The Wetlands, Inc.

The Wetlands, Inc., is a model private lands conservation champion, composed of private landowners dedicated to wildlife habitat conservation and management on nearly 2,000 acres in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana.  The acres are enrolled in in four Wetlands Reserve Easements providing quality habitat for over 20 years.  The majority of the area has been reforested, providing critical habitat for several species of forest breeding birds, the recently delisted Louisiana Black Bear, and numerous other wetland dependent wildlife species.  Several hundred acres are actively managed as moist soil habitat.  These are managed seasonally to maintain early successional wetland plant species, providing excellent and abundant food resources for migratory waterfowl and other species of wading birds.

In addition to being champions of wildlife habitat conservation on their own property, The Wetlands, Inc. has allowed other wildlife partners to use their property for numerous educational field days, demonstrations, and research exercises.  The landowners worked directly with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), and Tri-state Conservation Coordination Committee (Tri-C) partnership group to conduct multiple first-entry timber treatments on the property for research and development of the Tool for Assessment and Treatment of Reforested Bottomland Hardwood Stands on Wetland Reserve Easements. 

Timber management treatments on the property include variations of row thinning and cluster thinning.  These treatment techniques are intended to support NRCS and cooperating partners with addressing timber management and wildlife habitat concerns in a manner that is compatible with the goals and objectives of WRP and ACEP-WRE.  Furthermore, these stands are manipulated with the primary goal of creating desired forest conditions for wildlife, such as variations of forest structure and habitat diversity.  The knowledge and information gained from these different treatment techniques completed on The Wetlands, lnc.'s property is now being utilized in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi to maximize wildlife habitat benefits through timber harvest management on wetland reserve easements.  The landowner's enthusiasm and willingness to try different and new conservation techniques with partners will now allow other landowners to improve wildlife habitat on their easement properties.

The Wetlands, Inc. was a deserving recipient of only a few National 2012 JV Conservation Champion awards.  Mr. Ronnie Graham, a landowner member of The Wetlands Inc., has served as past Chairman of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.  He used his expertise to help manage and conserve Louisiana's abundant wildlife resources, including the Lower Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf Coast Plain.  For their multiple contributions as private landowners, The Wetlands, Inc. is a Private Landowner Conservation Champion for the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture.