Fighting Bayou is one of America’s finest duck hunting clubs, located 17 miles northeast of Greenwood. It is part of a major flyway for migrating ducks and geese. Its wetlands, some of which are created by flooded rice fields, are a favorite stop for wintering waterfowl.
“We became involved in the farming business because the ducks on this property were extraordinary,” stated Billy Van Devender, a club member. Working and operating a farm was a lot of work, but Van Devender and the other members enjoyed caring for the property and hunting ducks on cool winter days.
In 1997, the club applied for the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), now called Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE). Although the stewardship has been a blessing for migrating birds each winter, the program’s value to ducks and geese could be improved.
Fighting Bayou members recognized that this land would be a good candidate for the WRP (now called Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)). The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can pay Mississippi landowners for a perpetual conservation easement. WRP participants receive technical and financial assistance for habitat restoration and improvement projects. The club enrolled 2,895.1 acres of soybean land in the WRP.
NRCS and the landowner are required to agree on a management plan for WRP property (now called Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)). Fighting Bayou’s plan divides the property into shallow wetlands, green tree reservoirs, and bottomland hardwood forests. Financial assistance from the WRP paid for reforestation and wetland restoration.
“We’re excited that we can keep the property as long as we want without putting more money into it. Without the WRP (now called Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)), we would not have as good of habitat,” explains Van Devender.
Read through the stories of 12 landowners and the success that the conservation easements had.
Nash Buckingham’s Beaver Dam was a duck club organized in 1882. It was the property of the Owen family. Nash Buckingham, a renowned and well-loved outdoor writer, frequented Beaver Dam. The conservation easement is approximately 159 acres in the historic Mississippi River Alluvial Floodplain in Tunica County. Tunica County is mostly agricultural, producing cotton, corn,
The Caulk Island property is in the southeast portion of Desha County, Arkansas, on the east side (Mississippi Side) of the Mississippi River and the unprotected (batture) side of the Mississippi River mainline levee system. Lake Whittington forms part of the boundary of the island. This lake, formerly Bolivar Bend, was cut off from the
Coles Creek Land and Timber Company is located approximately 10 miles north of Natchez, Mississippi. This 1,355-acre tract is in a strategic area of the Mississippi Flyway. About 500 acres were reforested to bottomland hardwoods in 2001. Coles Creek’s owners strive to provide diverse habitat types to ensure the needs of all animals, not just
The Dead Tiger Mitigation Bank was organized to compensate for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits for unavoidable negative impacts to wetlands and streams. The bank is located within the buffer zone of the Stennis Space Center. The buffer zone restricts residential and commercial development, which will aid the bank’s long-term success. This mitigation bank
The late Grey Ferris of Vicksburg donated a 2,114-acre conservation easement with bottomland hardwoods and a small portion of pasture. The Mississippi Land Trust and Ferris negotiated the conservation easement terms together. This binding agreement prohibits any development not compatible with a relatively natural preserve. The property’s roads, walking paths, and a small shed can