Release Date: 02/19/2007

A memorandum of understanding signed today by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the State Association of Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Councils and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) provides landowners the tools to help restore Louisiana's grassland wildlife habitat.

"The long-term goal of these efforts is soil conservation, improved water quality and wildlife species survival for years to come," said LDWF Secretary Bryant O. Hammett, Jr.  "I applaud the efforts of everyone in the partnership and extend the invitation to landowners to take advantage of what we are setting in motion today."

Grassland habitat deterioration is one of the leading causes for the decline of several once common species of wildlife including bobwhite quail and Eastern meadowlarks.  Restoration of grassland habitat is key to efforts to restore populations of grassland dependent wildlife.  Significant grassland habitat loss has occurred across Louisiana, particularly in the coastal prairie and longleaf pine ecosystems.  One of the largest impediments to restoration of grassland systems in Louisiana is lack of the specialized equipment needed to plant native grasses and wildflowers.

"This partnership makes available a combination of technical assistance and specialized equipment for landowners interested in restoring this needed wildlife habitat," said Don Gohmert, NCRS state conservationist.

The no-till grassland drills purchased for the project are specialized agricultural implements designed to plant the delicate native grass seed.  LDWF will be providing the grassland drills and the State Association of RC&D Councils has agreed to rent the drills to landowners across the state.  NRCS will provide on-farm technical assistance with drill operation and planning seed mixtures and establishment techniques associated with the work.

Funding for the project was provided by the LDWF (Wildlife and Natural Heritage Trust), the La. Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Northwest La. Chapter of Quail Unlimited and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (State Wildlife Grants Program).

From left to right: Don Gohmert (State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service), U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander (District 5), LDWF Secretary Bryant O. Hammett, Jr., and La. Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils President Collette Anzalone.

From left to right posing in front of a new no-till grassland drill: Lloyd Hoover and R.D. Low with Quail Unlimited, LDWF Secretary Bryant O. Hammett, Jr., and Don Gohmert.

For more information contact: Fred Kimmel, LDWF, ph. 225-765-2355 or Scott Edwards, Acadiana RC&D Coordinator, ph. 337-896-0362, ext. 3.