New Workshop for Coastal Wetland Wildlife Managers

Created by the McGraw Center for Conservation Leadership and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

One hundred years ago, wildlife biologists began determining which plant species provided food and cover for ducks and geese and then how to manage coastal wetlands to promote those plants. Within decades, that knowledge was the basis for managing water levels, water salinity, fire, and land acquisition on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. By the end of the last century, that knowledge also was being used to improve habitat for wading birds, shorebirds, and other associated species habitat and also in efforts to combat coastal wetland loss.

Today, wildlife biologists are facing new challenges as they begin to determine which plant species are best at increasing marsh elevation and how to manage coastal wetlands to improve elevation while also improving wildlife habitat. A workshop to facilitate those efforts will be held Tuesday through Thursday, May 22-24 2018 at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southwest Louisiana. The workshop is limited to 25 attendees; it is open to employees of governmental or non-governmental organizations who manage coastal wetlands for wildlife on the Atlantic, Gulf or Pacific coasts. Each day will consist of classroom discussions and field investigations. The McGraw Center for Conservation Leadership will cover the costs of air travel and meals during the workshop for all participants; the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will provide lodging at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.


Scholarships are available to cover the costs of airfare, food, and lodging for participants who work for governmental or non-governmental organizations and who manage coastal wetlands for wildlife. To apply for a scholarship, send a letter of application (1-page maximum) and resume (1-page maximum) to with the subject line “coastal workshop” before 5:00 pm (CDT) 31 January 2018. The letter should also indicate the applicant’s willingness to provide a 40-minute overview of coastal wetland management in their area. If willing, the letter also should include a short paragraph about the overview. Three such talks, ideally from outside the Gulf Coast, will be included in the workshop.

About the McGraw Center for Conservation Leadership

The McGraw Center for Conservation Leadership is the nation’s leading advocate for creative and entrepreneurial thought in conservation. Nonpartisan and not for profit, the Center’s work enables informed strategic decisions rooted in economic efficiencies and science. The Center is an incubator and steward for economic efficiencies and entrepreneurial thought in conservation. The Center was born from the realization that more than $20 billion in taxpayer and private sector dollars set aside for conservation each year can be expended more efficiently. The Center is a natural outgrowth of the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, created more than 50 years ago by the visionary conservationist Max McGraw, founder of McGraw-Edison Co. The Foundation, headquartered on 1,250 acres in Dundee, Illinois, aims to secure the future of hunting, fishing and land management through science, demonstration, education and communication.

About Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries manages almost 800,000 acres of coastal habitat; some are swamps or barrier islands but the vast majority are coastal marshes and associated ponds. Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge borders the Gulf of Mexico for 26.5 miles and extends six miles inland. When the Rockefeller Foundation donated the property in 1919, the refuge encompassed approximately 86,000 acres of coastal marsh and ponds but beach erosion has reduced that to 71,000 acres. Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge is nationally and internationally known for its pioneering wildlife, fisheries, and wetlands research. Since 1955, research staff and collaborators have published more than 350 research articles in peer-reviewed journals. Specific research topics vary but generally focus on better understanding coastal wildlife (game and non-game species), fisheries, and marshlands. Today, the refuge serves as a test site for marsh management strategies to limit saline encroachment, reverse marsh deterioration, and provide productive wildlife habitat. Staff also provides land management guidance to private landowners of marshland, as well as expertise regarding the wise use coastal wetlands and other wildlife and fisheries resources.


John Andrew Nyman, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana State University. Louisiana. Andy is a Professor of wetland wildlife with more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and 25 years of experience working with wildlife managers and wetland restoration agencies.

Susan Adamowicz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Susan is the Land Management Research and Demonstration Biologist stationed at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, Maine. With over 20 years of experience in wetland regulation and restoration, her current work focuses on innovative methods to restore tidal marshes and control invasive plants.

Mike Carloss, Ducks Unlimited, Southern Region – SW Unit. Mike is the Director of Conservation Programs for DU. He retired from the LA. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries as Biologist Director in 2014 with 28 years of experience, much of it dealing with managing coastal refuges and WMAs. He also worked several years for LA State Parks as a park manager and for NRCS working with coastal restoration.

Sammy L. King, Leader, USGS Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Adjunct Associate Professor, LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources. For 25 years, Sammy has worked in floodplains, rice fields, crawfish ponds, or coastal marshes and worked with Whooping and Sandhill Cranes, songbirds, King Rails or other secretive marshbirds. He frequently collaborates with hydrologists, landscape ecologists, soil scientists, foresters, etc. He also works closely with state and federal resource management agencies to address current issues and identify emerging issues.

Joseph R. Marty, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge. Joe is a biologist supervisor and the research coordinator a Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge. He recently completed his Ph.D. at Mississippi State University where he studied waterfowl ecology and wetland management. He is developing a coastal wetland research program with studies investigating accretion and subsidence, plant biomass and community response to vegetative manipulations, and mottled duck conservation and ecology.

Jena Moon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Gulf Coast Zone, Texas. Jena is a Zone Biologist for the Inventory and Monitoring Program and has more than 12 years of experience on the Texas Gulf Coast with the USFWS. She specializes in wetland and waterfowl ecology within the coastal environment, with much of her experience being focused on active management and manipulation of wetland vegetation for waterfowl food resources and mottled duck management.

Phillip “Scooter” Trosclair, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Scooter is the Program Manager at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge. He has 25 years working at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge. He also is President of Cameron Parish Gravity Drainage District #5 and serves on the Chenier Plain Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for the Southwest Louisiana region.