West Gulf Coastal Plain

Level III Ducks Unlimited conservation priority area, wintering more than 1 million diving ducks in some years

© Andi Cooper

The West Gulf Coastal Plain is comprised of more than 52 million acres in three sub-regions: the West Gulf Coastal Plain, the Ouachita Mountains and the Arkansas River Valley. Bottomland forests and associated wetlands support substantial populations of wintering waterfowl as well as breeding and wintering wood ducks. The forested wetlands are similar to those found to the east in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. They tend to flood seasonally, though reservoir construction on all of the rivers has negatively impacted their hydrology and generally reduced seasonal flooding and value to waterfowl in many years.

Importance to waterfowl

  • In some winters, up to 1.15 million diving ducks arrive and make extensive use of aquatic vegetation in large reservoirs in the region.
  • Ring-necked ducks, lesser scaup and canvasbacks are the most common diving duck species.
  • Wood ducks use flooded forested wetlands extensively in the region.
  • An undetermined but likely significant number of wood ducks breed in forested wetlands of this conservation region.

Habitat issues

  • West Gulf Coastal Plain mapForested wetlands along the Arkansas and Red rivers in particular have been converted to agriculture.
  • Indiscriminate logging and subsequent conversion to pine timber production or pasture threaten remaining forested wetlands.
  • Increasing demands for water in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has resulted in construction of numerous water supply reservoirs. Additional reservoirs have been proposed that would destroy additional forested wetlands.

DU's conservation focus

  • 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 existing partnerships, while simultaneously exploring additional partnerships that are consistent with the DU mission.

States in the West Gulf Coastal Plain region

Arkansas | LouisianaOklahoma | Texas

More information