Nutria Incentive Program Ends

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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' (LDWF) 2004-2005 Coastwide Nutria Control Program season concluded March 31, 2005 with 311 participants harvesting 297,535 nutria.

The goal of the program, funded by the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) is to reduce or eliminate damage to Louisiana’s wetlands caused by nutria by increasing the annual harvest to 400,000 nutria. To increase the harvest, registered participants received a $4 incentive payment for each nutria tail brought to official collection locations along Louisiana’s coast.

The program area was bounded on the north by Interstate 10 from the Texas line to Baton Rouge, Interstate 12 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, and I-10 from Slidell to the Mississippi line.

This year’s harvest was a decrease from last season’s harvest of 332,596 nutria harvested by 346 participants. However, the majority of this deficit can be attributed to Hurricane Ivan, which caused high floodwaters in Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes and is believed to help reduce the nutria population. The harvest within these parishes was down by 47,677 and 9,000 nutria respectively.

Information was collected from each participant to determine the method of take, carcass use, as well as harvest date and location.

The majority of the nutria were harvested in the southeastern portion of the state again this year, which is where most wetland damage caused by nutria is located.

The largest harvest occurred in Terrebonne Parish with 81,135 nutria and the second largest harvest happened in Plaquemines Parish with 39,043 nutria.

Other parishes with significant harvests were Lafourche (32,411 nutria), St. Martin (31,656 nutria) and St. Mary (20,940 nutria) Parishes.

LDWF is assessing the amount and severity of the nutria damage for 2005 through aerial surveys conducted in April and May. A final report on the 2004-2005 incentive program and aerial damage survey will be presented to the CWPPRA Task force in July and available on the website