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Special eNews: LPB PRESENTS ALIVE! IN AMERICA’S DELTA: THE WHOOPING CRANE’S MAJESTIC RETURN

Louisiana Public Broadcasting unveils a special presentation of the first episode of its new six-part series Alive! In America’s Delta on Monday, August 19th at 7PM on LPB and Friday, August 23rd at 8PM on WLAE in New Orleans. The series was produced with the generous support and assistance of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
 
By 1954, Louisiana had lost its entire population of whooping cranes. This majestic North American bird had been over-hunted and much of its coastal habitat was converted to farmland, pushing the population to the brink of extinction and leaving only 16 birds remaining in the world. To assist in the survival of the species, U.S. and Canadian biologists started by working to re-establish the bird, and in the process have learned even more about the whooping crane. Through this intensive, international effort, there are now more than 400 in the wild, and while there is new hope for the future of the species, their ultimate survival is not guaranteed.
  
This documentary follows the newest initiative to reintroduce whooping cranes into their ancestral territory currently underway in southwest Louisiana, with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries taking the lead. Each year, whooping cranes born in captivity are raised by costumed caretakers at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, run by the U.S. Geological Survey, with the intent of reintroducing them into the wild.
 
“This project has been in the works for a long time, because Louisiana has a very large area of high quality habitat for cranes. We’re proud to have the opportunity to restore a native species that was lost. With the reintroduction of the whooping crane in Louisiana, we become the latest partner in a consortium of scientists and conservationists across the North American continent restoring cranes,” said LDWF administrator Bob Love.
 
By increasing the numbers of whooping cranes, the bird could eventually be removed from the list of critically endangered species. The addition of a separate non-migratory flock will also serve to protect the species from the danger of disease or a catastrophic event like a hurricane or oil spill.
 
South Louisiana has retained an extensive crane habitat, with coastal marshlands providing an abundance of food. The reintroduced whooping cranes also frequent rice and crawfish farms, which are a rich source of foraging material. But even with an ideal habitat, the young birds lack the guidance and protection of whooping crane parents, which makes them even more vulnerable as they are introduced to the wild with its predators and man-made dangers.
 
For an exclusive view of these remarkable animals and the professionals who prepare them to thrive successfully in the wild, LPB producer Donna LaFleur and photographer Rex Q. Fortenberry followed alongside the LDWF staff members as they worked with the cranes. Fortenberry even donned the required crane costume to disguise himself and his camera to capture the arrival of the young birds to the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area and throughout their release into the Louisiana marshlands south of Gueydan.
 
Additionally, LDWF biologists wore cameras strapped to their chests while interacting with the birds, giving viewers an intimate look at the young cranes and how they relate to their costumed caretakers, and revealing how staff members approach issues like medicating the birds and achieving dominance over cranes that might challenge their authority.
 
“The main purpose of the costume is to disguise the fact that we’re people underneath the costume. We think that the best chances to succeed in the wild is to not be comfortable, not be used to being around people. They don’t see us; we don’t speak around the birds,” said LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski.
 
Among those appearing in the documentary are LDWF administrator Bob Love and LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski; assigned to the Louisiana whooping crane reintroduction project, Zimorski began working with cranes as a young intern at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Research Leader Sammy King, Ph.D., and Research Associate Tandi Perkins from the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit also provide commentary; King talks about the biological characteristics of the whooping crane, while Perkins follows the cranes after their release, using satellite transmitters to track their location in the wild.
 
“This is at least a 20-year project; it’s not going to happen overnight. So, but we intend to stay the course and we think we’re going to be successful,” said Love. “If you ever look a whooping crane in the eye and see their determination and their visual acuity, and watch their behavior, you know that bird is going to uphold its end of the bargain.”
 
Future episodes in the Alive! In America’s Delta series explore Louisiana black bears, wildlife enforcement, and endangered species on land and in the water.
 
LDWF/LEEC would like to extend a very special thanks to LPB for their time and effort in promoting our prized Louisiana natural resources, in particular two of our threatened and endangered species, the whooping crane and the Louisiana black bear.
 
