Volunteers Return to Pass A Loutre WMA For Marsh Restoration Project Phase Two

Release Date: 03/29/2011

Ohio State University students on spring break place Gulf Saver Bags at Pass a Loutre WMA on March 24.
Volunteers, coordinated by Common Ground Relief for Restore the Earth Foundation, prepare for trip to Pass a Loutre WMA.
Gulf Saver Bags placed at Pass a Loutre WMA are designed to stimulate marsh restoration and growth.

March 29, 2011 - Volunteers from around the state and country assisted the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) marsh restoration efforts March 24 with a second installation of Gulf Saver Bags at Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Common Ground Relief coordinated the effort for the Restore the Earth Foundation and LDWF, bringing in students on spring break from Ohio State University, and representatives of Bayou Rebirth, (San Francisco) For the Bayou, Global Green and Plaquemines Parish officials and citizens.

The volunteers assisted LDWF Coastal and Non-game Resources Division personnel distribute 800 Gulf Saver Bags at the WMA that forms the southeast tip of Plaquemines Parish, where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The vital wetland habitat within the WMA provides a natural home and breeding grounds for shrimp, crabs, oysters, and more than five million migratory birds. Hurricane activity and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 have further advanced the effects of coastal erosion to this southeastern Louisiana shoreline that forms the first line of defense against storm surge and tidal fluctuations.

The Gulf Saver Bag is a package of native marsh grasses with its own supply of natural nutrients and oil eating micro-organisms combined to support, feed and protect the new growth of marsh grasses in areas of need. The bag is standard biodegradable burlap weighing 20 pounds when packed. Placement by hand from small transport vessels minimizes disruption of shallow sediment along deteriorating coastal land mass. The 800 bags placed along the marsh shoreline Thursday supplement the 400 bags distributed by an initial volunteer effort in December 2010.

Funding for materials used at Pass a Loutre was provided by donations from individuals and matching donations from the Coypu Foundation, the Ittleson Foundation, State Farm Insurance and Restore Americas Estuaries. Additional funds were raised though benefit concerts held in San Francisco and sponsored by For the Bayou, as well as a Benefit the Bayou concert held in Cape Cod, and a car wash held by Ben Franklin High School in New Orleans. For more information on the Gulf Saver Bag project, visit www.gulfsaversolutions.com.

Pass a Loutre WMA encompasses 115,000 acres and is the oldest wildlife management area in Louisiana. Visit www.wlf.la.gov for information on LDWF’s coastal wildlife management areas.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

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

News Releases

Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 4:17pm
Jan. 14, 2016 – Two whooping cranes that were part of an experimental population in Louisiana were found dead in southeast Texas in Jefferson County on Monday (Jan. 11). These birds, a male and female, were almost two years old and were part of a group being introduced in an effort to...
Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 10:05am
Jan. 5, 2016 -- Eleven juvenile whooping cranes were released into the wild last Tuesday (Dec. 29) at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) near Gueydan. The juvenile cranes join 35 adults that are part of an experimental population being monitored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and...
Friday, December 4, 2015 - 10:41am
Dec. 4, 2015 – Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists received a sixth cohort of juvenile whooping cranes at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) near Gueydan on Thursday, Dec. 3. The 11 young cranes add to the state’s resident population established...
Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 2:43pm
News Release   For Immediate Release October 29, 2015   Contact: Bo Boehringer LDWF (225)765-5115 bboehringer@wlf.la.gov   LDWF...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 1:59pm
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Monday, March 30, 2015 - 1:47pm
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 4:32pm
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 1:45pm
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014 - 8:04am
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Friday, December 5, 2014 - 11:08am
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L.W.F. Honors Biologist Michael Carloss with 2010 Conservation Achievement Award

Release Date: 03/21/2011

March 21, 2011 - The Louisiana Wildlife Federation honored Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Biologist Director Michael Carloss as a 2010 Conservation Achievement Award winner on March 19 at the federation’s annual convention in Alexandria.

Carloss directed LDWF’s Coastal and Nongame Resources Division wildlife rescue response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. That effort included coordination of federal agency resources for bird rescue within rookeries and nesting islands, and establishing rescue protocol for heavily populated bird habitat along the Louisiana coast. 

A former president of the Louisiana Association of Professional Biologists, Carloss holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and is a 23-year state employee. He also worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service on coastal restoration issues.

Four other individuals and three organizations were also honored for their outstanding conservation achievements last year. They are:

Ted Falgout, retired executive director of Port Fourchon, chosen to receive the Governor's Award - Conservationist of the Year for 2010; 

Kenneth Sayes of Woodworth, owner of Sayes Office Supply in Alexandria, for volunteering his time and leadership skills to encourage local youth to participate in outdoor events;

Amy Griffin Ouchley of Farmerville for her environmental education leadership as a biology teacher, workshop instructor, and Volunteer Environmental Education Director for Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge;

William “Billy” Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish President, for developing the Parish Strategic Implementation Plan to proactively address coastal restoration and for his advocacy and leadership during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to protect the coastal marsh of Plaquemines Parish;

The First Presbyterian Church of Bayou Blue for advocacy efforts at the regional and national level that explain the importance of Louisiana’s wetlands and the need for coastal restoration by hosting national and international citizen leaders, visiting other coastal sites facing coastal erosion, and supporting local conservation projects;

Future Leaders of America’s Gulf (FLAG), a youth organization in Houma started by high-school students in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, for educating youth at the local and national level through media and social networking about the issues facing the future of the Gulf of Mexico; and

ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Complex for developing and implementing a wildlife restoration plan for ten sites in Louisiana through the leadership of its Wildlife Habitat Team and in partnership with Southern University. 

