Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual banquet on Thursday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rockland Elks Club on upper Rankin Street.

Ducks Unlimited is a non-profit organization dedicated to waterfowl and wetlands conservation. Funds generated in the United States through voluntary, tax-deductible contributions are used to enhance, acquire and restore habitat throughout North America. The local Maine Chapters currently have 25 completed in-state projects with four additional acquisition/protection projects in process.

Budgeting has been made for an additional $188,000 to be spent for projects with targeted completion dates of this spring. This will bring the total acreage in Maine preserved to more than 487,090 acres.

One local project is the Westkeag Marsh, a 600-acre project. Part of the Ralph Waldo Tyler Management Area, it has been heavily impacted by the construction of Buttermilk Lane in Thomaston and by historic draining, dredging and filling, which impeded the natural flow of salt water into the marsh.

This multi-phased project by Ducks Unlimited and its partners was among the first in a series of projects designed to help rejuvenate all of Maine’s coastal salt marshes to their former productivity. The Weskeag Marsh is the largest marsh in Knox County and is an essential brooding and rearing habitat for Black duck, Wood duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal. Snowy Egret, Herons, Bitterns, Snipe and Rail. During the annual migrations, the mash provides a resting and feeding site for waterfowl and shorebirds.

Since Ducks Unlimited inception in 1937, the organization has helped conserve more than 12 million acres of habitat in North America home to more than 900 species of wildlife, including several endangered species. The United States has lost more than half of its original wetlands and continues to loose more than 109,000 acres of vegetated wetlands most important to wildlife each year.

The largest percentage of Duck’s Unlimited conservation expenditure is derived from the annual fundraising banquet.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at sports@villagesoup.com.