The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, (MDWFP) and Delta Waterfowl announced a pilot program to promote wetland habitat on private lands near selected Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the Mississippi Delta.
This program will assist private landowners by offering incentive payments to flood wetland habitat for migrating waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife.
“The goal of this program is to recruit the assistance of landowners in our efforts to provide abundant quality habitat for ducks, geese, and shorebirds in the south Delta; an important region during the fall and spring migration periods,” said Alec Conrad, Private Lands Biologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks. “Past programs demonstrated that when offered an incentive, producers and duck hunters are willing to provide habitat during periods that are critical for waterfowl but outside of the time frame they would typically retain water for duck hunting.”
Conrad said these types of programs have been tremendously successful in the past where landowner participation is concerned.
Priority areas for the incentive program will be private lands within five miles of Wildlife Management Areas: Howard Miller, Lake George, Mahannah, Sunflower, and Twin Oaks. Eligible habitats will include existing agricultural fields that have not been tilled following harvest, as well as managed moist-soil wetlands with natural vegetation (non-cropland).
“With this program, we wanted to replicate the success of these past programs but place more emphasis on expanding habitat availability around areas of existing habitat on Wildlife Management Areas,” Conrad said. “These extensive wetland complexes essentially enable waterfowl to be more energy efficient, which is critical if they are to return to the breeding grounds in good enough condition to nest successfully.”