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Louisiana Launches GulfSource.org, Single Source Website for Seafood, Water and Sediment Safety Test Results

Release Date: 10/07/2011

LDWF, LDHH, LDEQ and LDAF launch website with all tests results as part of the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan

October 7, 2011 – Louisiana officials announced today the launch of GulfSource.org, a site that makes public all of the seafood, water and sediment safety testing information conducted since the 2010 BP Oil Spill under the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan. The site, which allows users to scroll through all available samples or conduct specific searches by area, date or sample type, utilizes information from the Louisiana departments of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Health and Hospitals (LDHH), Environmental Quality (LDEQ), and Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).

“Though we’ve been testing seafood, water and sediment since April 30, 2010 in response to the BP oil spill, the information has been difficult to widely distribute to the public until the launch of GulfSource.org,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We hope the public will utilize GulfSource.org to find out what the safety test results in seafood from areas they fish or from waters they consume reveal. What is truly encouraging is that, to date, not a single sample has failed our safety tests. We now we have the tool to share those results with the general public. Rebuilding our seafood brand starts with rebuilding consumer confidence in our product. We hope GulfSource.org helps us accomplish that task.”

“The public should have easy access to food safety information and GulfSource.org is a great companion to the work we’re already doing with EatSafe.La.Gov,” DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said. “Transparency of critical health and safety information is a top priority at DHH, where we worked with our state agency partners to publish seafood testing results almost immediately after the BP disaster and throughout the following year. GulfSource takes that work to the next level and allows the world to see for itself that we have the most-tested seafood out there.”

 “Now it will be easier for people outside of Louisiana to know what we already know – the seafood is safe and as good as ever,” said DEQ Peggy Hatch. “The goal of the plan was to ensure seafood safety for all the people who enjoy the best seafood in the world. With the launch of this new website, anyone will be able to see the results. This is the culmination of a statewide effort from many agencies to develop and execute a sampling plan like none other.”

"Our office has a long history of ensuring the quality and safety of Louisiana food,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.  “It’s our duty to continue this obligation to our Louisiana seafood industry and the consumers and patrons that enjoy shrimp, crab and finfish."

Louisiana officials reached an agreement with BP to test seafood, sediment and water from across the Louisiana coast for traces of toxins called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and for dispersants called Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS).  The agreement funds the testing program, called the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan, up to $18 million for a total of three years ($6 million per year).

To date, none of the samples tested have showed levels of PAHs or dispersants near the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-established “level of concern.” In fact, of the samples that showed any minute traces of PAHs, none were above background levels (the levels found in seafood before the oil spill). Test results for dispersants are also available on GulfSource.org.

GulfSource.org allows the general public full access to information on how testing is conducted, specifically where it is conducted, and when and what the results from the lab analyses show. 

For more information, visit GulfSource.org.                                        

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-8660.

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Oyster Season on Public Seed Ground will be delayed for up to Two Weeks to Allow for Ongoing NRDA Sampling

Release Date: 10/06/2011

October 6, 2011 – The opening of the 2011-2012 Oyster Season on certain public seed grounds will be delayed for up to two weeks to allow for continued sampling as part of the BP Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission today gave authority to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham to postpone the season opening on public seed grounds for up to two weeks, from October 17 to October 31, 2011. At the latest, the season would open at one half-hour before sunrise on November 1, 2011.

Officials with LDWF are working with NRDA teams to ensure that sampling efforts are completed as quickly as possible. If sampling is completed before the end of the two-week delay period, the Commission has given Secretary Barham authority to open the season following a 72-hour public notice.

Sampling efforts of oysters on public seed grounds are ongoing as part of the NRDA process to assess injuries caused by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The NRDA sampling currently taking place is intended to collect a number of data sets, including oyster density, size frequency,biomass and sediment samples,in an effort to assess injuries to oysters as a result of the spill.

The 2011-2012 Oyster Season on public seed grounds was set to open October 17, 2011, with the exception of Calcasieu and Sabine lakes. No other changes have been made to the season opening dates established by the Commission at its September meeting.

The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (Department of Health and Hospitals’ harvest area 30) is scheduled to open at one-half hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person per vessel per day.

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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or at 225-610-8660.

