Farmers briefed on whooping crane, Scenic River proposal and DU program

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Ducks Unlimited and the LSU AgCenter hosted an educational seminar for southwest Louisiana farmers on Tuesday at the AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension office in Crowley.
LDWF staff briefed farmers on the status of the department’s whooping crane restoration program now in its third year. Farmers learned how the department tracks each crane’s movement once they are released from the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area and how they can assist staff biologists with research efforts underway.
The department’s Scenic Rivers Program coordinator gave an overview of the program, explained potential benefits for farmers whose fields are adjacent to designated system streams and outlined the steps that could provide for waterways within the Mermentau River Basin and Lacassine Bayou being included within the program.
The benefits to landowners along scenic rivers and streams include: special consideration at the state level regarding proposed new projects, especially water related issues; protection provided by unique regulations that value the contribution farmers make to Louisiana; and a competitive advantage for certain financial incentive programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Today, there are approximately 3,000 miles of Louisiana designated Natural and Scenic Rivers. These rivers, streams and bayous, and segments thereof, are located throughout the state and offer a unique opportunity for individuals and communities to become involved in the protection, conservation and preservation of two of Louisiana’s greatest natural resources — its wilderness and its water.
DU’s Manager of Conservation Programs Bob Dew presented information about the importance of rice in southwest Louisiana to waterfowl and other migratory birds. These habitats are some of the most important habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl in North America. Through DU’s Rice Stewardship Program, DU and rice producers partner to enhance rice production, sustain natural resources and conserve waterfowl populations.
For more information about LDWF’s Scenic Rivers Program, contact Keith Cascio at 318-343-4045. For details on LDWF’s whooping crane restoration, contact Carrie Salyers at 337-262-2080. Information on DU’s conservation programs can be obtained by contacting Bob Dew at 337-408-3288.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the Acadian Sportsman League assisted with this public outreach program.

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