Efforts to conserve winter habitat for wildfowl, Anatidae, in the alluvial valley of the lower Mississippi River, U.S.A., are directed by the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV) Joint Venture of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NA WMP). The Joint Venture is based on a biological framework developed through cooperative planning by wildfowl researchers and managers. Important elements of the framework include: (1) numeric population goals, (2) assumptions about potential limiting factors, (3) explicit relationships between wildfowl abundance and habitat characteristics, (4) numeric foraging habitat goals, and (5) criteria for evaluating success. The population goal of the Joint Venture for the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MA V) is to enable 4.3 million ducks to, survive winter and join continental breeding populations in spring. Currently, available data suggest that foraging habitat is the primary factor limiting duck populations in the MA II. To establish a goal for foraging habitat, we assumed the length of the wintering period is 110 days and calculated that a population of 4.3 million breeding ducks (plus 15% to account for winter mortality) would need 546 million duck-days of food in the preceding winter. Then, we used estimates of daily energy requirements, food densities, and food energy values to calculate the carrying capacity or number of duck-days of food available in the three primary foraging habitats in the MAV (flooded croplands, forested wetlands, and moist-soil wetlands). Thus, availability of foraging habitat can be used as a criterion for evaluating success of the Joint Venture if accurate inventories of foraging habitat can be conducted. Development of an explicit biological framework for the Joint Venture enabled wildfowl managers and researchers to establish specific objectives for management of foraging habitat and identify priority problems requiring further study.