Bite marks from beavers are all over the lookout tower at Mollicy Farms.
Day 3 was the final day of our trip and took us to our floodplain restoration project at Mollicy Farms, a 16,000-acre tract of a much larger, 74,000-acre, floodplain bordering the Ouachita River. Driving into the home town of the Duck Dynasty clan was a bit of a let- down – I was hoping to see a few more gigantic beards and camouflage.
That morning we met with a few other TNC staff members, our State Director, two members of our Board of Trustees, and two representatives from a potential sponsor of our work at Mollicy Farms at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Dan Weber presented the work that we’re doing at Mollicy Farms and the benefits that downstream communities experience, such as flood protection and cleaner water.
We drove out to Mollicy and toured the site where we’re currently reconstructing a historic bayou. There are 3 pieces of heavy machinery on site that are digging a 2.5 mile streambed that will help slowly carry water off of the floodplain and back into the river. From the top of a nearby lookout tower I could see the banks of the Ouachita River and get a true sense of how large this project is and how much water floods the property. We must have been 30 feet up in the air and there were bite marks from beavers on many of the railings and steps of the tower. I guess when it’s the only “tree” around during the flood season, beavers will chew on whatever they can get their paws on.
After saying our goodbyes we headed home, over the Mississippi River and through St. Francisville, back to Baton Rouge. It was late when we got back to the office, but I was so grateful to have had this experience and to have gotten a much better feel for my home state. Growing up in south Louisiana I never had much reason to venture to the western or northern parts, but seeing these new areas of Louisiana was a welcome experience. I am impressed with the diversity of land (hills!!!) and wildlife, the generosity of the people I met, and the amazing work that TNC is doing across the state.
Although I've only been with TNC for a year, I am grateful for all of the people who have supported our work over the past 25 years- those who have made the protection and restoration of these lands and waters possible. I could go on and on but I’ll end with these thoughts - I think we’ve made great strides in conservation and restoration in Louisiana, but there’s plenty of work left to do. Going forward, I believe The Nature Conservancy is poised to make great strides for conservation through our application of science-based conservation strategies and I’m proud to be associated with this organization and these people. I’ve never encountered such an amazing group of people working to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends.