The Louisiana Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) is a good source for information about the most damaging invasive species in the state and the tools for managing them. The WAP, created by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), is essentially a blueprint for the LDWF and its conservation partners to develop and implement management actions to conserve fish and wildlife species and the habitats on which they depend. The current Louisiana WAP was published in 2015, and revisions to this document were published in 2019 (LA WAP 2015 and Revisions 2019).
Because invasive species are a major threat to native wildlife and their habitats, an entire chapter of the Louisiana WAP is devoted to this topic (LA WAP Chapter 6). The chapter provides sources of general information, laws and regulations, and the identification and control of invasive species. More specific to our state, Section C of Chapter 6 includes a list of invasive species known to occur in Louisiana that have, or are likely to have, impacts on native wildlife or their habitats. These species are classified into four different tiers defined by degree of invasiveness. Tier I species are defined as “currently causing severe or widespread negative impacts on wildlife or natural communities in Louisiana”. Tier II species are “currently causing moderately negative impacts on wildlife or natural communities in Louisiana”. Invasive plants classified as Tiers III or IV species are currently deemed to be having less impact on native species and their habitats. Tier III species may currently occur in the state, but have no known or anticipated significant or moderate impact on native wildlife or natural communities. Tier IV species are not known to occur in the state, but are deemed to have the potential to invade in the near future.
The next section of the chapter after the table is devoted to general management actions LDWF has identified to counter the threats from invasive species. More specific information for each of the Tier I species follows this section. A general description of each Tier I species’ native habitat, means of introduction, specific threats, and current distribution within Louisiana are given. The current range of distribution in Louisiana is presented in map form. Research needs and management actions are listed as well.
The Louisiana WAP is an important document for information about invasive species. The document must be updated every ten years beginning with approval of the original plan in 2005. Since the current WAP was published in 2015, look for the next update to appear in 2025.