BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — A new partnership will create additional winter wetland habitat to benefit waterfowl and waterfowl hunters near five key Wildlife Management Areas in Mississippi.
Delta Waterfowl is working with the Mississippi Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks on a pilot program that will offer incentive payments to landowners to flood their fields this fall and keep water on them through at least February 2019. The goal is to hold more wintering waterfowl in Mississippi.
“This program demonstrates to Mississippi duck hunters that both of the partners are invested in providing important wetland habitat on the local scale, while focusing on building upon existing public-managed wetland areas that are available for public hunting,” said Houston Havens, waterfowl program coordinator for the MDWFP.
The program targets the following WMAs in the Mississippi Delta: Sunflower, Twin Oaks, Lake George, Mahannah and Howard Miller. Landowners within five miles of these WMAs are eligible for incentive payments to maintain 4 to 18 inches of water on harvested, untilled crop fields, as well as on managed moist-soil wetlands with natural vegetation.
“The habitat provided through this program will be an addition to the overall habitat complex around Mississippi WMAs, providing benefits to waterfowl, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent wildlife,” Havens said. “The timing of the practices will provide habitat not only during the waterfowl hunting season, but also during periods before and after the hunting season when shallow, managed wetland habitat is typically very limited in Mississippi.”
Landowners are compensated to keep water on crop fields because the practice causes a reduced yield the following year, explained Joel Brice, vice president of waterfowl and hunter recruitment programs for Delta Waterfowl.
“Holding water on harvested rice and soybean fields will help keep ducks from overflying Mississippi,” Brice said. “We’re excited to partner with MDWFP to put water on the landscape for the benefit of all duck hunters.”
For more information, contact Joel Brice at (701) 222-8857 ext. 225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delta Waterfowl is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.