Sherburne WMA completes waterfowl habitat improvement

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

RAMAH - Louisiana residents and visitors will have improved and increased opportunity for waterfowl hunting and wildlife watching on the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area.  Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to create additional wetland habitat on the South Farm Unit and open new areas for public waterfowl hunting while providing increased habitat management capabilities.  Project partners gathered Friday at Sherburne, a 44,000-acre tract of forests and wetlands in the Atchafalaya Basin between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, to celebrate the site improvements. “Sherburne is a favorite duck hunting spot in this part of the state,” LDWF secretary Robert Barham said. “Projects such as this improve habitat and expand opportunities for public hunting.” Sherburne provides many metropolitan residents the opportunity to enjoy hunting and other outdoor recreation. The project, which impacts 350 acres, not only improves waterfowl habitat on areas already open to hunting but also opens two new units for pursuing waterfowl. “This project is the first one in the state supported in part by Louisiana DU license plate sales,” DU manager of conservation programs Mike Carloss said. “This gives DU members and supporters a terrific, tangible example of what supporting Ducks Unlimited means for them in Louisiana.” The $440,000 project included a new well, a massive water pump and a series of irrigation pipes to control water levels on portions of the area that are sectioned off by small levees.  The project was dedicated to John W. Barton Sr., a Baton Rouge businessman, outdoorsman, philanthropist, conservationist and Ducks Unlimited supporter who passed away in 2012.  "Projects like this wouldn’t happen without a lot of people like John willing to donate time and money for the preservation of our great outdoors and all the critters that live in it,”  DU volunteer Jeffrey Svendson said.  Sherburne is managed by Wildlife and Fisheries and includes land owned by Wildlife and Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The management area is spread out over portions of Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Martin Parishes.  Partners on the project included LDWF, Ducks Unlimited, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, North American Wetlands Conservation Council, the Irene W. and C. B. Pennington Foundation, friends of John W. Barton Sr., Wetlands America Trust and The Mosaic Company. “By enhancing water delivery to the habitat at Sherburne, the function of the Atchafalaya Basin will be greatly improved," Mosaic Senior Vice President of Phosphate Operations Gary N. "Bo" Davis said. "The health of the basin is crucial as it captures overflow that would otherwise flood the Mississippi River, one of America’s most important waterways.” Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats.  Established in 1937, it has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent.