NRCS to expand shorebird conservation efforts in Louisiana

short-billed dowitcher

Short-billed dowitcher, one of four shorebirds targeted by a new NRCS program in Louisiana.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service has added 11 new projects, including one that protects Louisiana shorebirds, to its efforts that help agricultural producers make wildlife-friendly improvements.

It is part of NRCS’s Working Lands for Wildlife effort.

In Louisiana, the project will focus on four shorebirds and enhancing their habitat. It builds on the earlier Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative launched following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The species of concern are the lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), buff-breasted sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis), stilt sandpiper (Calidris himantopus) and short-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus).

With more than two-thirds of the continental United States under private ownership, shorebirds are one of many wildlife species that depend heavily on working agriculture and forest lands for habitat and food, according to a news release. This is especially true in Louisiana, where tremendous amounts migratory waterbirds winter annually on lands which are used for some sort of agricultural production.

Projects focus on species that have needs compatible with agricultural practices and rural land management and that can benefit from conservation on private lands.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers adopt a variety of conservation practices on their land. Agency staff assist producers with a conservation plan and provide funding to cover part of the costs for adopting the practices. These practices are designed to benefit both the species and the agricultural operation.

To learn more about assistance opportunities, contact your local U.S. Department of Agriculture NRCS service center.