June 11, 2010 - Oak Hammock Marsh, Man. - Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has been announced as RBC's newest Blue Water Project partner and is receiving a RBC leadership grant of $400,000 over the next four years for research on water and wetland-related issues in Saskatchewan.
To commemorate the first RBC Blue Water Day, events recognizing the new DUC partnership are being celebrated at five RBC branches across Saskatchewan today. An event at the RBC branch in Wadena was held yesterday.
"It's important for organizations such as ours to identify and communicate the value of wetlands, and with the support of this research through the RBC Blue Water Fund we will do this more effectively," says Brent Kennedy, Saskatchewan Manager of Provincial Operations for DUC. "The results from this study will not only assist DUC in its wetland and waterfowl conservation work in the very heart of "duck country" - it will also help ensure a healthier environment for future generations."
"Once again, we were pleased by the quality of grant applications this year for the RBC Blue Water Project," said Rob Johnston, RBC's Regional President Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North West Ontario. "It's gratifying to see that there's such a vital network of organizations who share our concern for water and that so many people are doing critical, on-the-ground work protecting fresh water resources worldwide. We are very proud to support Ducks Unlimited Canada with a $400,000 donation in support of the important research they will be doing in Southern Saskatchewan."
DUC's research project will take place in the Upper Assiniboine River Basin watershed near Yorkton, Sask. This study will look at the impacts of wetland loss on water quality, quantity, and greenhouse gas emissions. Wetlands provide many other benefits, such as important habitat for wildlife, ground water recharge potential, ecotourism opportunities, flood, drought and erosion prevention, carbon sequestration, and important social and cultural benefits to the people of Saskatchewan and to all Canadians.
Saskatchewan is a very important area in Canada for waterfowl and other wildlife. This area within the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is deemed by DU conservation planners as one of the most important breeding areas for waterfowl in North America.
"Unfortunately, for many reasons, wetland loss is significant in Saskatchewan, and the Upper Assiniboine River Basin watershed is no exception," says Kennedy. "This is why DUC chose the southern Saskatchewan location for our new research study. DUC is currently seeking opportunities with other partners to explore research prospects and appropriate research sites in the Upper Assiniboine River Basin watershed."
DUC's goal is to use the improved understanding of wetland values and the impacts of wetland loss to garner public support to achieve wetland protection through an effective and efficient government policy.
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Ducks Unlimited Canada is a private, non-profit organization that conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.
The RBC Blue Water Project is a ten-year, $50 million philanthropic commitment to supporting organizations that protect watersheds and ensure access to clean drinking water in Canada and abroad.