General

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Agents Cite Three Men for Illegal Gill Net Fishing in Two Separate Cases

Release Date: 03/08/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three men for alleged gill net violations involving two separate cases in Plaquemines Parish.

On Feb. 26, agents cited Timothy P. Cheramie Jr., 33, of Buras, and Danny L. Davis Jr., 35, of Venice, for actively fishing a gill net below the saltwater line.  After a lengthy investigation, agents also cited Salvador Cepriano, 55, of Venice, for actively fishing a gill net below the saltwater line and fishing without a commercial fishing license on March 1.

Agents were on patrol near Dry Cypress Bayou on the evening of Feb. 26 when they observed Cheramie Jr. and Davis Jr. tending a 900-foot gill net.  Agents watched the subjects pull numerous red and black drum from the net.  Agents seized the net and returned the fish to the water.

Agents received a complaint about a man using a gill net in the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish.  Agents observed Cepriano using a 900-foot gill net on March 1.  Agents made contact with Cepriano and found him in possession of 1,017 pounds of catfish.  Agents seized the net and sold the catfish to the highest bidder.

Using a gill net in below the saltwater line brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Commercially fishing without a commercial fishing license carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

A Letter to the Editor Regarding Catahoula Lake, by LDWF Secretary Montoucet

Release Date: 03/08/2019

A Letter to the Editor Regarding Catahoula Lake, by LDWF Secretary Montoucet

Catahoula Lake court decision must be reversed for the good of La.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries stands in strong support of the State’s effort to reverse a court decision that could devastate the opportunity of Louisiana citizens to fish, hunt or recreate in much of the Catahoula Lake area.

The ripple effect of the ruling is of even more concern. Copycat lawsuits could be on the horizon that could eliminate public fishing and hunting areas across the state and have a negative economic effect on some rural communities.

This ruling is contrary to over 200 years of public access on Catahoula Lake. And, if it stands, it will forever change what has traditionally been a treasured resource.

Catahoula Lake stretches into LaSalle and Rapides parishes in the Central part of the state. Covering 46 square miles, it is the largest natural freshwater lake in the state. The site is popular with anglers and is recognized internationally as a concentration area for birds and waterfowl.

At issue is a ruling from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in December of 2018, declaring that the area known for centuries as Catahoula Lake was actually a stream and not a lake.  Therefore, the adjacent landowners, not the state, are the proper owners of the majority of the lake’s inundated water bottoms.  The state attorney’s office has asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to reverse the lower court decision.

The attorney general said, if the ruling is not changed, it would not only jeopardize “the public’s right to access and use many Louisiana waterways for hunting, fishing, and habitat conservation – the suit also potentially could cost the State’s taxpayers tens of millions of dollars” in legal fees, along with the loss of oil and mineral rights.

Gov. John Bel Edwards and I agree.

To remove Catahoula Lake from public access could negatively affect waterfowl in the state because it would limit LDWF’s ability to manage water levels that are key to habitat management.

LDWF’s Waterfowl Program Manager said that Catahoula Lake and areas nearby provide a great food resource and roost sites for ducks. Some 1,500 duck hunters could be affected if the ruling stands.

A less discussed effect of the ruling is the financial loss to mom and pop stores, restaurants, gasoline sales, motels and sporting goods stores in the affected communities that depend on the financial shot in the arm they get during fishing and hunting seasons.

Left as is, we feel the ruling would not only hurt Louisiana’s sportsmen, but also communities that so desperately need the income derived from hunting and fishing.

 

 

Jack Montoucet

Secretary

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

 

 

LEEC eNews: Learn to Write a Winning Application, "See" Beneath the Waves and More!

LEEC News

Art & Language Arts Contest

The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission invites all Louisiana students ages 5-18 to enter the Environmental Awareness Student Art and Language Arts Contest. Draw or paint a picture, or write a story or poem and win a cash prize! 

The theme this year is "What's Great About Your Part of the State?" Does your community have a unique recycling facility, a beautiful lake or an exceptional place to camp or hike? Your only limit is your imagination!

First place winners receive $200, second place is $100 and third place is $75. There are four age groups for both art and language arts, so 24 students will win a cash prize! Each winner, the winner's family, teacher and principal will be invited to a special reception this summer at the Louisiana Governor's Mansion.

Find out more information at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/artcontest. The deadline to enter is April 19, 2019.


DID YOU KNOW? You can register your live oak with the Live Oak Society?

