conserve wetlands and South Carolinas waterfowl.

The future of our waterfowl resources depends on quality habitat. SCWA has worked diligently to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wetland Reserve Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program and Conservation Reserve Program. These federal conservation farm programs are restoring and enhancing thousands of acres of waterfowl habitat each year. The Wetland Reserve Program has the potential to restore over 55,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods in South Carolina over the next 5 years. SCWA is working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office to help implement this program. We are currently developing a partnership agreement where SCWA will assist with the identification and implementation of projects.

SCWA initiated the formation of the Santee Cooper Lakes Waterfowl and Fisheries Coalition. SCWA hosts each meeting and provides all clerical services for the Coalition. The Coalition has developed a plan to restore fish and waterfowl resources on the Santee Cooper Lakes (see web site waterfowl habitat section). The Coalition promoted the development of the new 350 acre Hickory Top Waterfowl Management Area. This project is now being funded by Santee Cooper Corporation and will be managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

SCWA Executive Director, David Wielicki, is the chairman of the Coalition’s Santee National Wildlife Refuge subcommittee. With support from the Coalition, local politicians, Santee Cooper, Ducks Unlimited and SCWA the Santee Refuge has restored a majority of its waterfowl habitat. The Coalition Refuge committee has also been successful in supporting an increase in staff from 3 to 8 full time people. SCWA has committed to continue its support of habitat development and is donating 500 bushels of corn in 2003 for the refuge banding site.

SCWA has worked diligently to oppose the release of grass carp in Lake Murray. The Association has worked to educate the public and SCDNR about the ecological damage caused by grass carp to waterfowl and fisheries resources (see article in habitat section).

SCWA maintains over 250 acres of wintering waterfowl habitat at its Wetland Wildlife Center. The Association also conducts an annual Japanese millet planting program on various reservoirs across the state when weather conditions provide optimum conditions for planting millet. Past projects include Lakes Marion and Moultrie and Lake Russell. These projects provide habitat for wintering waterfowl and increase public hunting opportunities.

SCWA biologists are continuously working with private and public landowners to enhance breeding, brood rearing and wintering waterfowl habitat across South Carolina. SCWA also supports funding for SCDNR waterfowl management areas. We provide expert technical advice to anyone who desires to create waterfowl habitat. Better habitat means more waterfowl and better hunting for public and private land waterfowl hunters.

1. Conservation should be taken as a serious issue when raising ducks and other waterfowl