The Army Corps of Engineers is the steward of the lands and waters at Corps water resources projects. Its Natural Resource Management Mission is to manage and conserve those natural resources, consistent with ecosystem management principles, while providing quality public outdoor recreation experiences to serve the needs of present and future generations.
In all aspects of natural and cultural resources management, the Corps promotes awareness of environmental values and adheres to sound environmental stewardship, protection, compliance and restoration practices. The Corps manages for long-term public access to, and use of, the natural resources in cooperation with other Federal, State, and local agencies as well as the private sector.
The Corps integrates the management of diverse natural resource components such as fish, wildlife, forests, wetlands, grasslands, soil, air, and water with the provision of public recreation opportunities. The Corps conserves natural resources and provides public recreation opportunities that contribute to the quality of American life.
Long Term Objective of Natural Resource Management on Bayou Bodcau Dam and Reservoir.
A diversity of vegetation and habitat types exists at Bayou Bodcau. The interspersed forest, agricultural, fallow agricultural lands, and aquatic resources provide adequate, reasonably productive habitat for wildlife and fish species. Wildlife resources are managed in accordance with The Fish & Wildlife Coordination Act (P.L. 85- 624) and Project Operation- Management of Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation at Civil Water Resources Projects (ER 1130-2-400) whereby resources are utilized in a multiple use concept for future generations to enjoy their natural heritage. Non-consumptive management practices will receive equal consideration with practices for consumptive game and fish management.
Bayou Bodcau Dam & Reservoir timberlands are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in accordance with Public Law 86-717. The law states that project lands “shall be developed and maintained so as to encourage, promote, and assure fully adequate and dependable future resources of readily available timber through sustained yield programs, reforestation, and accepted conservation practices, and to increase the value of such areas for conservation, recreation, and other beneficial uses compatible with other uses of the projects. Project lands will also provide for the protection and development of forest or other vegetative cover and the establishment and maintenance of other conservation measures so as to yield the maximum benefit and otherwise improve such areas.”
White-tailed Deer: Bodcau WMA supports a moderate to high population of White-tailed Deer. Deer browse surveys indicate a population that is optimal to timber management and hunting. Deer habitat is enhanced by planting food plots, conducting timber thinning, prescribed burning, wildlife opening maintenance and reforestation. Herd dynamics and health is monitored through periodic sampling, bag checks and annual surveys.
Eastern Wild Turkey: LDWF has made major efforts to re-establish the Eastern Wild Turkey. Efforts in the1960’s and 1970’s brought only short-term success due to low stocking numbers. In 1985 a major restocking effort released 73 wild turkeys on and adjacent to Bodcau Wildlife Management Area. Turkey populations were allowed to increase until the first hunting season in 1991. Presently, the population of approximately 250 Eastern Wild Turkeys is stable or increasing. It is not uncommon to see late winter flocks containing more than 25 birds.
Turkey hunting is allowed in the spring (March/April). Hunting efforts are monitored through a self clearing permit system and are restricted to two gobblers per season. Periodic flooding in the reservoir area hampers turkey population growth. Flooding destroys nests, covers valuable habitat and concentrates predators. Over 3,000 acres of intensively managed turkey habitat was destroyed by a tornado on April 23, 2000. Efforts are being made to improve nesting and brood habitat by maintaining food plots, natural openings, and travel corridors. Control burning and chemicals are used to enhance and maintain favorable year round habitat. The National Wild Turkey Federation provides funds to USACE and LDWF to offset the cost of these projects.
Squirrels: Bodcau WMA contains the largest tract of publicly owned hardwood and mixed upland pine/hardwood forest in Northwest Louisiana It supports excellent gray and fox squirrel populations. Squirrel numbers do fluctuate within the normal population cycles. However, even during years when squirrel populations are down, Bodcau WMA still provides excellent squirrel hunting opportunities due to the large amount of squirrel habitat. Hunting is allowed during the entire statewide squirrel season. In an attempt to feature the area as a small game hunting area the modern firearm season for deer has been reduced. It is hoped that the opportunity to squirrel hunt without interference from deer hunters will encourage small game hunting and introduce more youngsters to hunting. The area is also open to hunters choosing to pursue squirrels with dogs. This traditional form of hunting is offered for several weeks in mid-winter. Rabbits: Populations of swamp and cottontail rabbits inhabit Bodcau WMA. Rabbit populations fluctuate within the normal population cycles. The field areas provide excellent opportunities to hunt rabbits, in particular cottontails, with beagles during the hunting season.
Construction of a green tree reservoir makes the impounding of water possible on approximately 1,300 acres of bottomlands near the southern portion of the area. Waterfowl use can be high in years of good acorn production with a variety of duck/waterfowl utilizing the area. The entire area is open to waterfowl hunting. This is one of the largest green-tree reservoirs open to the public. Waterfowl nesting boxes are maintained to enhance resident wood duck populations. Wood ducks or other animals that depend upon tree cavities for protection or reproduction readily accept these boxes. If properly constructed and well erected, they will increase resident wood duck populations since predation, accidents, and deaths due to weather are reduced. Erection of boxes occurs November through January along with annual maintenance.
Upland Game Birds
Quail: The existence of numerous food plots and openings provides quality quail habitat. In addition, the merging of modified timber management practices in the upland forest with management of the fields also provides numerous acres of quail habitat. (Bayou Bodcau offers a bird dog training area that is located on Bodcau Dam Road at the spillway).
The existence of numerous food plots and openings provides quality quail habitat. In addition, the merging of modified timber management practices in the upland forest with management of the fields also provides numerous acres of quail habitat. (Bayou Bodcau offers a bird dog training area that is located on Bodcau Dam Road at the spillway).
Ongoing habitat management and development in the area will continue to provide highly diversified habitat for non-game species. Habitat management plans developed by LDWF personnel will continue to provide wetlands, bottomland hardwoods, upland forests, fallow and early succession stage fields and planted food plots for quality habitat.