'Tis the season to get together with family and friends … even those who we may not always see eye to eye with; in a similar vein, that is what NAWCA is about. The North American Conservation Wetlands Act, also known as NAWCA, was passed in 1989 to get people to come together. This act was sponsored to help people work together in a collaborated effort to enhance, restore, and manage our wetland resources better.
It is a given that when you get multiple individuals or groups together there will be a differing of opinion. However, if there is a common goal and a general direction that all the parties can agree upon, then progress can be made. Currently, the Mingo Basin Partnership is made up of 17 different groups or organizations that are invested in improving wetlands in our neck of the woods.
The work done on Duck Creek over the past two years was partially funded by NAWCA money after our first Mingo Basin Partnership proposal was approved in 2009.
Last year we took turns with Ducks Unlimited and Mingo NWR as they submitted the second Mingo Basin Partnership proposal. This proposal addressed replacing the main outlet to Mingo and the rest of the basin with a more efficient water control structure, similar to the one along Ditch 1/111 and Pool 1. Although this project was approved earlier on this year, the uncertainty of the federal budget has delayed the development of the project’s final timeline. However, it looks like we should see some progress in the next couple of months.
Despite the federal uncertainty, the planning process has continued to move forward. This summer the ball was back in our court, and MDC submitted the third Mingo Basin Partnership proposal to NAWCA. This third proposal focused on wetland enhancement and restoration work on the new properties on the east side of Duck Creek near Field 1 and the fish ponds tract. Work was also proposed to be done in pools 2 and 3 to minimize the spoil piles along the boat-lanes for more efficient water management on and off the trees. At the beginning of this month, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council met and recommended that this third proposal be moved forward. Like the second proposal, we will have to wait and see how the federal budget shakes out over the next few months to officially move forward.
If all goes as planned, Mingo NWR will have one more turn to focus on hydrologic connections between pools and replacing worn out water control structures. This collaborative work between agencies and across years benefits the whole Mingo Basin since the both the conservation area and wildlife refuge are attached at the hip. By being able to collectively manage our water better and restore the historic wetland drainages the basin’s bottomland habitats will benefit. If we can provide better habitat, waterfowl and other wetland critters will respond, and this will in turn add value to our public use for years to come.
Much like Christmas is a time when folks come near and far to gather around the table, NAWCA provides an opportunity for us to reach out and work together with those around us to benefit the wetlands we care about. A special “thank you” goes out to all of our partners and our users for making this venture possible. With this month’s approval, we continue to make progress with Mingo Basin’s renovation.
Until the New Year, take care and travel safe this holiday season.