New Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative opportunity for Louisiana ag producers

LAFAYETTE, La. – May 1, 2013 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers in 22 parishes to develop and enhance habitat for migrating birds. This opportunity is being offered through the Louisiana NRCS Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative, an initiative Ducks Unlimited is partnering with NRCS to deliver.

NRCS will work with agricultural producers to create or enhance shallow-water, mud-flat and moist-soil habitats to benefit a variety of migratory birds. MBHI projects provide food and critical habitat for bird populations, much-needed water during drought conditions, new opportunities to improve wildlife management and financial support for local economies by attracting hunters and birdwatchers.

"DU partnered with Louisiana NRCS to deliver the MBHI following the Deepwater Horizon disaster and again in 2012. We commend their commitment to improve this initiative each year and support the practices it offers to agricultural producers," said Jerry Holden, DU director of conservation programs. "Advancing this initiative in the coastal zone of Louisiana is a natural fit for Ducks Unlimited's focus on ensuring sufficient migration and wintering habitat for waterfowl along the Gulf Coast."

Eligible areas for Louisiana's 2013 Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative include portions of the following parishes: Acadia, Allen, Assumption, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne and Vermilion.

"I encourage interested landowners to visit their local NRCS office as soon as possible," said acting NRCS Louisiana State Conservationist Sarah Haymaker. "The application window for the first MBHI ranking pool ends May 17."

Funding for the 2013 MBHI will be provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications for EQIP funding are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year; however, to be considered in the first MBHI ranking pool, applications must be received by close of business on May 17. Interested producers should contact their local NRCS office or visit www.la.nrcs.usda.gov/programs for more information.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.

Andi Cooper
(601) 956-1936
@DUSouthernNews