In addition, if you are either a formal or informal educator and would like your opportunity to help LDWF spread the word about our Louisiana cranes, please consider attending our “Give A Whoop!” teacher workshop on Saturday September 14, 2013 in Woodworth, LA.  
 
Participants can expect a day of fun and learning at LDWF’s beautiful Woodworth education facility south of Alexandria! Learn about the WHOOPING CRANE reintroduction program and the crane’s amazing journey back from the brink of extinction! Geared toward teachers of middle and high school students (elementary level teachers are also welcome) and informal educators, these workshops will explain the complexities and challenges of the reintroduction program, demonstrate the new classroom lesson activities, and engage participants in field work related to habitat identification using GPS units.  Participants will receive: 10 engaging, GLE aligned lessons, $75 stipend, GPS unit for your classroom, breakfast and lunch, and up to 7.5 CLUs.
 
So join us Saturday September 14, 2013 from 8 AM until 4 PM at Woodworth, LA. Interested individuals are asked to fill out the attached registration form and mail it, along with your $25 check to be reimbursed, to: Carrie Salyers LDWF 102 Magnate Dr. Suite 201 Lafayette, LA 70508
.
Thank you, Chevron, for sponsoring this workshop!
   
Questions?  Please contact Sue Ellen Lyons slyons@holycrosstigers.com  or Carrie Salyers at csalyers@wlf.la.gov

 

LEEC Weekly News

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Louisiana Environmental Education Commission
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LEEC Weekly News

Our Weekly eNewsletter link is below. Please share with others.
 
Thank you,
Louisiana Environmental Education Commission
You can subscribe or unsubscribe to our weekly enews here.
Find us on Facebook: LouisianaEnvironmentalEducationCommission

 

Buras Man Arrested for Boat Registration Fraud

Release Date: 08/14/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Buras man for alleged boat registration charges on Aug. 13.

Agents arrested Limauel Watson, 66, for filing public false documents and injuring public records and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

Agents began investigating Watson in May of 2013 after he tried to register a 20-foot aluminum vessel in April of 2013.  Watson claimed on the boat registration forms that he purchased the vessel in April of 2010.

After investigating Watson’s registration, agents learned that Watson’s vessel wasn’t manufactured until July of 2010 and that he didn’t purchase the vessel until October of 2010.

It is believed that Watson filed a fraudulent boat registration in an effort to receive reimbursement payment from BP for work he allegedly did with the vessel helping with the oil spill cleanup in 2010.  Watson has submitted a reimbursement claim with BP that has been unfulfilled at this time.

Injuring public records and filing false public documents each brings up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail for each offense.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Louis Burnett, Sgt. Todd Laviolette, Senior Agent Michael Williams, Senior Agent Michael Marques and Senior Agent Adam Tieben.

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

LDWF Clarifies Hog Hunting on WMA Regulations

Release Date: 08/13/2013

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has clarified a hog hunting on public lands regulation in this year’s Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet.

In the 2013-14 Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet on page 47 and 48 in the Feral Hogs and Outlaw Quadrupeds section it states that “feral hogs may be taken during any legal hunting season on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) by properly licensed hunters.”

However, there are raccoon hunting seasons at night on select WMAs throughout the state for a few weeks each year.  During these nighttime raccoon seasons on WMAs, the hunting, taking and possessing of feral hogs will be prohibited and enforced as such.

Furthermore, it states in the 2013-14 Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet on page 29 that the nighttime take of feral hogs can only happen on private lands from the last day of February until the last day of August by properly licensed hunters.  This regulation purposely omits any nighttime take of feral hogs on WMAs and other public lands.

LDWF will take measures for next year’s hunting regulations pamphlet to further clarify this regulation as it pertains to feral hogs.

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

LEEC Weekly eNews

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Louisiana Environmental Education Commission

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Metairie Subjects Cited For Stealing Crabs

Release Date: 08/05/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited two Metairie residents for alleged crabbing violations on Aug. 2 on Lake Pontchartrain.

LDWF agents set up surveillance from the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain after receiving complaints about stolen crabs from crab traps in the area.  Agents observed David E. Shelhorse Jr, 37, and Jennifer Bourgeois, 31, running crab traps in the area with two different colored corks.

After stopping the subjects, the agents learned that the crab traps that Shelhorse Jr. and Bourgeois were taking crabs from belonged to another commercial fisherman.

Agents cited Shelhorse Jr. and Bourgeois for unlawfully removing contents of a crab trap, which carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail if found guilty.

Agents also seized 63.5 pounds of blue crabs.

The agents participating in the case are Sgt. Jason Russo, Sgt. Kris Bourgeois and Sgt. Adam Young.

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

Special eNews: Announcing the 2013-2014 LEEC SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE PROJECT (SIP)

NEW GRANT OPPORTUNITY

Announcing the 2013-2014 LEEC SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE PROJECT (SIP)

This grant is being offered by the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission (LEEC), which is under the direction of Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF). The LEEC is offering this grant in order to encourage sustainability initiatives in the EPA Region 6 area. Volunteer opportunities, educator workshops, and other projects that have a fundamental environmental education component and clear sustainability message will be considered. Projects are to involve environmental steward ship initiatives that focus on voluntary commitment, behavior, and action that result in environmental protection or improvement. Open to local education agencies (accredited public & private schools), colleges, universities, state education or environmental agencies, or 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Maximum award: $5000. Round 1* Deadline: September 6, 2013 *Additional rounds will be offered as funding permits. Project funds are provided via a grant from the EPA Office of Environmental Education Sub-Grants Program to LDWF.

GUIDELINES: 2013-2014 LEEC Sustainability Initiative Project (SIP) Guidelines

APPLICATION: 2013-2014 LEEC Sustainability Initiative Project (SIP) Application

Contact Venise Ortego vortego@wlf.la.gov if you have questions about this grant opportunity.

Morgan City Man Arrested For Vandalizing LDWF Equipment

Release Date: 08/02/2013

A joint investigation involving the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office has resulted in an arrest of a Morgan City man this morning, Aug. 2, for his alleged role in vandalizing LDWF equipment on the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Aaron LeCompte, 18, turned himself into St. Mary Parish Office deputies and admitted to vandalizing two pieces of LDWF equipment and was subsequently booked into the St. Mary Parish Criminal Facility.
The investigation began when an LDWF bulldozer and utility vehicle (UTV) were first noticed missing on July 24 on the Big Island portion of the Atchafalaya Delta WMA.  LDWF staff found the missing equipment later that evening on Big Island.  The bulldozer was buried in mud and water up to the floorboard.  The UTV was found stuck in a ditch.
The total damage done to the equipment and the costs associated with retrieving both pieces of equipment are unknown at this time.
LeCompte is charged with two counts of unlawful use of a vehicle and simple criminal damage to property.  Unlawful use of a vehicle brings up to a $5,000 fine and 10 years in jail for each offense.  Simple criminal damage to property carries up to a $1,000 fine and two years in jail if the damage to the property is between $500 and $50,000.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Commission Sets Tentative 2013-2014 Migratory Waterfowl Season Dates

Release Date: 08/01/2013

Aug. 1, 2013 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) voted today to tentatively adopt proposed season dates, bag limits and shooting hours for the 2013-14 migratory waterfowl season.  The dates will be ratified by a declaration of emergency from the Commission, after approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recommended a 60-day season for ducks, coots and mergansers in the three zones in place for the 2013-14 hunting season. Shooting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise and extend until sunset.

In the West Zone, the first segment will open on Nov. 16 and close on Dec. 15.  The second segment will open on Dec. 21 and run through Jan. 19.  In the East Zone, the first segment will run from Nov. 23 to Dec. 8.  The second segment will start Dec. 14 and end Jan. 26. In the Coastal Zone, the first segment will open on Nov. 9 and close on Dec. 1, and the second segment will open on Dec. 14 and run through Jan. 19.
 
Youth waterfowl hunts will be held Nov. 9 and [Jan. 25 corrected] in the West Zone, Nov. 16 and Feb. 1 in the East Zone, and Nov. 2-3 in the Coastal Zone.

