Ducks Unlimited is working with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to enhance waterfowl habitat on Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. The 28,000-acre Sherburne WMA is a critical area for wildlife in the southern portion of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) in the Morganza Floodway system of the Atchafalaya Basin between the Atchafalaya River and the east Protection Guide Levee. Sherburne has a mixture of mature bottomland hardwood, scrub-shrub, and emergent wetlands to provide habitat for a range of wetland-dependent wildlife species. Its location within the highly altered and impacted portion of the Atchafalaya Basin makes it a key component of the conservation of the Atchafalaya and Mississippi rivers and an important area for DU’s America’s River Initiative. To optimize wildlife values and public recreation, Sherburne WMA is managed in conjunction with the adjacent Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge. These two properties provide incredible, convenient public outdoor recreation opportunities minutes from two of Louisiana’s growing metropolitan areas.
The 728-acre North Farm Unit is located in Iberville Parish, about 25 miles west of Baton Rouge. Portions of the unit are actively being farmed while the remainder is being managed as moist-soil habitat to provide high quality foraging opportunities for waterfowl, shorebirds and many other wetland-dependent species in a key migrating and wintering area in the MAV. Currently, LDWF does not have an efficient way to flood the western portion of the North Farm Unit because of large, deep borrow areas that require an enormous amount of water prior to being able to flood the rest of the unit. Part of this project will fill in those borrow areas to more efficiently enable water management for quality habitat and conserve the stressed water resource. Filling the in the borrow areas will be a key component in our continued effort to impact both water quantity and quality on the landscape. The other portion of the project consists of building new impoundments on the eastern portion of the North Farm Unit, which is currently being actively farmed, by installing new water management infrastructure to create additional quality wetland habitat.
Partners on the project include Ducks Unlimited, Wetlands America Trust, the LDWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, private landowners and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council. Project construction should be completed in summer 2020.