Pass-a-Loutre WMA enhancement project

DU just completed a new project on public land at the mouth of the Mississippi River to enhance habitat for waterfowl and provide hunting opportunity on Louisiana’s oldest and most popular wildlife management area.

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Waterfowl and wading birds take wing over newly created coastal marsh at Pass-a-Loutre WMA.

Photo © Jerry Holden, Jr.

Ducks Unlimited is working to create lush marsh where coastal erosion has turned historic marsh into open water. Old and new delta splay projects are creating prime waterfowl habitat on Pass-A-Loutre Wildlife Management Area, the oldest WMA in Louisiana.

Located in southern Plaquemines Parish, approximately 80 miles southeast of New Orleans, Pass-A-Loutre WMA encompasses 115,000 acres and is one of the most popular public lands for waterfowl hunting in the state. The WMA winters more than 750,000 waterfowl annually at the mouth of the Mississippi River and the heart of the Mississippi River Delta.

In 1986, the state implemented the Louisiana Crevasse Project by cutting three crevasses – artificial distributary channels used to improve flow of water and sediments – in natural levees on Pass a Loutre WMA. The crevasses were expected to produce land for 10 to 20 years, but are still delivering positive gains and are expected to be land-builders for at least the next decade. To date, the cuts have built 760 acres of marsh at a cost of $115 per acre, compared to an average cost of $50,000 an acre for marsh creation using dredged material.

Working with LDWF, Ducks Unlimited completed a new project to modify two existing crevasses and significantly increase water flow, resulting in the creation of even more land. Dredged material from the crevasses was used to create two remote bird nesting islands. Partners included the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, Building Conservation Trust and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.