In October, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Ducks Unlimited dedicated five coastal restoration projects that benefit thousands of acres on state-managed public lands.

Wetlands provide crucial habitat for hundreds of migratory species, however, managing the water levels in these areas require large water-control structures. With the ability to manage water levels, LDWF can maximize habitat for wintering and migrating bird species, along with managing healthy estuaries and fisheries. Due to the large volume of water moving through these structures, multi-million-dollar solutions are often needed, and partners from across the business, conservation, and community spectrum come together to fund these projects.

Ducks Unlimited secured funding through the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) competitive grants process. NAWCA grants fund projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico that involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands. Various public and private partners provided match funding to leverage the grants impacts.

These five projects on state-owned lands will provide better public recreation and coastal wetland management capacity.

Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge - Unit 4 Water-Control Structure: DU replaced an older water-control structure from the 1960s. The new design utilizes an inverted T-panel built off site, reducing cost and creating a more durable structure. Recreational fishing piers were constructed on the interior side of the unit, allowing recreational users a safe area to crab and fish. The Unit 4 impoundment contains 5,000 acres of wetlands. Total project cost was approximately $1.5 million.

State Wildlife Refuge - Toms Bayou NAWCA Project and Prien Lake Weir: Toms Bayou received rock weirs that slow tidal exchange and reduce tidal scour, improving the hydrology of approximately 7,500 acres. Additional funding was available, and Prien Lake Weir was added to the grant. A fixed crest weir was constructed on Bayou Prien, benefitting a 630-acre area. Total project cost was approximately $1,165,000.

Salvador WMA - White Tract Acquisition - 1,783 acres were purchased for $1.4 million using NAWCA and LDWF funding. These lands are adjacent to Salvador WMA and will be incorporated into the boundary of Salvador WMA.

Pass a Loutre WMA - Bird Enhancement Project: A hydraulic dredge was utilized to clean out an existing crevasse near South Pass to increase the flow of sediment and freshwater from the Mississippi River into a shallow bay. The dredge material was pumped approximately 2 miles away into open water to create a bird nesting island. This island is 3 acres and provides a safe nesting area for colonial seabirds without the threat of land predators.

Pointe aux Chenes WMA - Moist Soil Unit Project: To be constructed in 2019. Creation of an 85-acre moist soil unit, properly managed through installation of 2 small water-control structures, water pumps, and levee repairs. Approximate cost $450,000, and additional funding is being secured.