Millions to protect Michigan wildlife


Ducks Unlimited and numerous partners invested $2.3 million to protect, enhance or restore 2,100 acres of wetland habitat across 10 Michigan project sites in 2019, greatly improving water quality and wildlife habitat.

The milestones in 2019 added to a sizeable historical investment in Michigan. Over the last 30 years Ducks Unlimited has invested $46 million to protect, restore or enhance more than 85,000 wetland and grassland acres on more than 420 project sites across the state.

Partners included the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Six Rivers Land Conservancy, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, corporate partners such as Axalta Coating Systems, major donors and Ducks Unlimited members. Vital federal funding also came from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

“Michigan’s wetlands have a significant impact on Great Lakes and continental waterfowl,” said Kali Rush, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist in Michigan. “But our wetlands are also crucial for water quality for drinking and recreation. Michigan has lost 50 percent of its wetland habitats which filter rainwater before entering the Great Lakes. More wetlands mean cleaner water and less severe algae blooms and flood damage.”

Highlights from 2019 include:

  • Upper Peninsula habitat revamped – Ducks Unlimited and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources enhanced water level management capabilities at Sturgeon River Sloughs State Wildlife Management Area in Baraga and Houghton counties. The Sloughs are one of the Upper Peninsula’s most productive wetland areas.
  • Major Monroe County marsh enhanced – Ducks Unlimited completed the third phase of a 900-acre coastal wetlands enhancement at Erie Marsh in North Maumee Bay of Lake Erie. This project will provide improved wetland habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds that depend on the western Lake Erie basin of Michigan.
  • Saginaw Bay donation ready for restoration – In 2019, James and DeAnn Sattelberg donated 250 acres of former farmland to Ducks Unlimited for wetlands restoration. Since then, Ducks Unlimited has secured funding to design water level management infrastructure which will produce healthier habitat for waterfowl and wildlife. When complete, the property will be transferred it to a professional conservation organization for permanent protection.

For a complete report of 2019 activities, and a look into what’s planned for 2020 and beyond, view the Michigan Conservation Report. For all Ducks Unlimited events and programs in Michigan, visit

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit


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