Species of the Month
Description ADULT MALE Has shiny green-blue crown and mane, adorned with white lines. Chin and throat are white, extending onto face as white lines. Breast is maroon, flanks are buff, and back is greenish; these three areas are separated by white lines. Note red eye and red at base of bill. ADULT FEMALE Mainly brownish, darkest on back and head. Breast and flanks are marked with fine pale streaklike spots. Note the white spectacle around the eye and white on throat and margin of gray bill. JUVENILE Resembles adult female, but plumage is duller and patterns less striking.
Habitat Associated with forested areas, typically flooded valleys, well-wooded swamps and the like; requires areas that are flooded during the breeding season. Overhunting and habitat destruction brought virtual extinction by end of 19th century (sadly, a familiar story). However, hunting restrictions and conservation measures have allowed population to recover to roughly 1,000,000 birds.
Range Southwest, Southeast, Eastern Canada, New England, California, Rocky Mountains, Texas, Northwest, Plains, Great Lakes, Western Canada, Florida, Mid-Atlantic
Discussion Attractive dabbling duck. Males are bizarrely colorful and instantly recognizable; even the duller females are well-marked. Flies on rapid wingbeats and is surprisingly maneuverable through forested terrain. Gregarious outside breeding season, but seldom seen in sizeable flocks. Nests in tree holes and responds well to introduction of artificial nest boxes; often perches on branches. Feeds on acorns, fruits, and invertebrates. Sexes are dissimilar.
Info from enature.com
2009 Fall Symposium
The 2009 Fall Symposium was held on August 13th and 14th at the Estuarine Habitats and Coastal Fisheries Center in Lafayette. Nearly 100 scientists, managers, educators and students met to discuss some of the leading topics in the world of natural resource management, renew old friendships and professional acquaintances and make new ones.
We heard 12 student presentations on recent research topics including colonial waterbird nesting on barrier islands, grassland birds, lichens, forested wetlands, waterfowl, shorebirds, parasites on river shrimp and coastal marshes.
Focus Session Presentations
Alexander J. Peret of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries presenting Giant Salvinia (Salvina molesta) in Louisiana Waterways - A Multiple Management Approach.
Giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta) is an invasive aquatic floating fern native to South America. It has been considered by some to be the world’s worst aquatic weed due to its capability of doubling in biomass every 7-10 days. Giant salvinia was first documented in Louisiana in 1998 and has since threatened the state’s freshwater natural resources. It is a difficult weed to manage not only because of its high growth rate but also because its location can be altered quickly by changes in wind and current direction, causing areas that were previously clear to become clogged in just hours. Managers with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have been experimenting with several control methods over the past few years. Chemical control through the use of foliar and injected herbicides is only moderately effective due to the physical characteristics of the plant, and can be expensive. However, whole water body treatments have been successful when appropriate and economically feasible. Mechanical removal of giant salvinia is effective, but is extremely labor intensive and not efficient. Grass carp will not eat the plant because it makes them sick, but a potentially effective biological control method is currently being developed. Giant salvinia weevils have been shown to significantly decrease the biomass of the plant over time. Though it could take several years to become effective, giant salvinia weevil introductions, along with continued chemical and mechanical control efforts, may allow us to regain control of our freshwater resources.
Brac Salyers of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries presenting
The Discovery of, and Rapid Response to, a WIld Population of Tilapia in Port Sulfur, Louisiana
Whether it’s by displacing native species, altering or destroying habitats, over competition for resources, or excessive reproduction, aquatic invasive species are becoming a much greater and more obvious problem across the country, especially here in Louisiana. South Louisiana’s sub-tropical climate provides us with longer growing seasons, milder winters, and the resulting opportunity for many exotic species to become established here that wouldn’t be able to survive in most other parts of the country.
In early 2009, LDWF biologists found a thriving, reproducing population of tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) in Plaquemines Parish, around the town of Port Sulphur, LA. For many weeks following this discovery, biologists sampled every connecting, adjacent, and nearby waterway to try to figure out how far this population had spread. Once the range of exactly where these fish were and were not found was established, the Secretary of LDWF, Mr. Robert Barham, issued an immediate closure of all commercial and recreational fishing in the area. A rapid response plan was quickly developed to attempt an eradication of all the infected waterbodies. This presentation will discuss the efforts of that rapid response plan, along with the results, and future plans for the areas within the fishing closure of the Port Sulphur community.
Scott Edwards of USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service presenting
Cogongrass: Biology, Distribution, Impacts and Control Strategies for Louisiana
Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is an invasive noxious grass that spreads by aggressive underground rhizomes and light fluffy seed. Unchecked this grass will completely dominate and displace desired species in non-cultivated sites, including pastures, fallow fields, forests, parks, highway and railroad rights-of-way. Cogongrass will not persist in frequently cultivated areas, but once established it is difficult to eliminate. Mowing or burning removes above ground vegetation, which opens the plant canopy for emergence of seedlings and new stems from rhizomes. Although single mechanical treatments are not effective, sequential combinations of mechanical and chemical treatments applied in a persistent manner can eliminate a cogongrass infestation. Various local, state and federal programs have had varying rates of success suppressing the spread of cogongrass across the southeastern U.S. This presentation will discuss the basic biology of the plant, mode and extent of infestation, control options and examples of programs available for cogongrass management in Louisiana.
Hallie Dozier of LSU AgCenter, School of Renewable Natural Resources presenting Introduction to Invasive Species in Louisiana: What We Have, What We Don't Want and What We're Doing About it .
Increased transport of non-native plant materials and animals promotes invasion of natural areas by non-native species. Invasive populations of non-native species are considered to be second only to ecosystem fragmentation in terms of the threat posed to natural areas. Animals and plants are introduced intentionally for a variety of reasons, including agricultural, fiber, ornamental purposes, and even the exotic pet trade. While most introduced species never cause problems or become invasive, Louisiana currently faces the challenges posed by several plant and animal species that now call Louisiana home. The economic impact of these species from degradation of natural areas as well as the cost of their management and control is potentially enormous. Learn the latest about spread, threat and management efforts in Louisiana for cogon grass, nutria, Chinese privet and others.
The social Thursday evening had over 40 participants that enjoyed a wonderful jambalaya dinner, great company which followed with award presentations and announcement of scholarship recipients.
An important part of LAPB's mission is mentoring our young professionals. Part of this mentoring is the awarding of prizes for best student presentations given at the annual LAPB Fall Symposium. Student presentations are judged on the scientific soundness of the research as well as the quality of the presentation. A Best Poster award is also given out to students and non-students who have submitted a poster to the Poster Session. Lastly, LAPB gives out an award to an outstanding publication in Wildlife, Fisheries, General Conservation, and Popular categories.