The live oak is a long-standing symbol of strength, beauty and endurance. The Live Oak Society, founded by Dr. Edwin Lewis Stephens in 1934 has registered thousands of individual trees. Find out more or add your favorite tree to the registry at https://www.lgcfinc.org/live-oak-society.html.

Funding Opportunity

NAAEE Webinar Explains How to Write a Winning Application

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) are hosting an informational webinar on Tuesday, March 5th at 2:00 p.m. Central to answer any questions regarding the UL Innovative Education Award (ULIEA) application. Join the discussion as past ULIEA winners Dr. Jenn Page of Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership and Quilen Blackwell of Chicago Eco House, and leaders from NAAEE and UL share their tips on what makes a prize-winning application. 

The fifth annual UL Innovative Education Award is seeking applications from eligible 501(c)(3) organizations in the United States and Canada who are using innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) curricula to help K-12 students solve real-world environmental problems. Eligible organizations must apply by March 12, 2019. Five winners will be selected: two winners will receive $10,000 each; two winners will receive $50,000 each; and the grand prize winner will receive $100,000.

Find out more and apply at https://ulinnovationeducation.naaee.net/

Webinar

Listening to "See" Beneath the Waves

 On April 9, 2019 at 5 p.m. Central, join Dr. Lindsey Peavey Reeves, as she shares details on how Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary has been a hot spot for passive acoustic monitoring for years. In this webinar she'll explore various ways in which the Channel Islands sanctuary and partners are characterizing the sanctuary soundscape, what we've been able to learn so far, and what we are still seeking to understand.
 
This webinar series provides formal and informal educators with educational and scientific expertise, resources, and training to support ocean and climate literacy in the classroom. 
 
Find out more here and register here

Lagniappe

Bonnet Carre Spillway Explained

Many students who live along the Mississippi may have questions about the tough decisions that engineers, scientists and leaders must make when flooding threatens our state. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation has created an exceptional resource including articles and videos that help to explain the conditions that lead up to opening the spillway and the effects (and side effects) that occur afterward.

Find more at https://saveourlake.org/bonnet-carre-explained/.

Levee Emergency Rule in Effect

The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board has issued an Emergency Rule local jurisdictions can use to control activity on levees in the coastal area due to dangerous flood conditions on the Mississippi River and Tributaries. This rule was made effective as of 5 p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2019. 
 
The rule is designed to be enforced by the local levee districts and authorities at their discretion, though they are expected to coordinate closely with the Corps of Engineers and the State of Louisiana through CPRA and the CPRA Board.
 
Find the complete emergency rule on CPRA's site.

March 2019 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda (Note: Location is in Woodworth, LA)

Release Date: 02/28/2019

The next regular commission meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, March 7, at Woodworth Town Hall, 9363 Hwy. US165 South, Woodworth, LA 71485.

 

The following items will be discussed:

1. Call to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Roll Call

4. Adoption of February 7, 2019 Commission Meeting Minutes

5. Approval of March 7, 2019 Agenda

6. Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

7. Enforcement Report, February 2019 – Major Edward Skena, Enforcement Division

8. Receive the Annual Report for the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area – Amity Bass, Wildlife Biologist

9. Receive Public Comments and Consider any Amendments to the Notice of Intent for Rule Changes in Wild Quadrupeds and Wild Bird Rules and Regulations, including Cervid Carcass Importation Ban Rules and Regulations, General and Wildlife Management Area Hunting Rules and Regulations, General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations, Along with Resident Game Hunting Season Date Adjustments for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, and Migratory Bird Season Adjustments for 2019-2020 – Tommy Tuma, Habitat Stewardship Branch Director

10. Receive Presentation by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Regarding LDAF’s Chronic Wasting Disease Prevention Measures for Pen-Raised Deer – Dr. Daniel Myrick, LDAF

11. Set July 2019 Commission Meeting Date

12. Receive Public Comments

13. Adjournment

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com.  To attend this meeting via webinar visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3064686749442781443

Due to the remote location of this meeting the webinar experience may be negatively impacted.  The audio will be posted at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/commission-meeting-minutes within 24 hours of the meeting. 

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to rlebreton@wlf.la.gov at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date. 

St. Martin Parish Man Cited for Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 02/22/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited a Coteau Holmes man for alleged deer hunting violations on Feb. 13.

Agents cited Randy J. Bourque, 42, for hunting under hunting license revocation, hunting on a Louisiana State Park, hunting without resident hunting and big game licenses, failing to possess deer tags and failing to follow deer tagging requirements.

