Release Date: 02/12/2008

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' (LDWF) Natural Heritage Program has posted new facts sheets for Louisiana's Coastal Zone rare species and associated natural communities on the LDWF Web site.  These fact sheets can be found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/experience/naturalheritage/coastalzone .

The fact sheets were developed in partnership with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) and partially funded by the BTNEP Mini-Grants Program.  These fact sheets are designed to provide basic information on animals, plants or natural communities that will aid in identifying sensitive species and their habitats, will serve as a useful tool for educators, and will help guide development of management plans and review of coastal zone projects.

Each two-sided fact sheet contains general information on rare species and natural communities including: state & global rarity ranks, recognition characteristics, photos, range, habitat, LA river basins, threats, and beneficial management practices.

The Louisiana Natural Heritage Program (LNHP) was founded in 1984 with the goal of developing and maintaining a database on rare, threatened and endangered (r/t/e) species of plants and animals and natural communities for Louisiana.  In the process of working toward this goal, LNHP has accumulated over 6,000 occurrences of r/t/e species. 

Of the total natural elements tracked by LNHP, 30 percent are known to occur in Louisiana's coastal zone.  Due to the large number of rare plant and animal species in the Louisiana coastal zone, and also because of the high level of natural and man-made threats associated with the area, LNHP partnered with BTNEP to provide this information for each of the rare species and natural communities along Louisiana's coast. 

The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program was established in 1991 with its primary mission to preserve and restore the 4.2 million acre region lying between the Atchafalaya Basin and Mississippi Rivers.  BTNEP's Mini-Grant Program is just one of the tools it uses to encourage and promote government agency and stakeholder efforts related to restoration and preservation in the estuary system.  The 2008 Mini Grant Program will be accepting new applications on or before March 3, 2008.

"Our partnership with BTNEP has helped us develop concise fact sheets that will provide educational material to the public and assist in the conservation of rare, threatened, and endangered species and natural communities in Louisiana's coastal zone," said Gary Lester, LDWF Natural Heritage Program Coordinator. 

BTNEP Education Coordinator Susan Testroet-Bergeron added, "These fact sheets are a great tool.  BTNEP is pleased to have partnered with the professionals at the department (LDWF).  The sheets are beautiful, educational and essential to our understanding of the unique creatures and habitats of coastal estuaries."

For more information on BTNEP, please visit www.btnep.org.

For more information, contact Patti Faulkner at 225-765-2975 or pfaulkner@wlf.louisiana.gov and Susan Testroet-Bergeron at 800-259-0869 or susan@btnep.org.