Habitat needed for wildlife displaced by oil spill - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Habitat needed for wildlife displaced by oil spill

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -Rice farmers are being asked to do their part to help provide a place for wildlife that may be displaced from the oil spill.

Rice fields will be ready for harvesting within the next several weeks. And at that point, they can become useful for wildlife life that might otherwise be searching for a place to stay because of the oil spill. Farmer Kevin Berken says they have come up with a plan for farmers to flood their fields after harvest. "To provide the habitat that would not normally be there, keeping the water in the fields in order that the ducks and geese and other wildlife and water fowl for their habitat that's no longer going to be out on the coastline."

The quickly put together program benefits farmers and wildlife especially wildlife that could be hurt by the oil spill. There's a financial benefit and Berken says it's easy for farmers to participate. "All they have to do is go to the local national resource conservation office and sign up. "Sign up for the payments in order to be able to receive money to close up their fields to pump on their fields to provide habitat for the waterfowl and the wildlife that wouldn't normally do in order that we can to offset the problems of the anticipated oil spill coming onshore into our coastline," said Berken.

Economic development officials and community leaders held a breakfast in Welsh to show appreciation for farmers for their contribution to the community which may soon include providing additional habitat for wildlife in danger.

The Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Initiative is a collaborative effort between the USA Rice Federation in Washington and Louisiana Rice Growers.

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