The daily bag limit on ducks is six and may include no more than four mallards (no more than two of which may be females), two pintails, two canvasback, one mottled duck, one black duck, three wood ducks, three scaup and two redheads.

The daily bag limit on coots is 15.  The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, of which only two may be hooded mergansers.  The merganser limits are in addition to the daily bag limit for ducks.

The possession limit on ducks, coots and mergansers is three times the daily bag limit.

Light geese and white-fronted geese will have a 74-day season.  The first segment in the West Zone will open on Nov. 16 and close on Dec. 15.  The second segment in the West Zone will run from Dec. 21 to Feb. 2.  The first segment in the East Zone will open on Nov. 9 and run until Dec.  8.  The East Zone second segment will run from Dec. 14 to Jan. 26.  In the Coastal Zone, the season on light and white-fronted geese will be Nov. 9 to Dec.1 and Dec. 14 to Feb. 2. The daily bag limit on light geese is 20, with no possession limit.  The daily limit on white-fronted geese is two, with a possession limit of six, however when the Canada goose season is open, the limit on white-fronted and Canada geese will be three per day of which no more than two can be white-fronted.

The Canada goose season in the West Zone will open on Nov. 16 and close on Dec. 15.  The second segment in the West Zone will run from Dec. 21 to Jan. 31.  The first segment in the East Zone will open on Nov. 9 and run until Dec.  8.  The East Zone second segment will run from Dec. 14 to Jan. 26.  In the Coastal Zone, the first segment will be Nov. 9 to Dec.1 and Dec. 14 to Jan. 31.

There will not be a Canada goose season in a small area of southwest Louisiana. That closure zone includes the following area: Beginning at the Texas state line, proceeding east along Hwy 82 to the Calcasieu Ship Channel, then north along the Calcasieu Ship Channel to its junction with the Intracoastal Canal, then east along the Intracoastal Canal to its juncture with LA Hwy 82, then south along LA Hwy 82 to its juncture with Parish road 3147 to Freshwater  Bayou Canal, then south to the Gulf of Mexico, then west along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico to the Texas state line, then north to the point of beginning at LA Hwy 82.  Open waters of Lake Arthur and the Mermentau River, from the Hwy 14 bridge southward, will also be closed to Canada goose hunting.

The daily limit for Canada geese is three dark geese of which no more than two can be white-fronted geese.  The possession limit is nine for Canada geese.

The Statewide Conservation Order for light geese will open the first segment in the West Zone on Dec. 16 and run to Dec. 20, and the second segment will run from Feb. 3 to March 2.  The first segment in the East Zone will run from Dec. 9 to Dec. 13, and the second segment will run from Jan. 27 to March 2.  The first segment in the Coastal Zone will run from Dec. 2 to 13, and the second segment from Feb. 3 to March 2.  During this time, only snow, blue and Ross geese may be taken and daily bag and possession limits are eliminated.  The use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns is allowed.  Shooting hours during the Conservation Order begin one-half hour before sunrise and extend until one-half hour after sunset.

Rails and gallinules may be taken from Nov. 9 to Jan. 1.  For King and Clapper rails, the daily limit is 15 in the aggregate with a possession limit of 45.  Sora and Virginia rails have a daily limit of 25 in the aggregate and a possession limit of 75.  Gallinules have a daily bag limit of 15 with a possession limit of 45.

Snipe season will open in the West Zone with the first segment from Nov. 9 to Dec. 15, and the second segment from Dec. 21 to Feb. 28. In the East Zone, the first segment will run from Nov. 9 to Dec. 8, with a second segment running Dec. 14 to Feb. 28.  The coastal zone’s first segment is from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1 and second segment is from Dec. 14 to Feb. 28.  The daily bag limit is 8 and the possession limit is 24.

An extended falconry season for ducks, rails and gallinules will take place from Nov. 4 to Feb. 2.

For more information, contact Larry Reynolds at 225-765-0456 or lreynolds@wlf.louisiana.gov.

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