Natural Areas Registry Program

Why conservation?

Few parts of the world boast a natural heritage as rich and beautiful as that of Louisiana's riverbasin swamps, marshes, chenier woodlands, pine savannahs, ravine forests, remnant prairies, and more. But Louisiana's landscape is changing rapidly. Conversion of large portions of our forests to agriculture, wetland losses, and expansion of suburban and commercial development have all taken their toll on our wild places.

Today only a small fraction of this once wild landscape remains in its original condition, and many of the plant and animal species are now rare or endangered. What remains of Louisiana's natural heritage needs our help to ensure its continued survival. This is the objective of the Louisiana Natural Areas Registry.

The registry is designed to honor and recognize owners of outstanding natural areas for their commitment to the protection of our state's natural heritage. The program relies on citizen-based conservation and the willingness of landowners to safeguard the best that remains of our natural world.

Who operates the registry?

The Louisiana Natural Areas Registry was created by the Legislature in 1987. The registry is a program of LDWF which allows the state to recognize the contributions made by Louisiana citizens in protecting our rich natural legacy.

How does registration protect natural areas?

A Natural Areas Registry representative contacts landowners to discuss the special plants, animals, or natural communities which occur on their properties. By informing owners of the importance of these sites, the program reduces the chance that significant natural areas might inadvertently be destroyed.

Registration is totally voluntary and does not occur without the owner's consent. Registration of a site is publicized only it the landowner approves. Directions to the site are not published and registration provides no rights of public access. By seeking the cooperation of landowners, the registry program encourages voluntary conservation of biologically unique lands.

How does an area qualify?

To qualify for the registry a property must contain at least one of the following natural values:

  • Habitat for native plants or animals with rare or declining populations in Louisiana
  • Plant communities characteristic of the native vegetation of Louisiana
  • Outstanding natural features such as old growth forests or wetlands.

What commitments does an owner make?

By consenting to register their properties owners agree:

  • To protect the area and its unique natural elements to the best of their abilities.
  • To notify the program representative of any threats to the area or the plants and animals within.
  • To notify the program representative of an intent to sell or transfer ownership of the area.

Each year the representative will contact the owner to determine whether conditions have changed or new threats have developed.

Is the commitment binding?

No. The agreement expresses a landowner's sincere intention to protect certain natural elements of state and national significance. It is not legally binding and does not subject the area to any new regulatory authority. The agreement may be cancelled by either party at any time, although 30 days notice is requested. If an event occurs which reduces the site's ecological value, it may be removed from the Register.

What does registration offer the landowner?

In honor of the commitment to protect the land, the owner receives a framed certificate bearing his or her name and the name of the registered area. Registry participants have the satisfaction of joining other select Louisiana landowners in a voluntary program to protect natural diversity, a benefit to present and future generations.

The following services, and others, are also available free of charge:

  • An annual ecological check-up on the health of the plants, animals, or habitat of special concern.
  • Preparation of a management plan, if needed, to assure the continued health of the natural area.
  • Consultation on how to protect the area should a transfer of ownership or other change become necessary.
  • A quarterly newsletter with information on the registry program, featured habitats and species found throughout Louisiana, federal and state cost-share funding programs and helpful management suggestions.

Are there any financial advantages?

Registration involves no payment or receipt of funds. The program representative can, however, provide information on a variety of dedication methods that can offer tax benefits to the landowner.

Is the option of permanent protection available?

For landowners who want to preserve their lands in perpetuity, the option of a permanent conservation servitude is also available. Conservation servitudes are a detailed legal agreement that identifies the conservation values on a property, prescribes targeted restrictions on use and development that would threaten those conservation values and defines allowed uses that are consistent with their protection. The landowner and prospective servitude holder tailor servitude terms to protect the land?s conservation values and meet the needs of the landowner. Each nominated property must go through an evaluation and review process to determine if the area qualifies for permanent protection with LDWF. If interested in servitudes through our program, read the Conservation Servitude Overview andStewardship Funding Policy.

For more information on the Louisiana Natural Areas Registry, contact:
Louisiana Natural Heritage Program
2000 Quail Drive
P.O. Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000

Natural Areas Newsletters

The Natural Areas Registry Program produces a quarterly newsletter for all its registered members. This newsletter contains updates on the registry program, articles on featured natural communities and wildlife species, information on federal and state cost-share assistance programs, and management suggestions.

