Mississippi Flyway Council
Established in 1952, the Mississippi Flyway Council consists of representatives from wildlife management agencies from the 14 states between the Mississippi River drainage and the Appalachian Mountains (including LDWF) and the three Canadian provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario) that make up the Mississippi Flyway. The Council assists the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by coordinating federal, state, and provincial management of migratory game birds in the Mississippi Flyway and providing advice on short and long-term migratory bird management needs of the flyway, including setting waterfowl hunting seasons and regulations. Unlike regulating hunting for resident game animals, setting seasons and other regulations for hunting migratory waterfowl is complex and must be coordinated through this multi-agency international organization.
LDWF biologists actively participate in the Council’s Game Bird Technical Section which provides technical expertise and advice to the Council. Through this forum, biologists from state, federal, provincial, territorial, and tribal organizations, universities, and conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited work together to provide Council members the biological data they need to make informed, science-based decisions for waterfowl management and recommend hunting regulations to the USFWS. Waterfowl hunting regulations can vary annually based largely on population estimates and trends, wetland habitat conditions on northern breeding grounds, and anticipated reproductive success. The Game Bird Technical Section analyzes the status of waterfowl populations and recommends annual hunting regulations to the Council; if approved, the recommended regulations are forwarded to the USFWS. Once the USFWS approves these regulations at the flyway level, LDWF uses them to recommend state-specific regulations to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
The Game Bird Technical Section also coordinates and participates in flyway-wide cooperative migratory waterfowl and wetlands research and management. Recent projects include radio-telemetry studies of white-fronted geese and blue-winged teal as well as cooperative banding of mallards, scaup, blue-winged teal, and canvasbacks. LDWF and partners are preparing technical reports and publications for these activities. They also chair several sub-committees on the Game Bird Technical Section and represent the Council on the Arctic Goose Joint Venture, which recommends and prioritizes goose research projects and coordination efforts associated with the current overpopulation of snow geese.