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Louisiana Feral Swine Control Pilot Project

Points of Contact

John Pitre
State Resource Conservationist  
USDA/NRCS
3737 Government Street,
Alexandria, LA 71302, USA
318-473-7774

Walter Cotton
Supervisory Wildlife Biologist
USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services
368 Century Tel Drive
Monroe, LA 71203, USA
318-343-6499
 

Project Area

The Louisiana Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (LA FSCP project area consists of three pilot control areas that total approximately six million acres (see attached map).  Approximately 85 percent of those acres consist of privately-owned land with 38 percent in forest land, 30 percent in crop and livestock production, and 17 percent classified as other on forestry inventory tables, which includes marsh, coastal prairie, and range.  The remaining 15 percent of the LA project area is equally divided into publicly-owned forest land and publicly-owned marsh, prairie, and range primarily as Wildlife Management Areas.

Pilot Area #1 includes Red River, Natchitoches, Winn, Grant, and Rapides Parishes and consists of 2.9 million acres of private land and 533,000 acres of public land.  Private land use is divided into approximately 2.1 million acres of forest land, 613,000 acres of crop and livestock production, and 211,000 acres classified as other.

Pilot Area #2 includes Madison, Tensas, and Concordia Parishes and consists of approximately 1.1 million acres of private land and 194,000 acres of public land.  Private land use is divided into approximately 738,000 acres of crop and livestock production, 192,000 acres of forest land, and 182,000 acres classified as other. 

Pilot Area #3 includes Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes and consists of 1.5 million acres of private land and 251,000 acres of public land.  Private land use is divided into approximately 542,000 acres of crop and livestock production, 227,000 acres of forest land, and 733,000 acres of marsh, coastal prairie, and areas classified as other.

The project area crosses at least 15 watersheds based on the 12 Digit HUC classification.  There are portions of nine scenic waterways in the proposed project area that were established for preserving, protecting, reclaiming, and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauty, and ecological regimes of these free-flowing LA streams.

Louisiana Feral Swine Control Pilot Project Map

Hiring of Trapping Technicians

NRCS funds are available for partners to hire technicians to assist with feral swine trapping efforts under the supervision of APHIS.

  • 4 full time Partner Trapping Technicians (2 in Pilot Area 1, 1 in Pilot Area 2, 1 in Pilot Area 3) 
    • Assist APHIS WS, scout, survey, monitor, bait, and trap feral swine on private lands
    • Trap management including video monitoring traps, baiting trapping locations at appropriate intervals (determined by surveillance) to build high use, monitoring baited trap sites for advantageous times in triggering gates at appropriate times to apprehend the majority of sounder, and coordination on timely depopulation

Estimated Equipment Needed

NRCS funds may be used for the equipment necessary for the pilot project. Further questions about the equipment needed, the amount, and use of the equipment should be directed to the point of contract for the project. It is expected to that the following equipment will be crucial for the implementation of the project with the pilot area:

  • Traps
    • 6 Remotely Controlled Corral-Type Traps
    • To be used by partner trapping technicians or trained landowners
    • Could remain in the control of partner for landowner or organization use after the life of the project
    • Traps purchased by NRCS/SWCD clients through expanded landowner agreements will remain with the landowner once the agreement duration expires
  • Cell service to monitor traps
  • Computers
  • Remotely accessed trail cameras
  • Drones
  • Bait
  • Various tools for trap set-up, maintenance, and removal
  • Vehicles which may include ATV/UTV and trailers

Monitoring/Evaluation Requirements of Partner

Due to the new nature of the pilot program, it will be crucial to collect, monitor, and evaluate data regarding feral swine populations, agricultural damage, and environmental concerns. For this project, partners are expected to:

  • Conduct initial monitoring and surveys to assess a baseline of damage caused by feral swine to serve as a baseline for evaluation of progress
  • Monitor via field visits, trail cameras, drone, and communication with landowners
  • The survey will be administered to landowners in the Pilot Areas
  • Monitoring of feral swine high use areas
  • Conducting pre-baiting activities as needed
  • After trapping, monitoring will determine if feral swine are still using an area
  • Agriculture crops damage/yields will be part of the before and after survey information and will be monitored in the project areas following control efforts to determine success

Anticipated Partnerships within the Project

It is important that the partner be able to work with the below entities, as well as state and local governments that work in the pilot areas.

  • Local SWCDs
  • Kisatchie National Forest, LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and US Fish and Wildlife Service for trapping and control efforts
  • USGS Aquatic and Wetland Research Center
  • LSU AgCenter
  • National Wild Turkey Federation

Outreach/Education Expectations

Education and outreach will be essential aspects of the project to ensure landowners are educated on the need for removing feral swine, approved techniques, and methods for controlling feral swine populations. Partners are expected to assist with outreach and education activities in the following ways:

  • Conduct outreach for enrollment to support APHIS WS aerial gunning efforts
  • Conduct outreach and education workshops so the public understands why and how the LA Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program will be conducted.
  • Training landowners who qualify through expanded landowner agreements with SWCDs. 

Additional Partner Requirements

  • Support and facilitate with APHIS WS helicopter operations for the APHIS WS aerial gunning efforts via outreach for enrollment, preparation of GPS coordinated maps, providing shapefiles of targeted private lands, monitoring of feral swine high use areas, and conducting pre-baiting activities as needed
  • Develop expanded landowner contracts for specific tasks a landowner has qualifications to successfully implement (such as trapping); as a means to potentially provide direct financial assistance to agricultural producers in pilot areas. If this option is utilized, a state-wide cost list would be a required deliverable