Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Louisiana
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Louisiana Project

Variability of Waterbird Food Abundance Due to Agricultural Management Practices Within Rice Fields and Crawfish Ponds of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas

August 2012 - May 2015


Participating Agencies

  • Gulf Coast Joint Venture

Rice and crawfish aquaculture are dominant land uses in southwestern Louisiana and they encompass over 300,000 acres in the region. Wintering, breeding, and migrating waterbirds use these habitats extensively, however, little is known about food availability and how food availability varies according to land management practices. This study will evaluate the abundance, biomass, and species composition of fish, crawfish, and aquatic macroinvertebrates in the water column within selected rice and crawfish fields of southwestern Louisiana and southeast Texas. Collections will be made monthly for one year and the effects of land management practices on food availability will be deterimined. In addition, we will develop a classification system of rice and crawfish ponds based upon vegetation structure and density, water depths, and other variables to better understand the temporal distribution of habitat types.