Release Date: 04/03/2007

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is set to receive $903,000 in 2007 through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program.

The funding was approved when President Bush signed into law a continuing resolution in February that will fund the SWG program at fiscal year 2006 levels for the rest of 2007.  The federal funds come to LDWF through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Louisiana has received a little over $5.5 million in funding since SWG became available in 2000. 

SWG funds are used to support research and programs that target wildlife species threatened by habitat changes. LDWF intends to emphasize species that are not commercially or recreationally hunted, trapped, or fished. The use of funds are directed by Louisiana's Wildlife Action Plan (WAP), approved by USFWS in 2006.

In fiscal year 2007, the national SWG funding total will reach  $67.5 million. The 7-year national total for the SWG funding totals more than $470 million.

In order to receive these funds, Congress mandated that each state devise a WAP by Oct. 1, 2005.  Louisiana's WAP developed a blueprint for guiding LDWF in the development of management actions for Louisiana's fish and wildlife species with emphasis on species of conservation concern and associated habitats they depend upon.  LDWF published Louisiana's approved WAP in February of 2006 and a complete copy can be found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/experience/wildlifeactionplan/wildlifeplandetails.

The following are some examples of WAP projects funded through the SWG program:

Assessment of Henslow's Sparrow Abundance and Condition in Managed Savannas across Louisiana

This three-year project will evaluate habitat quality for the Henslow's sparrow with a total budget of $98,165.  The Henslow's sparrow is a grassland sparrow that has declined in abundance concurrent with reductions in longleaf pine forests.  The study is determining how habitat quality and management (especially the reintroduction of fire into historically fire-regulated pine habitats) affects Henslow's sparrows and intends to derive management recommendations that will benefit Henslow's sparrows and other species that depend on these habitats.

Fisheries Inventory of Louisiana's Major Rivers

This two-year project is nearing completion and is part of baseline data gathering for management of Louisiana's inland fisheries with a total budget of $150,000. This information will help determine the health of the river systems, define routes used by invasive species to expand their range and establish the distribution of rare and unique species.  LDWF is inventorying the fish assemblages in the Mississippi, Atchafalaya, Red, Black, Sabine, Ouachita, Mermentau and Calcasieu River basins.  Sampling methods within rivers includes electrofishing and nets of various designs.  Water quality parameters measured include dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH and temperature at the surface and at the bottom.  

Locating Sandhill Woodlands & Saline Prairie Habitat

This one-year project has recently been completed with a total budget of $7,000.  The study's objective was to document locations of these two globally threatened habitat types in Louisiana.  These habitats support 18 species of conservation concern including the Louisiana pine snake and the western glass lizard.  The LDWF Natural Heritage Program has been utilizing existing mapping data, GIS technology and field surveys to locate the surviving habitat localities.  The Natural Heritage Program is using the results of this project to develop and implement strategies to protect and conserve these habitats, and the species they support.

For more information, contact Andy Ardoin at 225-765-0239 or aardoin@wlf.louisiana.gov.