In 1991, Ducks Unlimited, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service partnered to create the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project (TPWP). The partnership was established to help deliver the habitat objectives set forth by the Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV), with the primary goal of providing habitat for wintering waterfowl that would improve survival rates and body conditions before spring migration. TPWP works with private landowners to restore, enhance and create shallow-water wetlands through a 28-county focus area along the Gulf.
TPWP projects focus on harvested croplands, moist-soil areas, emergent wetlands and other created wetlands to increase biodiversity for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species. In return, landowners sign a minimum-10-year wetland development agreement and commit to managing and maintaining the wetlands. TPWP works closely with rice producers to improve fields and infrastructure for water conservation, production and habitat management.
Each year, TPWP projects provide critical staging and wintering habitat for thousands of waterfowl, including white-fronted geese, snow geese, northern pintails, green- and blue-winged teal, gadwalls, northern shovelers and redheads. Resident fulvous and black-bellied whistling ducks, as well as mottled ducks, rely heavily on permanent and semi-permanent wetlands for nesting and brood rearing during the spring and summer.
Many landowners utilize TPWP projects for hunting leases and ecotourism. Many sites are also on rice farms, a declining agricultural entity along the Gulf Coast. By working with private landowners to increase and restore wetland habitats, water quality and water quantity – an issue of great concern in Texas – can be improved.
Partners: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Gulf Coast Joint Venture, Futch Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Syngenta, Trull Foundation, Texas RICE, private landowners and Ducks Unlimited