GRAND CHENIER, La. - Oct. 23, 2015 - More than 75 friends and family of Louisiana conservationist Tom Hess gathered at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge yesterday to dedicate a recently completed restoration project in his honor. Ducks Unlimited and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries partnered on the project to enhance 6,800 acres of coastal marsh on the state refuge in southwest Louisiana.

"It is with great memories of Tom that we dedicate this work to improve management of Price Lake Marsh," said DU Director of Operations Tom Moorman, who worked with Hess on Rockefeller Refuge. "Tom was a great friend and colleague who took me under his wing and taught me so much about the Louisiana marsh. He always maintained a positive attitude and a fantastic sense of humor. He loved this marsh and the ducks and let his passion for both guide his management of these resources. He called Rockefeller the center of the duck universe, and we all want to keep it that way."

Hess, who passed away in 2014, was born in Wilmington, Del., where he learned to hunt and fish and developed his passion for the outdoors. He was a graduate of Louisiana Technical University and Louisiana State University and was hired in1972 as a biologist assistant at Rockefeller. Being a wildlife biologist allowed him the opportunity to work with bald eagles and brown pelicans and to be part of the whooping crane's reintroduction to southwest Louisiana, but his main passion was for ducks. He concluded his career as program manager of Rockefeller Refuge.

The $1.4-million project restored water management capabilities to the Price Lake Unit of the refuge and expanded the fishing pier for better public access. This project was completed as part of Ducks Unlimited's Gulf Coast Initiative. Funding partners include Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Ducks Unlimited, Chevron U.S.A. and the Stuller Family Foundation.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit 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 Connect with us on our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at and watch DU videos at