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NWF Awards Grant to LWF for RCW Project

July 7, 2004 12:00 AM

Grant will help restore endangered red-cockaded woodpecker populations

Washington, D.C. - The Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF), a conservation education and advocacy organization working to restore, preserve and develop wildlife resources in Louisiana, has been awarded a grant from the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) Species Recovery Fund.  The LWF, in association with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' Natural Heritage Program and the Louisiana Forestry Association, will use the grant to purchase and install artificial nest cavity inserts for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW).  The Species Recovery Fund provides grants to organizations working with local communities to provide direct, on-the-ground benefits to imperiled species.

"Installing these artificial nest cavity inserts is sort of like sustaining a human neighborhood by remodeling old, dilapidated homes," said Randy Lanctot, Executive Director of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.  "In this case, we will be remodeling RCW 'homes' in the woodpeckers' neighborhood."

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is one of eight Species Recovery Fund grant recipients this year selected from over 200 applications submitted by conservation organizations and individuals throughout the world.  The Species Recovery Fund is an integral part of NWF's national effort that seeks to raise awareness of and improve conditions for endangered species.

"A critical component of conservation involves people taking action on a local level to protect the wildlife and wild places they know and love," said Ron Ohrel, NWF's Species Recovery Fund manager.  "These grants provide the means for local organizations to implement innovative, community-based wildlife conservation efforts that will provide direct benefits for wildlife."

A shortage of old-growth pine forests is the main cause of the red-cockaded woodpecker's decline.  RCW's only use the boles or trunks of mature live pine trees, many with red heart fungus disease, to excavate their nest cavities, but these trees have become scarce.  The $5000 grant issued by NWF will be used to install 39 artificial nest cavity inserts in 16 RCW clusters on the Alexander State Forest to help compensate for the lack of available habitat that threatens this interesting bird.

"The RCW's  peculiar nesting habit dictates that the species' population will always be relatively small and vulnerable," said Lanctot. "But this very specific habitat requirement also presents opportunities to apply innovative conservation management techniques such as our project of providing artificial nest cavity inserts."

The project is being managed by Eric Baka with the LDWF's Natural Heritage Program and will also include landowner workshops hosted by the Louisiana Forestry Association to educate forest owners who desire to manage for RCWs on their property. 

Protecting wildlife through education and action since 1936, the National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization creating solutions that balance the needs of people and wildlife now and for future generations.



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