Delta Waterfowl Partnership with MDWFP Aims to Increase Habitat and Improve Public Hunting

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has announced the renewal of a partnership with Delta Waterfowl to enhance wintering habitat for ducks and geese near key wildlife management areas in the state.

This program, which was initiated in 2018 and is funded by Mississippi state waterfowl stamp revenue, provides incentives for landowners to flood cropland after harvest or moist-soil areas with natural vegetation. The program targets lands within a 5-mile radius of 11 key WMAs in the Mississippi Delta to increase shallow-water habitat for ducks, with a goal of attracting and holding more waterfowl to provide better hunting opportunities.

“We can see clearly how reductions in fall and winter flooding has impacted our ability to attract ducks,” said Houston Havens, waterfowl program coordinator for the MDWFP. “This effort will allow us to use state waterfowl stamp funds to make areas around our WMAs more attractive habitat.”

While post-harvest flooding of rice was historically common in the south, new agricultural practices have made holding water on crop fields less popular in recent years. Many people believe a reduction in flooding has had significant impact on duck distribution in key areas of the wintering grounds.

For this reason, Delta Waterfowl and a number of other conservation partners advocated for new language in the 2018 Farm Bill to prioritize post-harvest flooding in key wintering areas.

“Delta worked hard to include provisions in the Farm Bill to emphasize the value of post-harvest flooding in key wintering areas such as Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and California to make these places more attractive to ducks,” said Joel Brice, vice president of waterfowl and hunter recruitment programs for Delta Waterfowl. “This effort in Mississippi is a demonstration project of the work that we hope the Natural Resources Conservation Service will deliver at larger scales in the coming years.”

Click here for more information on the program.http://www.mdwfp.com/media/257361/website-info-mdwfp_delta-waterfowl-private-land-wetlands-program-2019-20.pdf

For more information, contact Houston Havens of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks at (662) 299-0273 or Houston.Havens@wfp.ms.gov, or Joel Brice of Delta Waterfowl at (701) 222-8857 ext. 5225 or jbrice@deltawaterfowl.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.