North American Waterfowl Management Plan
Through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), LDWF collaborates with state and federal agencies, private landowners, and nongovernmental organizations to identify conservation priorities and generate funding to restore, protect, acquire, and/or enhance waterfowl habitat on public and private lands in Louisiana and other priority areas. Programs and activities include the Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Program, the Louisiana Waterfowl Project, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program’s Wetland Reserve Easements, North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grants and projects, and participation in the Lower Mississippi Valley/West Gulf Coastal Plain and Gulf Coast Joint Ventures.
Louisiana Waterfowl Project
LDWF uses Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp funds in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and private landowners to administer the Louisiana Waterfowl Project. Funds are used to install water control structures that create seasonal wetlands benefitting wintering waterfowl and a wide range of other wildlife. Landowners provide at least 25% of the total cost while partners provide technical assistance and wetland management plans to project participants. There are currently more than 76,000 acres of wetlands enrolled in 10 to 15 year agreements under this program; more than 121,000 acres have been enhanced since the program began in 1992.
North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grants
LDWF develops and evaluates grant applications under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to obtain grant funds for wetlands acquisition and development projects on public lands. These grants require at least $1 in nonfederal matching funds for each $1 of grant funding requested. These grants are a major mechanism for generating conservation partnerships vital to the success of the NAWMP. In recent years, LDWF has partnered with the NAWCA program, Ducks Unlimited, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Monsanto Corporation, Exxon, the Walker Foundation, the White Lake Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and local conservation organizations to acquire valuable wetland habitats and implement conservation projects on six wildlife management areas.
LDWF staff are involved in multiple working groups within two main waterfowl Joint Ventures that work in Louisiana. These groups prioritize regional habitat allocation, distribution, and delivery. They also identify research needs that inform habitat and species conservation throughout the state. These joint ventures function as the local delivery arms of national and international bird conservation plans such as NAWMP.
Most of the restoration projects in the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture region involve reforesting bottomland hardwoods and implementing hydrological improvements by constructing impoundments that store floodwater, recharge groundwater, retain sediment and nutrients, and create wetland wildlife habitat.
Gulf Coast Joint Venture projects focus on reducing coastal marsh loss and increasing habitat quality. Infrastructure installations in the Gulf Coast region include breakwaters, terraces, crevasse creation, and fixed-crest weirs or other water level control structures. Intended functions of these are to reduce or control saltwater intrusion, reduce erosion and turbidity, allow better control of salinities within marsh impoundments, and trap or deposit river sediment. This, in turn, enhances growth of both emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation important for foraging wintering waterfowl. Programs such as the Louisiana Waterfowl Project also enhance the wetland bird carrying capacity of agricultural lands.