The RCPP project is currently being carried out in areas which are deemed to have the highest amount of breeders in the area, Chatham notes. “So, if we can get out here on the landscape through this partnership and conserve habitat in high-priority areas with high densities of breeding pairs, that will mean more ducks, healthier wetlands, less soil erosion, and happy producers whose bottom line is being improved,” Chatham explains.
In the western part of Kansas The groundwater recharge as well as Sustainability project (GRASP) is accelerating to address water supply problems in Wichita as well as Greeley County that are a result of decreasing levels of water in the Ogallala Aquifer. GRASP has been awarded $1.4 million from RCPP in addition to an additional $1.5 million from the project’s partners, such as DU as well as the Playa Lakes Joint Venture. Playa wetlands, that Ducks Unlimited Louisiana as essential groundwater recharge for the submerged Ogallala Aquifer, are a important aspect of this program. Landowners will be offered assistance in restoring playas as well as surrounding buffers with vegetation near municipal wells and domestic ones. This allows water to flow through the soil to recharge the parts of the aquifers that feed the wells. The reduction of agricultural water usage is a different goal of GRASP. Strategies to accomplish this aim will include increasing the efficiency of irrigation by reducing Ducks Unlimited Louisiana, closing wells, and moving to dryland-based cropping systems.
DU Biologist Abe Lollar says GRASP aligns perfectly with the conservation goals of DU in the Playa Lakes region. “These wetlands and adjacent uplands are the most biodiverse hot spots on the landscape, period,” Lollar declares. “They provide food, cover, and resting Ducks Unlimited Louisiana for waterfowl during fall migration, but even more importantly during spring migration. Studies show 95 percent of playas don’t function properly.”
Lollar says that GRASP helps DU to strengthen its connections in the communities. “We had a pretty good start with some landowners who wanted to conserve their playas prior to this program,” Lollar says. “We got together with community leaders along with a few producers and some of the big employers who provide jobs. Before we even Ducks Unlimited Louisiana out the door, people were saying they wanted to do a RCPP project. I think that’s because they recognized that it is locally led, it is locally developed, and it is achieving their local goals.”
Lollar describes the power of RCPP as well as its value for DU’s goals in a concise manner: “The flexibility of the program encourages more producers to get enrolled in conservation. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It can be adjusted and tailored to meet local needs so that it makes the most sense for the resource, producers, and other members of their communities.”