Test Results Confirm Pointe Coupee Bird Deaths Caused by Trauma

Release Date: 01/27/2011

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has confirmed with tests conducted by three independent labs that the bird deaths in Pointe Coupee Parish on Jan. 3 were caused by trauma.
The 500 birds found dead along a stretch of LA Hwy. 1 between New Roads and Morganza included red wing blackbirds, starlings, brown-headed cowbirds and grackles. Sample carcasses were sent to the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia in Athens, the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI, and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, IA.
LDWF preliminary evaluations on Jan. 3 indicated trauma as a factor. Lab testing was needed to rule out other possible causes.
Lab reports confirmed subcutaneous hemorrhages, internal organ rupture and broken bones in all birds. Additional tests for organophosphate and carbamate insecticides were negative, and none of the birds tested positive for Avian influenza, Newcastle disease, Eastern or Western equine encephalitis or West Nile virus.  
LDWF staff evaluations point to a combination of strong winds from a rapidly moving cold front and disturbance from either vehicular or train traffic that flushed the birds out of the roost trees located across LA Hwy. 1, near two converging power lines. The birds’ apparent flight through those lines resulted in collisions with the power lines and subsequent mortalities. Nearly all of the dead birds were found beneath the wires.
For more information, please contact Bo Boehringer, 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

Gulf Saver Bags Placed at Pass A Loutre WMA In Effort to Rebuild Wetland Habitat

Release Date: 12/20/2010

Gulf Saver Bags are positioned to help restore receding marsh habitat at Pass a Loutre WMA.
LDWF worked with volunteer groups Dec. 17 to rebuild marsh grass habitat utilizing Gulf Saver Bags at Pass a Loutre WMA.
Packaged with native marsh grasses and nutrients, Gulf Saver Bags are being tested as a method to restore marsh habitat.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in collaboration with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) and the Restore the Earth Foundation, Inc., implemented a new coastal restoration technique at Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area (WMA) with the phase one installation of Gulf Saver Bags on Dec. 17.

“Seasonal tropical storm impacts, the recent oil spill and years of the Mississippi River delta altered by a controlled flow of sediment have taken their toll on the Louisiana coast,” said Robert Barham, LDWF secretary. “The oil impacted wetlands at Pass a Loutre are critical areas where marsh restoration efforts are needed.”


A crew of volunteers assisted LDWF Coastal and Non-game Resources Division personnel distribute 400 Gulf Saver Bags at the WMA that forms the southeast tip of Plaquemines Parish where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The wetland habitat within the WMA provides a natural home and breeding grounds for shrimp, crabs, oysters, and more than five million migratory birds. The southeastern Louisiana shoreline wetlands and barrier islands are the first line of defense protecting the area's populations against storm surge and tidal fluctuations.

The Gulf Saver Bag is a package of native marsh grasses with its own supply of natural nutrients and oil eating micro-organisms combined to support, feed and protect the new growth of marsh grasses in areas of need. The bag is standard biodegradable burlap weighing 20 pounds when packed. Placement by hand from small transport vessels minimizes disruption of shallow sediment along deteriorating coastal land mass.

Volunteers assisting with the Pass a Loutre project included representatives of CRCL, Restore the Earth Foundation, For the Bay (San Francisco non-profit group founded by Louisiana natives), Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Bethesda Green (Maryland), Global Green (New Orleans) and Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration.


“We are excited about this Gulf Saver restoration solution and look forward to educating volunteers from all over the nation about the importance of our coastal wetland habitats”, said Natalie Snider, Science Director of CRCL.

Pass a Loutre WMA encompasses 115,000 acres and is the oldest wildlife management area in Louisiana. Visit www.wlf.la.gov for information on LDWF’s coastal wildlife management areas.

Funding for phase one of the Pass a Loutre project was provided by For the Bayou, Benefit the Bayou, Bethesda Green, the Ittleson Foundation, the Coypu Foundation, State Farm and individual donors. For more information on the Gulf Saver Bag project, visit www.gulfsaversolutions.com. 

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

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