Ducks Unlimited, P&G, partner to improve Great Salt Lake water availability
Salt Lake City — Using newly announced support from Procter & Gamble, Ducks Unlimited (DU) is leading a group of supporting organizations to improve Lower Bear River and Great Salt Lake water availability by fixing issues with quantity and quality in their watersheds by enhancing 625 acres of wetland habitat and increasing irrigation efficiency on 230 acres of farmland.
Working with a multi-generational farm and ranch family, Ducks Unlimited will convert over 5,000 feet of earthen ditch to pipe to improve irrigation efficiency and provide supplemental water to wetlands on two sites in Box Elder County. By improving water management, these projects will allow better control of invasive species crowding out native plants and impacting waterbirds.
“These two projects are expected to provide more than 65 million gallons of supplemental water to cropland and managed wetlands, bringing greater security and adaptability to site water management,” said Chris Bonsignore, Ducks Unlimited manager of conservation programs in Utah. “This additional water to wetlands also is crucial for migrating waterfowl and water birds that rest and refuel in this continentally important ecosystem.”
The Lower Bear River, Great Salt Lake, and associated wetlands support three to 4 million waterfowl and 5 million shorebirds annually, making it one of the most important wetland complexes in North America. Water shortages due to increased diversions and changing climate are expected and, as a result, freshwater supplies needed to support wetlands and their myriad benefits will become more limited.
The projects are supported by corporate and nonprofit organizations. Procter and Gamble has announced a strategy to help build a water positive future by reducing water use in manufacturing, responding to water challenges through innovation and partnerships, and supporting projects in 18 water-stressed areas around the world. As part of that announcement, P&G is partnering with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s (BEF) Business for Water Stewardship to help fund the Ducks Unlimited projects and several more in the western United States.
“P&G is innovating and setting a high bar for how a company can address shared water issues,” says Todd Reeve, BEF CEO and Business for Water Stewardship co-founder. “By deploying a comprehensive approach that tackles water challenges in the home and supports key local restoration projects in stressed watersheds, P&G is leveraging its unique capacity in new and high-impact ways that should establish the standard for corporate environmental water stewardship.”
The DU projects are also supported by the Marathon Petroleum Foundation and Little Mountain Holdings LLC.
Other benefits of the DU projects include enhanced outdoor recreation resulting from improved wildlife habitat and viewing opportunities. The projects are adjacent to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and will positively impact wildlife populations that regularly trade between project lands and the refuge.
The projects will be concluded by next year.
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 15 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 www.ducks.org.