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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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LDWF, Ducks Unlimited dedicate projects along five coastal refuges and WMAs

LDWF, Ducks Unlimited dedicate projects along five coastal refuges and WMAs

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Ducks Unlimited (DU) dedicated five restoration projects last week that will benefit thousands of acres on state managed public lands.

Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, State Wildlife Refuge in Vermilion Parish, Salvador Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Pass-a-Loutre WMA and Pointe aux Chenes WMA were or will be the sites of the projects that totaled more than $5.5 million.

Ducks Unlimited obtained grant funding from the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) which grants programs fund projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico that involve long-term protection, restoration and/or enhancement of wetlands habitats. Various public and private partners matched funding to leverage the grants’ impacts.

The restoration projects funding partners included the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, Global Wildlife Center, Pennington Foundation, Lamar Advertising, Wetland American Trust, CCA Louisiana, Axalta, Apache, Chevron, Shell, Phillips 66, Energy Transfer and Building Conservation Trust.

“Partnerships like this are crucial to fund these projects," LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “Ducks Unlimited continually works with public and private partners, solidifying funding and leveraging dollars for the Sportsman’s Paradise. These money-on-the-ground-projects result in pristine habitat for our wintering ducks, geese and other migratory birds.”

Details on each of the projects finclude:

- Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge - Replacing an older water control structure from the 1960s. The new design utilizes an inverted T-panel built off site, thus reducing cost and creating a more durable water control structure. The impoundment contains 5,000 acres of wetlands. The total project cost was approximately $1.5 million.

- State Wildlife Refuge - A rock weir was constructed in Tom’s Bayou that will slow tidal exchange and reduce tidal scour, which will improve submerged aquatic vegetation growth and reduce erosion of approximately 7,500 acres. Additional funding was available and the Prien Lake Weir was added to the grant. A fixed crest weir was constructed on Bayou Prien, benefitting a 630-acre area. The total project cost was approximately $1.2 million.

- Salvador WMA - White Acquisition - 1,783 acres were purchased using NAWCA and LDWF funding. These lands are adjacent to Salvador WMA and will be incorporated into the boundary of Salvador WMA. The purchase price was $1.4 million.

- Pass-a-Loutre WMA - Bird Enhancement Project: A hydraulic dredge was utilized to clean out an existing crevasse near South Pass. The cleanout was needed to increase the flow of sediment and freshwater from the Mississippi River into a shallow water bay. The improved hydrology will increase the production of submerged aquatic vegetation and enhance delta splay development of the Mississippi River. The dredged material was then pumped approximately two miles away in open water to create a remote isolated bird nesting island. This island is three acres in size and provides a safe nesting area for black skimmers, various terns and Wilson’s plovers without the threat of land predators. This project was completed in March 2017. The total project cost was approximately $1.1 million.

- Pointe aux Chenes WMA - Moist Soil Unit Project: To be constructed in 2019. This project will create a 75-acre moist soil unit, managed through installation of two small water control structures, water pumps and levee repairs. Approximate cost will be $450,000 with additional funding being secured.