The nearly 51,000-acre Boeuf Wildlife Management Area lies about 10 miles southeast of Columbia, La., in Caldwell Parish. The area is flat and poorly drained with frequent flooding from the Boeuf River and Bayou LaFourche and numerous backwater lakes, sloughs and bayous. Such natural floodplains are important for flood water absorption, groundwater recharge and filtering of sediments and pollutants from rivers and streams. Boeuf WMA is a critical area for wildlife in the southern portion of Mississippi Alluvial Valley, providing a mixture of mature bottomland hardwood, scrub-shrub and emergent wetland habitats for a range of wetland-dependent wildlife species.
A large portion of Boeuf WMA is prior-converted farmland that has been partially reforested with bottomland hardwood species. Approximately 4,000 acres of this area, along with an 1,800-acre greentree reservoir, are managed extensively for waterfowl and shorebirds. However, most of the wetland habitat at Boeuf WMA is managed by one main canal.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries lacks a reliable way to provide water to this canal and the wetland habitats it serves. In partnership with LDWF and supported by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant and funding from the Walker Foundation, Ducks Unlimited is installing a large pump at Boeuf WMA. The pump and associated underground piping will let LDWF consistently flood and manage 621 acres of wetland habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife.