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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            Contact:  Craig Kessler,

Manager, Conservation Programs

631-751-5850 or ckessler@ducks.org 

 

Ducks Unlimited and Partners Finish Wetland Restoration Project at Heislerville Wildlife Management Area

Maurice River Township, NJ—May 21, 2004 — A spring dedication celebrating the wetland restoration project at Heislerville Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be held Wednesday, May 26 at 1pm.  Representatives from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, New Jersey Freshwater Mitigation Council, New Jersey Waterfowl Stamp Advisory Committee, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited, Inc., all of whom contributed to the funding of the project, will be on site to honor this exciting piece of history.  This is the first of many cooperative wetland restoration projects planned under the Delaware Bay Initiative.

The Heislerville WMA, consisting of over 6000 acres of prime wetland and associated upland habitat, is located near the mouth of the Maurice River, one of the major tributaries in southern New Jersey entering the Delaware Bay Estuary. The Maurice River is the most eastern of the three big tributaries, and receives heavy use by both waterfowl and shorebirds.  The marshes and mudflats located on the Maurice play host to large numbers of teal, pintail, mallards and black ducks, during both spring and fall migration periods as well as in winter. Shorebirds using the extensive mudflats include huge flocks of the “peep” sandpipers, large numbers of dowitcher, black-bellied plover, red knot, dunlin, as well as yellowlegs, and ruddy turnstones.  Other important trust resources including fish, blue crabs, horseshoe crabs, and many others utilize the tidal habitats of the complex as well. 

Through the innovative techniques of Ducks Unlimited engineers, three impoundment units located on the Wildlife Management Area have been restored through the installation of state-of-the-art water control structures that will allow for maximizing water level management capability.  In turn, this will provide optimal feeding and resting opportunities for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and endangered Bald Eagles during critical times. “Ducks Unlimited’s commitment to the Delaware Bayshores Region can have wide ranging benefits to a host of species that use this region during some part of their lifecycle.  Working in partnership with resource agencies that share these same goals is precisely how protection and restoration of these resources can best be accomplished.  The restoration project at Heislerville WMA is a perfect example of this process at work”, states Craig Kessler, Manager of Conservation Programs, Ducks Unlimited.    

Long-term management of the impoundments will lie with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife who will provide the necessary responsible stewardship to make the Heislerville Wildlife Management Wetland Restoration a true natural resource gem within the Delaware Bay Estuary.

With more than one million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest wetland and waterfowl conservation organization.  Since its founding in 1937, DU has raised more than $1.5 billion and conserved nearly 11 million acres of critical wildlife habitat across North America.  Wetlands are nature’s most productive ecosystems, but the United States has lost more than half of its original wetlands and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres every year.

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