Presently, DU leads delivery of the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project, which is targeted at conservation of habitat on private land with a focus of seasonally flooding moist soil areas and cropland, particularly rice, to provide food for waterfowl. This program has been restricted to coastal Texas since 1991. Effective in fall of 1999, DU will expand this program to coastal Louisiana. DU also works with the USFWS, USDA-NRCS, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, to develop, restore or enhance wetlands on public land.
Through FY2000, DU has conserved 45,613 ha of habitat in the NAWMP GCJV Focus Area. This includes 10,735 ha of protected habitat, and 43,138 ha of restored or enhanced habitat. DU conservation programs are an essential component if the NAWMP GCJV goals are to be realized. The GCJV currently is revising its habitat goals based on waterfowl population objectives and related foraging habitat requirements.
DU conservation programs in the Gulf Coast are delivered at the landscape scale. Currently, opportunities exceed funding and staffing capability. Beyond the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project, programs are not specifically targeted to any particular area of the coast. Staff at the SRO will develop a specific action plan targeting areas for proactive conservation work along the coast over the next 5 years. Such work will call for proactive enrollment of cooperators in private lands programs, proactive public lands conservation work, conservation easement programs, and extension efforts aimed at encouraging agricultural practices that are wildlife and waterfowl friendly. Toward this end, the SRO will develop a marketing initiative to publicize conservation programs and assist with fundraising efforts to support conservation programs.
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