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West Gulf Coastal Plain - More Information

Background information on DU's West Gulf Coastal Plain conservation priority area
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Importance to other wildlife

The pine-dominated uplands that comprise the majority of this region are home to numerous colonies of red-cockaded woodpeckers. In addition, pine uplands are important habitat for Bachman's sparrows and brown-headed nuthatches. Riverine habitats, particularly sandbars, likely were important nesting habitat for interior least terns and provided some shorebird habitat. Most of the major rivers have been altered via reservoir construction or navigation projects and most sandbar habitat is no longer present. Bottomland hardwood wetlands along major rivers are important habitat for several species of colonial wading birds, and for neotropical migrant passerines, particularly Swainson's warblers.

Conservation programs

DU conservation programs have grown considerably in each of the four states in the WGCP. Substantial restoration work has been completed through the Wetland Reserve Program, and through traditional private and public lands conservation programs in all four states. Through FY2004, DU has worked with multiple partners to conserve 27,790 ha in the WGCP conservation region. The estimated dabbing duck foraging habitat shortfall will be met within a 5-10 years through restoration activities associated with WRP, private lands conservation programs, and on public lands in cooperation with state and federal agencies.

Goals

The primary goal of conservation programs in the WGCP is to protect, restore, enhance and manage waterfowl and wetland habitat consistent with the objectives of the LMVJV of the NAWMP. Specific goals include:

  • Maintain 27,790 ha conserved in the MAV prior to June 30, 2004, including 13,188 ha protected and 14,681 ha restored or enhanced.
  • Expand the existing conservation easement program with a goal of protecting a minimum of 1,000 ha/yr through FY2008.
  • Restore or enhance at least 1,250 ha/year in cooperation with state and federal agencies and private landowners, with emphasis on securing perpetual protection, through FY2008.
  • Encourage active management on a minimum of 2,500 ha/yr through extension and technical assistance efforts.

Assumptions

  • Foraging habitat limits regional populations of over-wintering waterfowl in the region through effects on over-winter survival rates.

Strategies

  • Emphasize programs that secure long-term conservation of foraging habitat and other wetland functions and values.
  • Work with state and federal agency partners to conserve habitat on public lands.
  • Emphasize extension efforts to assist landowners to restore, enhance and encourage active management of habitat on private lands.
  • Maintain and expand existing partnerships, while simultaneously exploring and developing additional partnerships that are consistent with the DU mission.
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