Rehabilitated Brown Pelicans Released at Rabbit Island in Cameron Parish

Release Date: 08/05/2010

State and federal biologists today released the first brown pelicans back into Louisiana coastal habitat since rescue and rehabilitation operations began following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The 15 pelicans were transported from the Bird Rehabilitation Center in Hammond and carefully off loaded on to Rabbit Island by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists, US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists and representatives from the International Bird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

"We are pleased to see our state bird being returned to the coastal zone and applaud the efforts of the biologists who captured the distressed birds and the rehabilitation specialists who work diligently to ensure their survival," said Robert Barham, LDWF  secretary.

Rabbit Island, within Calcasieu Lake, was selected as the release point due to its inland, southwestern Louisiana location which has not been impacted by any oil for the duration of the spill incident. The Cameron Parish location provides 220 acres inhabited by laughing gulls, brown pelicans, and a mix of wading birds that includes roseate spoonbills, herons and egrets.

For photos of today's event go to:



Since bird rescue and rehab began in April, 611 brown and white pelicans have been rescued alive in Louisiana.  248 have been successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and now Louisiana.

For more information related to Louisiana's response to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225/756-5115.


Sixteen Birds Saved from Deepwater Horizon Oil Impacts Released at Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge

Release Date: 07/28/2010

State and federal biologists today released back into the wild 13 laughing gulls and two royal terns and one sandwich tern rehabilitated after rescue from oil impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge (SWR) in Grand Chenier, LA, was selected by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as the release site because it has not been impacted by oil and it contains natural habitat for these species.

"This refuge and nearby natural areas provide these birds the best chance of survival and success," said Robert Barham, LDWF secretary. "We hope to release more rehabilitated birds in state in coming weeks."

The birds released today were treated at the Bird Rehabilitation Center in Hammond.  To date, over 550 birds have been treated and released in this massive wildlife rescue and recovery effort.  Two other birds not injured from the spill, but rehabilitated at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, were released at Rockefeller SWR as well.

Rockefeller SWR, located in eastern Cameron and western Vermilion Parishes, is managed by LDWF's Coastal and Non-game Resources Division.

The 76,000-acre refuge area borders the Gulf of Mexico for 26.5 miles and extends inland toward the Grand Chenier ridge, six miles from the Gulf.

For more information related to Louisiana's response to Tropical Storm Bonnie and the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEPGOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.



Release Date: 07/19/2010


The next regular Advisory Board meeting will be held on Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Room (first floor), located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.  

The following items will be discussed:

1.    Roll Call

2.    Approval of Minutes of October 15, 2009 Meeting

3.    Department Financial Report

4.    Report on Marsh Maneuvers Held at White Lake ? Dr. Steve Linscombe

5.    Update on Whooping Crane Re-Introduction ? Ms. Carrie Salyers/Mr. Bob Love

6.    Status of Agricultural and Hunting Leases ? Mr. Buddy Baker

7.    Ongoing and Potential Research Discussion ? Dr. Eddie Lyons

8.    Consider a proposal by Armond Schwing to amend the White Lake Property Advisory Board Bylaws to deal with absentee board members ? Mr. Armond Schwing

9.    Consider a Resolution Pertaining to the White Lake Fund ? Mr. Sean Gayle

10. Other Business

11. Public Comment

12. Adjournment

2010 -221

Water-Control Structure at Catahoula Lake now Automated

Release Date: 07/15/2010


The Vicksburg District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) has upgraded the water-control structure on the Diversion Canal at Catahoula Lake so that it can be operated remotely during periods of drawdown, reflooding, or in response to rainfall events.

The objectives in automating the structure operation were to eliminate the need for on-site personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?s (USFWS) Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge and reduce the response time when an operation is deemed necessary.

The public can expect more responsive management of water-levels at Catahoula Lake. Local citizens are encouraged to report any observed damage to the structure or associated equipment to the Corps of Engineers at 318-339-7839 or Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) at 318-487-5885.

Catahoula Lake is managed through a tri-party agreement between the USACOE, USFWS and LDWF with an established management plan. Operation of the water-control structure is an important component of that management plan, and remote operation will now take place from the Jonesville Lock and Dam on the Black River.

In addition, Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge will no longer be providing information on water levels on the lake via telephone. Catahoula Lake users are encouraged to use the data from the gauge located at the center of the lake which is posted at:


For more information, please contact Steve Smith at 318-487-5885 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov.


Update on Oiled Wildlife and Marine Life Recovered Along Louisiana's Coastline

Release Date: 07/14/2010


The rescue of oiled wildlife impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continues to be an important mission for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Working closely with state, federal and contracted forces assembled to rescue birds, sea turtles and marine mammals, LDWF biologists patrol coastal waters and marshes daily searching for wildlife in distress.

