Laguna Atascosa Approved for Land Acquisition Funds

Special to the PRESS

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission recently approved $58 million in funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to purchase, lease or otherwise conserve more than 200,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across North America.  Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, in eastern Cameron County, Texas, was one of nine national wildlife refuges across the nation approved for project funding.  The refuge plans to work with the non-profit The Conservation Fund, to acquire 1,778 acres near its main unit.  The land includes freshwater wetlands, which would provide habitat for waterfowl and wading birds, as well as thornscrub forest, which will add to the “wildlife corridor” already established in the lower Rio Grande Valley.  The wildlife corridor provides connectivity between habitats and facilitates the necessary movement of wildlife such as ocelots, bobcats, javelina and other forest-dwelling species.

The funding is largely raised through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps”.  For every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps, 98 cents go directly to acquire or lease habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.  The Duck Stamp program has been in place since 1934 and has raised more than $800 million to acquire more than 6 million acres for the National Wildlife Refuge System.  The 2015-16 Duck Stamp will go on sale June 26 and is available at Laguna Atascosa’s visitor center at 22688 Buena Vista Road, Los Fresnos, TX 78566.

To learn more about Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, visit the refuge’s website www.fws.gov/refuge/laguna_atascosa.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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