WEEKLY eNEWS: Educational Opportunities, Contest, Resources, and Lagniappe

A Compilation of Environmental Education News from Across Louisiana

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Miami University’s Project Dragonfly (Deadline: January 28, 2012)
Applications are being accepted for 2012 summer/fall graduate field courses and a master’s program that offer international studies in 11 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Offered by Miami University’s Project Dragonfly, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and partners worldwide, the GFP Master’s degree brings together graduate students, scientists, educators and community leaders at critical conservation field sites across the planet. Sites for 2012 include the Amazon, Australia, Baja, Belize, Borneo, Costa Rica, Guyana, Kenya, Mongolia, Namibia, and Thailand. Applications for 2012 courses are due January 28, 2012. Tuition for seven graduate credits and all basic in-country expenses are covered in the $1,290 course costs. Earth Expeditions and the GFP, which can be completed part-time from anywhere in the United States or abroad, are open to educators and other professionals from all disciplines and settings. For information and to apply, please visit: Earth Expeditions – http://www.EarthExpeditions.org, Global Field Program – http://www.MastersGFP.org or contact Connie Malone at (513) 529-5103; EarthExpeditions@muohio.edu

NOAA's Teacher at Sea Program Now Accepting Applications for 2012 Field Season
Application Deadline: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program gives teachers a clearer insight into our ocean planet, a greater understanding of maritime work and studies, and increases their level of environmental literacy by fostering an interdisciplinary research experience. Teachers have enriched their classroom curricula with a depth of understanding made possible by living and working side-by-side, day and night, with those who contribute to the world's body of scientific knowledge. NOAA's Teacher at Sea program accepts applications from currently employed, full-time educators in these categories: K-12 teachers and administrators; community college, college, and university teachers; museum and aquarium educators; and adult education teachers. Teachers will be selected to fill approximately 30 openings available. More information about NOAA's Teacher at Sea Program including eligibility requirements, expectations, and frequently asked questions, is available at http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov. Apply at: http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/apply/index.html


CONTESTS
Louisiana Section of Air and Waste Management Association - Adopt-A-School Program (Deadline: November 18)
Louisiana Section Adopt-A-School program selects an elementary or middle school to award a cash donation for use at the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th  grade level in the area of science education. In addition to the cash donation, the Louisiana Section also endeavors to assist the school in its program for the year by providing Environmental Resource Guidebooks to aid teachers by providing lesson plans geared towards environmental education. Traditionally, the Louisiana Section awards up to three grants (one at $1,500 and two at $1,000); however, actual amounts and number of awards can vary based on budgetary constraints. Proposals should be received (either electronically, via fax or mail) no later than 5pm November 18, 2011. Please address them to Kevin Calhoun, Providence Engineering and Environmental Group L.L.C., 1201 Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802; fax: 225-766-7440 or e-mail: kevincalhoun@providenceeng.com. Please see attached flyer for more information.


RESOURCES
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint with Alcoa’s Make an Impact Carbon Calculator
The Pew Center on Climate Change and Alcoa Foundation would like to share their “Make An Impact” carbon calculator to help people save energy, save money and save the planet.  The calculator takes about ten minutes to complete and gives you specific recommendations on actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and lower utility bills. The website also offers online tools and resources for individuals and families. The program was recently selected as a finalist for a Classy Award and was featured on NBC/Weather Channel. To learn more about the program contact Tricia Napor, Manager, Community Engagement, Alcoa Foundation at Tricia.Napor@alcoa.com.

Monarch Butterfly Migration
Help track the monarch butterfly migration each fall and spring as the butterflies travel to and from Mexico. Report your own observations of migrating butterflies to real-time migration maps. For more details, please visit http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/.


LAGNIAPPE
Medline Plus Interactive Tutorials
MedlinePlus presents interactive health tutorials from the Patient Education Institute. Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for a variety of diseases and conditions. Also learn about surgeries, prevention and wellness. Each tutorial includes animated graphics, audio and easy-to-read language. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorial.html

Act 145: New Law Allows Students with Asthma in Louisiana to Breathe Easier in Schools
The Louisiana Legislature passed Act 145 which allows certain students to self carry their asthma meds. Please read the attached publication for more information and share this information with others.