On Jan. 5, agents learned about the illegal taking of a deer from Bourque’s social media page.  During the investigation, agents discovered that Bourque illegally killed a 12-point buck on the Lake Fausse Pointe State Park on Jan. 1.  Bourque was hunting without any current hunting licenses or deer tags due to being under revocation.

Agents seized the 12-point rack and cape.

Hunting deer under hunting license revocation, failing to possess deer tags, and failing to follow deer tagging requirements each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Hunting deer on a Louisiana State Park carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting without basic season and big game hunting licenses each carries a fine up to $50 and 30 days in jail.

Bourque could also face civil restitution totaling $2033.29 for the replacement value of the illegally taken deer.

LDWF Investigation Indicates Dead Pelicans Succumbed to Natural, Accidental Causes

Release Date: 02/21/2019

Several dead pelicans discovered recently in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes died from natural and accidental causes, according to an investigation by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

LDWF’s Enforcement Division launched an investigation Feb. 19 when it was notified of several dead pelicans in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes. One of the pelicans was found stuck to a water level gauge. Agents retrieved that pelican and another dead pelican in the surrounding area then brought them to LDWF headquarters in Baton Rouge for necropsies, the equivalent of autopsies performed on humans.

The necropsies found no illegal activity associated with the pelican deaths.

The pelican found hanging from the water level gauge in the Caernarvon Diversion area in Plaquemines Parish accidentally hooked its pouch on a protruding screw. The pelican then broke its neck trying to free itself from the screw, according to the LDWF veterinarian

The other pelican, found floating in shallow water, died from severe parasitism and emaciation.

During winter, mortality rates in juvenile brown pelicans can be high. Young pelicans are not as good at fishing as mature pelicans and have higher rates of parasites. Young pelicans also have little to no fat reserves for the colder months and can die from hypothermia and malnutrition.

Due to these naturally occurring events, the LDWF Enforcement Division is closing the investigation pending further evidence that would indicate the birds were illegally killed.

$7,500 Reward Offered for Information on Shooting of Endangered Whooping Crane in Acadia Parish

Release Date: 02/21/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are looking for leads regarding an endangered whooping crane that was shot in Acadia Parish.

The crane was found with a wounded wing on Nov. 2, 2018 between Crowley and Rayne off of Monceaux Rd.  The crane was taken to a vet where it had to be put down due to its injuries.  The crane was then sent in for a necropsy where it was determined to have been shot in the wing.

Up to $7,500 is being offered by various groups for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal shooting of this whooping crane.  LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and Whooping Crane Conservation Association are each offering a reward of up to $1,000.  LDWF also received a total of $4,500 from private donations.

Anyone with information regarding the illegal shooting should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF’s tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, residents can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the “LADWF Tips” app.  The hotline and the tip411 are monitored 24 hours a day.  Upon request, informants can remain anonymous.

LDWF with support from partners has released 147 whooping cranes since 2011 to reintroduce the birds to the state.  The population is currently estimated to be 76 whooping cranes.  This reintroduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.  The crane in this case was released in December of 2016.

Whooping cranes are the most endangered of the world’s crane species.  The Louisiana flock is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

LEEC eNews Bulletin: Reminder, LEEC Grant Applications due by Friday, February 22

The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission will continue to accept proposals for its 2019-2020 grant cycle until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 22, 2019. Don't miss this great opportunity to fund classroom or schoolwide environmental education projects, professional development,  or academic research. Formal and non-formal educators and university students throughout the state may apply for a grant in one of four categories: 

Educator Grants - Based on sound scientific principles, have an environmental focus, and be designed to directly impact Louisiana students - Those eligible: Accredited K-12 Louisiana schools - Maximum award: $1,000 for 1 teacher or $2,000 for a team —

Application: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/2019-2020-leec-educator-grant-application

Guidelines: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/2019-2020-leec-educator-grant-guidelines-0 

 

Green Schools Grants - Supports projects designed to reduce a school’s environmental impact, reduce health disparities that can aggravate achievement gaps, and engage students in hands-on learning. Proposals to be considered are those that align with pillars found in the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Program: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/green-schools-pillars-and-elements - Those eligible: Accredited K-12 Louisiana schools - Maximum award: $5,000 —

Application: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/2019-2020-leecldoe-green-schools-grant-application

Guidelines: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/2019-2020-leecldoe-green-schools-grant-guidelines

