Wildlife

Louisiana's First USDA Agricultural Land Easement to Be Placed on 100-Year-Old Rice Farm

Release Date: 09/13/2017

NEWS RELEASE

LOUISIANA’S FIRST USDA AGRICULTURAL LAND EASEMENT TO BE PLACED ON 100-YEAR-OLD RICE FARM

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Awards $500,000 grant to match federal funding and permanently protect Live Oak Farm in Vermillion Parish

VERMILION PARISH, La. (September 13, 2017) — The Conservation Fund has been awarded $500,000 through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Gulf Coast Conservation program to complete the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Land Easement project in Louisiana. This grant will be matched with funds from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program to acquire an easement that will permanently protect a portion of the 5,800-acre, family owned and operated Live Oak Farm, which has provided valuable agricultural and ecological resources for the community and native wildlife for the past century.

“We are pleased to see this project in Vermilion Parish get started as Louisiana’s first working agricultural protection easement under the USDA,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “Many states have participated in the USDA’s working lands protection programs for decades. It is beneficial that Louisiana is now utilizing this funding mechanism to directly support local farmers who are some of the greatest stewards of our natural assets.”

Located along the Vermilion River just north of the Intracoastal Waterway, Live Oak Farm is recognized as one of the southernmost remaining rice farms in Louisiana. In addition to rice, the farm produces cattle, crawfish and alligator. The farm is also a significant resource for migratory birds, with up to 70,000 waterfowl wintering on this acreage annually.

“The Conservation Fund expects to not only build on this leading commitment from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to deliver a successful outcome in Vermilion Parish, but also seeks a longer term mechanism to complete subsequent working lands protection projects across Louisiana,” said Ray Herndon, Director of the Central Gulf & Lower Mississippi River Region for The Conservation Fund. “We have assembled an exceptional group of partners to support both this initial effort and the bigger picture of identifying and securing dedicated funding for working lands protection across the state.”

“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is pleased to join NRCS and The Conservation Fund in protecting working lands in Louisiana,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO, NFWF. “Creative partnerships that leverage resources are critical to advancing conservation on the Gulf Coast.”

These USDA-NRCS Agricultural Land Easement funds—never previously utilized in Louisiana—will help deliver the permanent protection of priority working lands and high-quality wildlife habitats, while keeping them in private ownership. This approach to conservation aligns water quality benefits, habitat protection outcomes, and economic resiliency for Louisiana’s farmers. The Regional Conservation Partnership and Agricultural Land Easement programs were created by the U.S. Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill. The project is supported by Louisiana’s U.S. Congressional delegation representing Vermilion Parish—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, U.S. Senator John Neely Kennedy and U.S. Representative Clay Higgins.

“This project in Vermilion Parish is the first of its kind in our state, and stands to become a model for agricultural land preservation efforts across Louisiana,” said U.S. Representative Clay Higgins. “Being able to maintain active and economically viable farms while also promoting conservation efforts that benefit wildlife habitats is a win-win for our state. I’m looking forward to a successful implementation at the Live Oak Farm so that we can model and expand our conservation efforts.”

The management at Live Oak Farm is also directly contributing to improved water quality for the Vermilion River, currently classified as an impaired waterway. The producers have invested in a tail water recovery system on their rice fields, which captures suspended nutrients and sediments on site, ensuring less pollution downstream. Through this project, the producers will be able to continue implementing infrastructure that benefits water quality in the Gulf Coast region.

“Louisiana NRCS is very pleased that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, through this award, has recognized the importance of permanently protecting private agricultural lands in coastal Louisiana,” said Kevin Norton, Louisiana State Conservationist for NRCS. “NRCS, along with our partners, has sought to deliver the Agricultural Land Easement program here in Louisiana for many years, and, with this NFWF funding commitment and the partnership with The Conservation Fund and private landowners, we now have an opportunity to protect and preserve this important agricultural landscape.”

Vermilion Parish has seen a significant decrease in acreage designated as rice fields over the last 20 years. This trend represents a substantial threat to the migratory birds that rely heavily on flooded rice fields for wintering habitat. These flooded rice fields compensate for the loss of wetlands resulting from coastal erosion by providing critical resting and feeding habitat for Louisiana’s migratory birds. The working land easement at Live Oak Farm will protect and preserve the agricultural use of the site as well as its function as high-quality coastal habitat.

“Private lands are critical to adequately provide high-quality habitat to the wildlife of Louisiana,” states Jack Montoucet, Secretary of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). “The permanent protection, combined with exceptional management practices, on these private lands, complements LDWF’s efforts to provide adequate habitat to Louisiana’s wildlife populations. This partnership is to be commended, because LDWF cannot achieve its habitat conservation objectives without the complimentary stewardship of private landowners.”