Find out about wetland outreach activities including symposiums, conferences, meetings, educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and related support material at the Louisiana Unified Coastal Community Calendar at http://lacoast.gov/calendar/


Venise Ortego, Environmental Education Coordinator, 337-948-0255, vortego@wlf.la.gov
Juliet Raffray, Environmental Education Assistant Coordinator, 225-765-0124, jraffray@wlf.la.gov
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries – www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec
 

Amended Agenda For October Commission Meeting

Release Date: 10/04/2011

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, October 6, 2011, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

 1.  Roll Call

 2.  Approval of Minutes of September 1, 2011

 3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

 4.  To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/September

 5.  To consider 2012 Turkey Hunting Areas, Seasons and Bag Limits: Consideration of  Conditionally Adopted Amendments to Notice of Intent and Consideration of Amended Notice of Intent

 6.  To consider General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations: Consideration of  Conditionally Adopted Amendments to Notice of Intent and Consideration Amended Notice of Intent

 7.  To consider Declaration of Emergency on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill

 8.  To consider Declaration of Emergency to Give Secretary Authority to Delay Opening of the 2011-2012 Season on the Public Oyster Seed Grounds

 9.  Set February 2012 Meeting Date

10. Receive Public Comments

11. Executive Session to Discuss Prospective Litigation relative to return of Artificial Reef Fund Monies

12.  Adjournment

 

Price Lake Road on Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to Close Temporarily for Bridge Construction

Release Date: 10/04/2011

Oct. 4, 2011-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising all visitors to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge that Price Lake Road, a primary access point for public outdoor recreation on the western end of the refuge, will be closed Oct. 10 for approximately two weeks.

This road closure is necessary due to construction of a bridge across Price Lake Canal to provide access to a well location for permitted oil and gas exploration by Chevron. Construction activities will temporarily block vehicular access to fishing, crabbing and shrimping areas along the road.

The refuge, in coastal Cameron and Vermilion parishes, has a strong mineral management program that minimizes impacts associated with development and is compatible with wildlife and fisheries management activities on the refuge. Revenue derived from oil and gas activities is used to manage the property.  

All other canals and public access areas on the refuge will offer alternative entry points for public access from official sunrise to sunset. Other areas available for public access include the East End Boat Launch/Joseph Harbor Canal and East End Locks Rd., both located just over three miles east of the refuge headquarters building, as well as Rollover Landing which features a private boat ramp with launch fee along the eastern boundary near Pecan Island. 

For more information about Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, contact Tom Hess at 337-491-2593 or thess@wlf.la.gov.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

SPECIAL eNEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: Environmental Education Symposium – Call for Presenters…Call for Exhibitors!

Call for Presenters…Call for Exhibitors!

On March 9-10, 2012, the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission and the Louisiana Environmental Education Association will host the 15th Annual Louisiana Environmental Education Symposium – “Our Environment…Our Future” at the Lafayette Crowne Plaza in Lafayette, Louisiana. The theme for this upcoming conference will be “The Year of Outdoor Teaching!”

Exhibitors: Our target audience will include classroom teachers, pre-service teachers, business and industry representatives, non-profit organizations, state and local officials, legislators, and non-formal educators. Emphasis this year will be placed on engaging teachers and students in outdoor learning experiences! Postmark deadline for exhibitor registrations is January 10, 2012! Please see attached registration form and informational flyer below.

Presenters: Do you have a hands-on workshop, lesson activities, or exemplary program that you would like to share with environmental educators? Particularly one that incorporates the outdoor learning experience?! Consider presenting at the upcoming 2012 Environmental Education Symposium! Help teachers by giving them the tools necessary to conduct quality environmental lessons! Also, teachers love presentations made by fellow teachers so if you are a classroom teacher with an innovative lesson, please consider using the symposium as a way to ultimately reach a larger audience of students! Postmark deadline for presenter proposals is January 10, 2012! Please see attached proposal form and informational flyer below.

For more information: Venise Ortego, EE Coordinator at 337-948-0255, vortego@wlf.la.gov, www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec, or Juliet Raffray, EE Assistant Coordinator at 225-765-0124, jraffray@wlf.la.gov.

 

Find out about wetland outreach activities including symposiums, conferences, meetings, educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and related support material at the Louisiana Unified Coastal Community Calendar at http://lacoast.gov/calendar/


Venise Ortego, Environmental Education Coordinator, 337-948-0255, vortego@wlf.la.gov
Juliet Raffray, Environmental Education Assistant Coordinator, 225-765-0124, jraffray@wlf.la.gov
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries – www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec

Governor Jindal Announces Addition of 29,630 Acres to Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 09/30/2011

Maurepas Swamp WMA Sept. 2011

Sept. 30, 2011 -- Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced the availability of 29,630 new acres to the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for hunting and other outdoor activities.