 

Professional Development Grants - Based on sound scientific principles, have an environmental focus, and be designed to directly impact preservice and/or in-service educators in Louisiana - Those eligible: Louisiana education, state, or environmental agencies, colleges, universities, or 501(C)(3) nonprofit organizations - Maximum award: $2,500 —

Application: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/2019-2020-leec-professional-development-grant-application

Guidelines: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/2019-2020-leec-professional-development-grant-guidelines

 

University Research Grants - Post-graduate research with a focus on environmental issues - Those eligible: Students attending Louisiana colleges or universities and who are working toward a Masters, Ph.D., or conducting Ph.D. research are eligible to apply on behalf of their school - Maximum award: $1,200 —

Application: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/2019-2020-leec-university-research-grant-application

Guidelines: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/2019-2020-leec-university-research-grant-guidelines

 

For questions regarding the grant application process, please contact Venise Ortego at vortego@wlf.la.gov.

For questions regarding the online application form, please contact Thomas Gresham at tgresham@wlf.la.gov

Avoyelles Night Hunting Investigation Leads to Multiple Violations and Arrest

Release Date: 02/14/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited three men for alleged hunting violations in Avoyelles Parish in January and February of 2019.

Agents cited James A. Bacon, 53, Bruce Norman, 55, both of Marksville, and Henry Tidwell Jr., 50, of Pineville, for possession of an illegally taken deer, hunting deer during illegal hours, and hunting without basic hunting and big game hunting licenses.

Bacon was also arrested for illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, taking deer with an illegal weapon, taking deer illegally from a boat, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements and possession of marijuana.  Norman was also cited for taking deer illegally from a boat.  Tidwell Jr. was also cited for failing to comply with deer tagging requirements.

Agents received information on Jan. 6 that Bacon was involved in some illegal night hunting that was taking place near Slim Lemoine Road south of Marksville in Avoyelles Parish.  Agents made contact with Bacon, during a traffic stop and found him in possession of two firearms in the back seat of the truck.

On Jan. 19, agents discovered that Bacon was a convicted felon and obtained a search warrant for his residence.  During the execution of the search warrant, agents located three firearms, an ice chest of deer meat and and a bag of marijuana.  Bacon admitted to killing the deer with Norman with a .17 rifle on the Coulee des Grous Bayou that runs parallel to Slim Lemoine Road.  Agents seized the three firearms and the bag of marijuana.

Later that evening, agents made contact with Norman and he admitted to driving the boat at night and holding the spotlight while Bacon shot the deer.  Normand also informed agents that he was involved with the taking of another deer at night with Tidwell, Jr.

Agents were unable to make contact with Tidwell Jr. during this time due to numerous warrants for his arrest.  On Feb. 11, the Forest Hill Police Department informed agents that they apprehended Tidwell Jr. and booked him at Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office.  Agents made contact with Tidwell Jr. and he admitted to shooting an antlerless deer at night with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Hunting deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possession of an illegally taken deer carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking deer with an illegal weapon and from a boat, and failing to comply with deer tagging requirements each carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.   Hunting without basic hunting and big game licenses each brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

Illegally possessing a firearm by a convicted felon brings a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and 10 to 20 years in jail.  Possession of marijuana brings up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

Bacon and Tidwell Jr. may also face civil restitution totaling $1,624 each for the replacement value of the illegally taken deer.

Tallulah Man Cited for Taking Six Antlered Deer this Hunting Season

Release Date: 02/07/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a Tallulah man for alleged deer hunting violations on Feb. 1 in Madison Parish.

Agents cited Kenneth D. Gunter, 53, for taking over the seasonal limit of deer, taking over the daily limit of antlered deer and failing to comply with deer tagging requirements.

Agents received information on Jan. 31 that Gunter harvested two antlered deer on the same day along the Mississippi River Levee five miles north of Tallulah.  Agents made contact with Gunter and found that he had harvested six antlered deer during the 2018-19 deer-hunting season including two antlered deer he harvested on Jan. 20.

Gunter also failed to tag any of the six antlered deer he harvested.

The seasonal limit for antlered deer is three and the daily limit of antlered deer is one for this area of the state.  Agents seized six sets of antlers including a 10-point, two 9-points, two 8-points and a five point as evidence.

Taking over the daily limit of deer and over the daily limit of deer each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Gunter may also face civil restitution totaling up to $11,382 for the replacement value of the illegally taken deer.

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