The years-long restoration of the wetland habitat at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge has been completed, and the public is invited to tours of the new habitat on Dec. 14.

In 2014, Ducks Unlimited (DU) secured a $1 million grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to restore and enhance wetland habitat on Swan Lake NWR, Steve Whitson, refuge manager said in a press release,

The project was completed in September and the new wetland units are being utilized for fall migration. The US Fish and Wildlife Service along with Ducks Unlimited and the Friends of Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting a tour of the project area on at 1 p.m., on Dec. 14. The tour will begin at the Sumner Community Center on Main Street in Sumner. The tour will include an overview of the completed project, brief explanation of the water management challenges impacting refuge habitat and possible solutions we are exploring to address these issues along with a tour of the completed project site.

Project partners committed approximately $2.14 million in matching funds to the $1 million from the NAWCA Grant.

“These grants are very competitive, and partner support is one factor that is considered when the NAWCA Council is deciding which projects should be funded,” Whitson said. “Partners who committed to helping fund this project include the Friends of Swan Lake, The City of Sumner, RDM Farms, Chariton County Commission, Yellow Creek Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and the Walsworth Publishing Company. Ducks Unlimited, The Missouri Department of Conservation, and Swan Lake NWR, also contributed. These partners recognize the importance of restoring and protecting important wetland habitats on Swan Lake for wildlife and future generations, and they were an important factor in getting this grant secured. As a result of this dedicated partnership, we will be able to protect and restore some of the region’s most productive habitat for the benefit of waterfowl and other migratory birds.”

The focus of this project was to expand the amount of wetland habitat and to convert portions of the higher ground (on the interior of the refuge) to grasslands, Whitson continued.

“This project affected 1,890 acres of habitat on Swan Lake NWR. This included the restoration of 780 acres (487 acres of wetlands and 293 acres of native grasslands) located between Silver Lake and the Swan Lake Marsh, and enhancement of 1,110 acres of existing wetlands, Whitson said,

Anyone interested in attending the meeting should email the refuge manager at steve_whitson@fws.gov or call 660-856-3323 to RSVP for the event,