Established in 2004 to conserve and protect wildlife and their habitats, the Moore-Odom Wildlife Foundation has since found a strong partner in Ducks Unlimited. "Both organizations have similar goals," said Jennie Scalfano, trustee and treasurer for Moore-Odom. "DU is into preserving wildlife and nature; Moore-Odom wants the landscape to remain in its natural God-created state. We both want to keep the lands intact." Together, DU and Moore-Odom are working to protect coastal prairies and marshes in southwest Louisiana.
In 2013, Moore-Odom provided a $100,000 grant that has served as the critical private matching piece to help DU secure North American Wetlands Conservation Act funding for three large projects in Louisiana: Gum Cove terracing, restoration of Liner's Canal to improve freshwater flow, and technical assistance to coastal landowners who wish to improve wetland habitat on their land.
While each project has its benefits to wildlife and waterfowl, the Gum Cove project is particularly important to Moore-Odom because of its proximity to the FR Preserve - nearly 6,000 acres of coastal prairie in Cameron Parish owned and managed for wildlife by the foundation. The preserve is home to red wolves; waterfowl; cattle; and the rare, state-listed Crested Caracara.
Ducks Unlimited is in the midst of building 1,500 acres of marsh terraces to slow the cycle of land loss at the Gum Cove site. The creation of terraces - small islands of sediment - within the bay provides a platform for vegetation to grow and flourish. These new terraces also slow wave action, helping prevent shoreline erosion.
In addition to a partnership on the ground, two of DU's staff members sit on the Moore-Odom board and provide expertise to aid in their work. "As we formed the foundation, we thought some of DU's people would be a great asset to us," Scalfano explained. "Their expertise both personally and within the greater DU organization has been invaluable. They care about the same things we do."
Moore-Odom has a long, respected history with DU. Several of its board members are DU members, and both organizations are certified as Land Conservation Organizations in Louisiana. Scalfano sees the partnership as a long-term one, but not necessarily always a grantor-grantee relationship. "It's more of an alliance," she said. "We have a lot of plans for our wildlife preserves, and by working with DU, we can benefit the areas that are important to us and the larger coastal landscape." DU couldn't agree more.
The Moore-Odom Wildlife Foundation's story was featured in the 2013 Ducks Unlimited Annual Report
. If you would like to learn more about supporting DU's Gulf Coast Initiative, please visit www.ducks.org/GulfCoastInitiative
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