State Wildlife Grant Program in Louisiana

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program was created by federal legislation in November 2001. The SWG program was established "for the development and implementation of programs for the benefit of wildlife and their habitat, including species that are not hunted or fished”, with the goal of preventing species from being federally listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The inclusion of species that are not hunted or fished is one crucial aspect of the SWG program, as many of these species previously had no existing source of funding. In fact, the SWG program has now become the primary federal funding source for non-game conservation nationwide. Another crucial aspect of the SWG program is the focus on proactive conservation measures designed to preclude future ESA listings. This is important, as conservation is often more effective and efficient before species undergo declines sufficient to warrant ESA action.

Congress stipulated that each state fish and wildlife agency that wished to participate in the SWG program develop a Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. In response, LDWF developed a comprehensive planning document to establish conservation needs and guide the use of SWG grant funds for the next 10 years. This document, known as the Wildlife Action Plan (WAP), was submitted for approval to the National Advisory Acceptance Team in October 2005 and subsequently approved in December. The WAP is the roadmap for non-game conservation in Louisiana, and must be reviewed and revised every ten years to insure that it remains an effective tool for conservation planning and implementation. For more information see the Louisiana Wildlife Action Plan page.

The SWG program is funded by annual Congressional appropriations. The United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) apportions these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies based on the land area and population of each state. Since the inception of the SWG program, the state of Louisiana has received $10,678,752 in federal SWG funding, with an apportionment of $708,882 in fiscal year 2011-2012. State Wildlife Grants can be for either implementation of the WAP, or for planning purposes. Planning grants must directly support efforts to modify, revise, or update the WAP; implementation grants encompass all other eligible activities, including the collection of biological data to support planning efforts.

Louisiana has funded 106 projects through the State Wildlife Grants program to date. Funded SWG projects have included biological inventories, ecological research projects, habitat assessment, habitat management, and the development and maintenance of databases.  A wide range of species have benefited from SWG funding in Louisiana, including the Louisiana Black Bear, Bald Eagle, Whooping Crane, Swallow-Tailed Kite, Alligator Snapping Turtle, Mississippi Diamondbacked Terrapin, Calcasieu Painted Crawfish, Louisiana Pearlshell Mussel, and Painted Bunting. For more information on completed and ongoing grants see the Louisiana State Wildlife Grant Projects page.

State Wildlife Grant proposals are accepted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) on an annual basis in the spring, and include projects developed by LDWF personnel, non-governmental organizations, and universities. State Wildlife Grant proposals are reviewed by LDWF's SWG Committee, consisting of 17 biologists, including representatives from both the Office of Wildlife and Office of Fisheries.

For more information about the State Wildlife Grants Program in Louisiana, contact SWG Coordinator Sam Holcomb (sholcomb@wlf.la.gov).