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide conservation education and advocacy organization with more than 10,000 members and 26 affiliate groups. Established in 1940, it is affiliated with the National Wildlife Federation and represents a broad constituency of conservationists including hunters, fishers, campers, birders, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF. 

For more information, contact Jodie Singer at 225-344-6762 or Jodie@lawildlifefed.org or Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov. 

The Louisiana Statewide Red-cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Program

The Louisiana Statewide Red-cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Program

The Federally-endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) (RCW) is the only southeastern woodpecker to excavate its roost and nest cavities exclusively in live pine trees. The RCW is approximately the size of the northern cardinal. (Add link to Natural Heritage spp. Account here).  It is distinguished from other ladder-back woodpeckers by its large white cheek patch (auricular) and its cooperative breeding strategy.

The RCW has very narrow habitat requirements. It requires pines at least 60-years old (preferring 80-100-year old trees which are infected with red heart fungus). RCWs cannot persist in the long term without suitable cavity trees and adequate foraging habitat. Herein lays the crux for private landowners. They must retain a minimum stocking level of 3000 sq. ft. of pine basal area of trees 10 inches and greater diameter at breast height, on at least 75 ac. for each RCW family group on their property. These guidelines may pose a disincentive for most landowners to manage for the RCW. The solution? Safe Harbor.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) with its partner the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finalized a programmatic safe harbor agreement for the state of Louisiana. LDWF received a permit from the USFWS on January 25, 2005 to administer this program. This permit allows LDWF to enroll non-Federal properties in the program by entering into Safe Harbor Management Agreements (SHMAs) with landowners.  The SHMA is the document that, once approved by LDWF, outlines a cooperating landowner’s baseline number of RCW groups, voluntary RCW management activities and timetables for their implementation.  In exchange for entering into a SHMA, landowners receive a Certificate of Inclusion which authorizes the incidental take of any RCW group or habitat that is above the landowner’s baseline responsibilities. 

The baseline number, or number of RCW groups present on the property at the time of enrollment, is determined by a survey completed by qualified personnel experienced in RCW surveys.  The baseline number of groups can be zero and is subject to approval by LDWF and the USFWS.  Upon signing their SHMA the landownervoluntarily agrees to manage for their baseline RCW groups and associated foraging habitat.  If, after entering into a SHMA, the number of RCW groups increases on the landowner's property due to their beneficial and voluntary management, they are not responsible for those above-baseline groups and may, if they choose, remove their cavity trees and associated foraging habitat. If a landowner chooses to exercise this option, they must give LDWF a 60-day written notice so that LDWF and/or the USFWS can give a consolidated and coordinated effort to capture the affected RCWs and translocate them to a recovery population. This shows LDWF's and USFWS's commitment to landowners’ management objectives and to the survival and recovery of this endangered species.

When signing their SHMA, landowners voluntarily agree to manage for the RCW, by choosing 1 or more of 5 management options, each of which provides a net conservation benefit to the RCW. These management options are: forest management, hardwood midstory control, prescribed fire, RCW population management and RCW cavity installation and maintenance.  LDWF understands that these management actions can be costly and helps landowners indentify cost-share programs that can provide financial assistance for RCW management activities.  Please visit the links at the end of this article to explore the many opportunities for financial assistance in RCW habitat restoration and management. 

The management strategies associated with the RCW Safe Harbor Program benefit a host of other wildlife species associated with mature pine habitat, including: bobwhite quail, eastern wild turkey, Louisiana pine snake and gopher tortoise (just to name a few).  RCW management also promotes healthy mature pine stands, which have exceptional value in the pole and saw timber market.  With careful planning, RCW management and profitable timber harvest can be compatible uses of a forested tract.  RCW management activities also result in an open understory which may allow for further economical benefit in pine straw raking. 

The Louisiana Statewide RCW Safe Harbor Program exemplifies LDWF's commitment to providing incentives for endangered species management on private lands.  We are committed to assisting landowners in developing a strategy for RCW management on their land that balances their forest management objectives.

For detailed information on the Louisiana Statewide RCW Safe Harbor Program and the Louisiana Landowner Incentive Program or to receive a copy of the Louisiana Statewide RCW Safe Harbor Agreement by mail, contact Eric Baka, RCW Safe Harbor Coordinator at (318) 487-5890 or via email at ebaka@wlf.la.gov.


Current cost-share programs available for management activities which benefit the RCW are as follows:

Forest Management: 

Hardwood removal: 

Prescribed burning: 

There are also cost-share programs which provide financial and technical assistance for general wildlife habitat restoration and/or longleaf pine restoration may be utilized for RCW habitat restoration:


Please visit the links below for further information:

RCW and Longleaf Pine Info:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Clemson Field Office  RCW Information.

All About Birds  Cornell’s RCW Summary

http://library.fws.gov/Pubs4/redcockadedwp02.pdf  USFWS RCW Brochure.

Longleaf Pine Ecosystem  The Longleaf Alliance.

http://www.conservationforestry.org/Documents/Handbook_Gopher_Tortoise.pdf  “The Gopher Tortoise Handbook” contains much information on the longleaf pine ecosystem.

Contact Us | Louisiana NRCS  For information on WHIP and EQIP contact this local Alexandria NRCS Office.

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