Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Hosts Conference for U.S. Coastal Wetland Wildlife Managers

Release Date: 06/04/2018

Researchers and Land Managers of the first annual Workshop for Coastal Wetland Wildlife Managers.
LSU Professor Andy Nyman examines a core sample out of the marsh at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.
Core samples show the organic matter (decaying marsh) down to layers of sediment in the Unit 6 marsh impoundment.
Sammy King (left) and Refuge Manager Scooter Trosclair (right) take a core sample out of Unit 6 to compare with other samples.

June 4, 2018 - Marsh managers and researchers from around the country gathered at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge last week for a field-oriented conference, studying the changing coastlines and their impacts on wildlife.
 
Many states face similar coastal challenges like Louisiana, including saltwater intrusion, shoreline erosion and subsidence.
 
“One hundred years ago, people studied the marsh and its habitats to help learn how to manage vegetation to provide food and cover for wildlife,” said Andy Nyman, a professor at LSU’s School of Renewable Natural Resources. “A hundred years from now, I hope there are marsh managers standing here. In order for us to be here, we need to be able to manage vegetation not only for wildlife food and cover, but we must manage vegetation for elevation."
 
Nyman has visited coastal areas throughout the U.S., meeting with researchers and landowners to examine and compare ecological issues. The meeting at Rockefeller was the first of its kind, bringing in state and federal land managers as well as public and private consulting groups to discuss subsidence and sea-level rise.
 
“The problems do differ across the coastlines of America but the tools we use are pretty much all the same,” Nyman said. “Coastal marsh managers and researchers are getting together and sharing what they know and what they don’t know about sea-level rise, subsidence, really all the issues coastal wetlands will encounter over the next 100 years."
 
Rockefeller Refuge, managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), was selected as the host site due to the many coastal issues the area is encountering. Rockefeller is nearing completion of facilities that were damaged and destroyed during Hurricane Rita’s strike in 2005.
 
"Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge is often called an outdoor laboratory due to the various types of marsh habitats successfully managed here for decades,’’ said LDWF program manager Phillip Trosclair, who oversees operations at the refuge. “Having a group of marsh managers like this out to our lab ensures we are using the best management practices for our wetlands while also sharing some of the techniques fostered here at Rockefeller."
 
The McGraw Center for Conservation Leadership of Dundee, Illinois, provided funding for transportation and meals for participants as a sponsor of the workshop. Visitors came from as far as New Hampshire down to Florida and across to Texas, all bringing unique backgrounds to wetland ecology.
 
For more information, please contact Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge at 337-491-2000 or e-mail Gabe Giffin at ggiffin@wlf.la.gov. For more information on the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, please visit: McGrawconservation.org.
 

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