Governor Jindal said, “With this newly acquired land,hunters and fisherman in Southeast Louisiana will now have access to more than 100,000 acres to hunt, fish and enjoy Louisiana’s natural treasures, which are easily accessible from our major metropolitan areas.  The addition of tens of thousands of acres of hunting grounds is great news for our hunters who are gearing up for the start of big and small game hunting season on October 1st.”

A partnership with the Conservation Fund for 29,630 acres between the eastern and western tracts of the WMA will increase the combined total acreage of public recreation lands to more than 100,000 acres located within Ascension, Livingston, St. James and St. John parishes.

“We continue to look for opportunities to expand public outdoor recreation options through the wildlife management program,” said Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham. “We encourage hunters to utilize these new public hunting grounds during the 2011-12 season.”

The new acreage includes flooded cypress tupelo swamp. Prominent plant species include bulltongue, cattails, submerged aquatics, red maple, and limited oak species consisting mostly of live oak, striped (nuttall) oak, and water oak.

The perimeter boundary of the new acreage is being marked with LDWF signage to alert the public.

The primary access into the area is by boat but there are several portions that can be accessed by foot. Major highways crossing through the area are Interstate 10, Interstate 55, US 61, and LA 641. Major waterways in the area include the Blind River, Dutch Bayou, Mississippi Bayou, Petite Amite and the Reserve Flood Relief Canal. WMA users can acquire the self clearing permits required to enter the area from nine kiosks located throughout the WMA.

Game hunted within the WMA includes whitetail deer, squirrels, rabbits, waterfowl and raccoons. Freshwater fish, such as largemouth bass, perch, and crappie are favorites of anglers within the WMA. Trapping for alligators and nutria is allowed each year with proper permitting.

Bald eagles nest in and around the area along with many other species of birds. Bird watching, sightseeing and boating are additional activities that can be enjoyed on the WMA.

For more information, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma or contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Agent Found Dead in West Feliciana Parish

Release Date: 09/30/2011

 

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent was found dead this morning, Sept. 30, in West Feliciana Parish.

The body of Sgt. Paul Stuckey, 47, of Zachary, was found by local fishermen at the old ferry landing near the banks of the Mississippi River just outside of St. Francisville at daybreak. 

West Feliciana Sheriff's Office (WFSO) deputies were the first on the scene and found Sgt. Stuckey with a shotgun wound to his chest next to his patrol vehicle.  The WFSO notified LDWF at 7 a.m.

"Our hearts go out to the Sgt. Stuckey family and his extended family of fellow agents will be there to help them through this tough time," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.

According to LDWF dispatch, Sgt. Stuckey's last known communication with the department was at 2:15 a.m. identifying that he was responding to a night hunting complaint.

Sgt. Stuckey had been with the LDWF Enforcement Division for 18 years.  The cause of his death is currently under investigation.  His body was turned over to the West Feliciana Coroners Office.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Launches tip411 and iPhone App

Release Date: 09/29/2011

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now offering a new way to anonymously report outdoor related violations to Enforcement Division agents.  LDWF's tip411 program is a part of their Operation Game Thief program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. 

To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender. 

Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.  Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.

"We’re proud to make this technology available to our citizens free of charge.  This tip411 program will help our citizens play an active role in helping us enforce current conservation rules and regulations," said LDWF Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the Enforcement Division.  "This program will engage younger folks in the process and it will save our agency time and resources.“

LDWF will monitor the tip411 program for incoming tips 24 hours a day.

LDWF also offers their Operation Game Thief 24 hour toll free hotline.  Citizens can anonymously report tips by calling 1-800-442-2511 24 hours a day.

CitizenObserver was founded in 2000 and provides web based alerting tools to law enforcement, education and public safety agencies in over 40 states.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Agenda For Commission Meeting

Release Date: 09/28/2011

September 28, 2011-The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, October 6, 2011, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of September 1, 2011

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.  To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/September

5.  To consider 2012 Turkey Hunting Areas, Seasons and Bag Limits: Consideration of Conditionally Adopted Amendments to Notice of Intent and   Consideration of Amended Notice of Intent

6.  To consider General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations: Consideration of Conditionally Adopted Amendments to Notice of Intent and Consideration of   Amended Notice of Intent

7.  To consider Declaration of Emergency on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill

8.  Set February 2012 Meeting Date

9.  Receive Public Comments

10.  Adjournment

 

 

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