throughout the Midwest. The Small Wetlands Program is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The Service and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will receive an additional $1 million to support a second NAWCA project in the Upper Minnesota River Valley.

This project will protect, enhance and restore more than 3,000 acres of wetlands and grasslands across Stevens, Traverse, Grant, Big Stone, Lac Qui Parle, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine, Renville and Redwood counties.

Species to benefit from the conservation effort include upland nesting waterfowl like Northern pintail and mallard, grassland birds including upland sandpiper and greater prairie chicken, and other wetland birds including herons, terns, American bittern, white pelicans and trumpeter swans.

The partners associated with these projects are in the eastern portion of the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture and will contribute close to $7 million in matching funds to help support these two conservation projects.

More information about NAWCA grant programs and summaries of the projects approved is available on the Web at: Additional information about the PPJV is found at