The one thing about waterfowl wetlands projects is that they are not always seen from the road. But since 1985, Ducks Unlimited has worked with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, other government agencies and private landowners to conserve, enhance or create 230,000 acres of habitat in Texas.
In a state that is 98 percent privately-owned land, that is a lot.
DU funding for those projects, along with others throughout North America, comes primarily from hunters attending events like the Tyler chapter’s 48th annual banquet and auction beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Harvey Convention Center.
Texas is a key wintering state to waterfowl migrating through the Central Flyway. At some point in the year, DU estimates that 90 percent of the ducks and 75 percent of the snow geese that come down the flyway end up in Texas.
Because of its size and diversity, many portions of Texas are wintering grounds for ducks and geese. For that reason, DU projects are scattered from the Panhandle to the coast and throughout East Texas.
In its 2017 State Conservation Report, DU identified projects around the state including 500 acres of playa lake restoration in the Panhandle. There are also projects in various stages of planning and construction at state wildlife management areas, including a 240-acre project at Richland Creek and another project at Gus Engeling in Anderson County, as well as Mad Island, Justin Hurst and J.D. Murphree along the Texas coast.
In 2016, DU spent about $3 million on projects in Texas, just less than half of the money raised by sportsmen at 205 events.
Last year’s Tyler Ducks Unlimited chapter raised almost $65,000 and received the Texas Ducks Unlimited Top 20 Award, the Presidents Roll of Honor Award and the Mallard Growth Award.
The Tyler auction will feature a number of auction items, including art and guns. There will also be a 20-gun raffle, silent auction and additional raffle items.
Tickets for the banquet are $40 for adults, $70 for couples and $20 for greenwings from 7 to 17 years old.
Sponsor tables are also available beginning at $600.
Tickets will be available at the door or online at www.ducks.org/texas/events .