Wildlife rescue forces also respond to calls received via the oiled wildlife response hotline at 1-866-557-1401.

Through Wednesday, July 14, rescue numbers include the following breakdown:

BIRDS (Overview for duration of response) -

2,986 total birds collected within the five-state impact area (LA, MS, AL, FL, TX).

Louisiana bird collections only:

    http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/img/7x9/orange_arrow.gif); ">
  • 1,555 total birds processed in LA through Fort Jackson rehabilitation center in Buras, LA.
  • 837 birds collected alive.
  • 718 birds dead on arrival at rehabilitation center, euthanized due to extent of injury or dead after rehabilitation efforts unsuccessful.
  • 461 birds treated and released. 
    MARINE REPTILES & MAMMALS (Overview for duration of response) --

660 sea turtles collected in the five-state impact zone.

    http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/img/7x9/orange_arrow.gif); ">
  • 106 sea turtles of the total above were collected in LA waters (9 recovered alive; 97 dead).
  • 64 dolphins have been collected in the five-state impact area -
  • 35 dolphins were from LA waters (1 recovered alive; 34 dead).

Wildlife impact numbers are reported to the Unified Area Command from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, incident area commands, rehabilitation centers, and other authorized sources operating within the Deepwater Horizon/BP incident impact area.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us onwww.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts athttp://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

For more information contact Bo Boehringer  bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115


Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative Begins

Release Date: 07/12/2010


USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has developed the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) to improve the overall health of the basin.  Many activities contribute to nutrient loading in the Mississippi River Basin (MRB), including farming.  Increased nutrients can result in diminished water quality, affecting fish and wildlife habitat locally as well as many miles downstream as exhibited by the hypoxic zone (Dead Zone) in the Gulf of Mexico.   Louisiana is one of twelve river states that was selected to develop systems of practices to improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin (MRB).

Projects were developed by organizations or agencies that have historically worked closely with NRCS.  The projects constitute true partnerships with 11 - 16 partners represented on each project, hence the term cooperative conservation partnership initiative (CCPI) to describe each project.  The NRCS and its partners will help producers within four sub-segments of three watersheds in Louisiana's MRB to voluntarily implement conservation practices that avoid, control, or trap nutrient runoff, improve wildlife habitat, and maintain agricultural productivity.  As such, this program is not a crop retirement program, but rather a working lands program that provides a comprehensive approach to lands management.

A unique feature of this initiative is the required water quality monitoring within the watersheds, thus allowing the objective evaluation of impacts on water quality within the selected areas.  That is one reason the participation areas are limited in size.  Having the focused areas provide the venues for demonstrating effective management of nutrients with the system of practices voluntarily implemented can provide a blueprint for expansion of efforts.

Persons interested in learning more about the MRBI for the Bayou Chene watershed can contact: Mike Perry, Imperial Calcasieu RC&D Coordinator, Bayou Chene project coordinator; for the Bayou Lafourche watershed: Mike Schooler, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Bayou Lafourche project coordinator; and for Upper Joe's Bayou: Donna Remides, Northeast Delta RC&D Coordinator, Upper Joe's Bayou project coordinator.

Areas selected for this multiyear project are within the work areas of three of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' private lands biologists who assist with development of wildlife interests into plans.  Kori Legleu (337-491-2574 orklegleu@wlf.la.gov) will be working with partners on the Bayou Chene watershed.  John Hanks (318-343-4044 orjhanks@wlf.la.gov) will be assisting the various partners delivering the program on the two Bayou Lafourche projects and Cliff Dailey (318-343-4044) or cdailey@wlf.la.gov will be work with participants on the Upper Joe's Bayou watershed.

List of Participants

Important contacts:

Bayou Chene (Lower Mermentau Watershed)

Imperial Calcasieu RC&D Coordinator
Bayou Chene Project Coordinator
337-824-0975 ext.5

NRCS District Conservationist
Lake Charles Field Office
337-436-5020 ext. 3

Bayou Lafourche (Boeuf River Watershed)

Office of Soil and Water Conservation
Bayou Lafourche Projects Coordinator
318-387-8683 ext. 19

NRCS District Conservationist
Rayville Field Office
318-728-4451 Ext.3

Upper Joe's Bayou (Bayou Macon Watershed)                            

Northeast Delta RC&D Coordinator
Upper Joe's Bayou Project Coordinator

NRCS District Conservationist
Lake Providence Field Office
318-559-2604 ext.3

For more information, contact Mike Olinde at 225-765-2353 or molinde@wlf.la.gov.


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