Public and private organizations combine to restore, expand wetland
JAMESTOWN -- The federal Migratory Bird Conservation Commission recently approved a $999,345 North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant for the first stage of a three-phase project to acquire, restore, enhance, and manage 2,770 acres at Jamestown Wildlife Area (WA) in northcentral Kansas.

"Jamestown Wildlife Area is an important wetland for migrating waterfowl and other birds," said project leader Scott Manley of Ducks Unlimited. "It connects the breeding grounds in the north with wintering grounds in the south. Once completed, this project will provide a 7-mile corridor of wetland and native grassland habitat."

Jamestown WA is a series of wetlands associated with the lower Republican River. In the 1920s and 1930s, the main watercourse that traverses the complex, Marsh Creek, was dammed in two places. This caused the formation of two larger wetland areas and altered the course of the stream, as well as the intermittent nature of the wetlands. This new project will restore wetland function and water quality, acquire and restore additional wetlands and grasslands along Marsh Creek and its tributaries, and help restore minimum stream flows to the lower Republican River.

Jamestown is an important wetland for migratory birds along the Central Flyway because it links the rainwater basins in the north with Cheyenne Bottoms WA , Quivira National Wildlife Refuge , and McPherson Valley Wetlands in the south. Restoration of this area will ensure that the wetland complex will provide habitat for migratory waterfowl such as northern pintail and other wetland-dependent migratory birds such as sandhill cranes, avocets, snowy plovers, and black terns.

Partners in this project include Ducks Unlimited; the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks; Pheasants Forever; The Nature Conservancy; the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams; CloudCorp; Cloud, Republic, and Jewell county commissions; the city of Jamestown; and the Cloud County Tourism Committee. Together, partners contributed $2.2 million to the project.