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The Sanpitch River chapter of Ducks Unlimited raised $19,000 that will help wetland conservation programs at its annual spring banquet.

The money was raised at its annual spring banquet at the Sno-Cap Lanes, said banquet chairman John Eliason, who is a wetlands owner in Sanpete County.An auction also awarded dozens of items that had been donated by businesses and individuals - items like hunting and fishing gear, clothing and crafts.

Six years ago the spring banquet grossed only $4,000. Eliason attributes the mounting interest in part to the development of 400 acres of marsh land three miles southwest of Manti that have become a home for thousands of geese and ducks, and partly to the quality of the items offered at the banquet.

The area is now open to the public for sightseeing and hunting in season.

The funds raised at the banquet help support wetland projects in several other Utah areas, according to Eliason. "We're proud to be able to say that we stage the most successful Ducks Unlimited fund-raiser in the state."