Coastal Stewardship – Louisiana

Louisiana Coastal Stewardship Program | Audubon Coastal Bird Survey

King Rail. Photo: Joshua Galicki/Audubon Photography Awards

Coastal Stewardship Program 

In Louisiana, Audubon Delta works with volunteers, landowners, and partner organizations to conserve, restore, protect, and monitor a network of strategic coastal sites for colonial and beach-nesting birds and to help people and birds coexist and thrive in these sensitive coastal areas. 

Beach-nesting birds are among the fastest group of declining birds in North America. In Louisiana, not only are they impacted by a human disturbance along our shorelines, but their habitat is also rapidly disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico. Over the last 80 years, about 1800 miles of coastal forests, marsh, beach, and barrier habitats have been converted to open water in Louisiana. 

With volunteers' help, our staff monitor and steward over 1,100 acres of coastal habitat on Grand Isle, Elmer's Island, and Cameron Parish. This is about 20 percent of the state population of Least Terns and 10 percent of the state population of Wilson's Plovers. Each site is visited regularly  to document reproductive output and adaptively manage posted areas. 

Our strategy to educate communities and beachgoers about beach-nesting birds is multi-pronged. It includes tabling at local festivals to have one-on-one conversations with visitors, providing in-depth education programs at schools and libraries, offering presentations to the public and decision-makers, offering programmatic and conservation information through social media, and talking with beachgoers at nesting sites. 

This program has grown tremendously since its inception in 2012, and we rely on the help of volunteers to continue its success. We need your help! Volunteers can assist us in monitoring birds and ensuring that nesting areas are protected, particularly on busy weekends between April and July. If you spend time in the Grand Isle area or Cameron Parish, please consider sharing a few hours with us to help these declining birds. You save a life each time you help prevent someone from entering a nesting area. 

Audubon Coastal Bird Survey 

The Audubon Coastal Bird Survey is a volunteer-based community science program designed to provide scientists with valuable data for addressing the conservation needs of coastal waterbirds that breed, winter, and migrate along the Gulf Coast. The program, established initially through the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in response to the BP oil spill, already provides valuable population and habitat-use data for various coastal waterbirds, many experiencing population declines. 

Frequent coastal waterbird surveys during critical migratory and winter periods are used to understand how waterbirds use coastal habitats locally and across the northern Gulf of Mexico and will also be consistent with monitoring priorities developed by national waterbird and shorebird conservation plans. In addition, the survey protocols are designed to align with International Shorebird Surveys, the primary tool for understanding migratory shorebird population trends in the Western Hemisphere. 

If you would like to participate, please contact Erik Johnson. 

Click for an interactive map of survey locations.  

Get Involved

Get Involved

Get Involved