With early support from the Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation, and additional commitments from the Land Trust for Louisiana, the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Foundation, and Ducks Unlimited, the existing partnership intends to deliver on a longstanding objective to support agricultural producers while providing the highest quality habitat for wildlife.

Photos: https://goo.gl/kjMUaz

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect nearly 8 million acres of land. www.conservationfund.org

White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area 2017-18 Marsh and Rice Field Waterfowl Lottery Hunts Announced

Release Date: 08/16/2017

Baton Rouge -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now accepting applications for 2017-18 marsh and rice field waterfowl lottery hunts on White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) in Vermilion Parish.

Marsh hunts are available on:

November 16, 25, 26 and 28;

December 21, 23, 29 and 30;

January 9 and 16.

Rice field hunts are available on:

November 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 19, 22, 25, 26, 29 and 30;

December 2, 3, 16, 17, 20, 23, 27, 29 and 30;

January  3, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, and 21.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and applications for both hunts must be received by 4:30 p.m. on September 20, 2017.

Applications may be obtained by contacting any of LDWF's field offices or by visiting the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/lottery-applications. Completed applications may be delivered in person to the LDWF headquarters building at 2000 Quail Drive, Room 418, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70808 or by mail to the same address. Please note on the envelope: Attention: White Lake Marsh (or Rice Field) Lottery Hunt, whichever is applicable.

Each application must include a non-refundable $5 administrative fee. The $5 fee must be paid by check or money order payable to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Successful applicants will be notified by mail.

Selected applicants will be allowed two guests for the rice field hunts and one guest for the marsh hunts. An additional payment of $225 will be required for the rice field hunts and $350 for the marsh hunts.

For more information on White Lake WCA marsh and rice field waterfowl lottery hunts, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400, ext. 1, or wsweeney@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/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

Free online training available for Louisiana trappers

Release Date: 08/15/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has partnered with the Louisiana Trappers and Alligator Hunters Association and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to provide a free, voluntary online trapper education course found at:
 https://conservationlearning.org/login/index.php
 
This course covers important topics such as Louisiana trapping regulations, best management practices, and trapping safety. It provides context for today’s trapping industry with a section dedicated to the history of trapping and a section on the role that trapping plays in furbearer and land management. It provides practical instructions on running a trap-line and covers the various types of traps and their uses as well as other trapping equipment. The last unit introduces the participant to the market value of furbearers and touches upon the processing of the fur, meat, and glands. A list of licensed Louisiana fur dealers is also included to assist new trappers entering the industry.
 
Trapper education is not mandatory in Louisiana, but the information provided in this free course can help current trappers improve their knowledge or provide new trappers with the basic background of the industry. The purpose of this course is to increase active trapper numbers, provide basic trapping knowledge, and teach ethical and law-abiding behavior, as well as to instill public confidence and maintain public support for trapping as a wildlife management tool.
 
For more information contact Jennifer Manuel at jhogue@wlf.la.gov or 337-373-0032.
 
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 email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

Roseau Cane Scale on the Delta

A small insect, or scale, known as the Roseau Cane Mealy Bug has decimated thousands of acres of Roseau cane in southern Plaquemines Parish and continues unabated.  The scale, native from China and Japan, has been identified as Nipponaclerda biwakoensis, commonly referred to as Phragmites Scale or Roseau Cane Mealy Bug. It has had severe effects on the dominant vegetation of the Mississippi River Delta. The rate at which it seems to be expanding and the severity of its impacts is alarming.

Roseau cane is a tall wetland grass that helps protect Louisiana’s bird foot delta.  More than 100,000 acres of Roseau cane dominated wetlands in the Mississippi River Bird Foot Delta has been affected by the scale as biologists continue to look for ways to stop its spread.  Unlike some marsh vegetation, Roseau cane stands up well to tropical storm events. It is one of the most erosion-resistant marsh plants on the bird foot delta. It also assists in building land by trapping sediment from the Mississippi River. The loss of it could lead to even more rapid land loss in the delta, turning what is now marsh into open water.

What also concerns biologists is that the scale could impact agriculture crops such as sugar cane and sorghum, according to Dr. Rodrigo Diaz, Assistant Professor in LSU’s Department of Entomology. He said it could have significant economic impacts to agriculture crops and native vegetation. 

Presentations by Leading Biologists from LSU and LDWF

               

Roseau Cane Scale Impacts on MS River Delta, D. Todd Baker – June 14, 2017 Biology and Ecology of the Roseau Cane Scale Rodrigo Diaz, LAWF Roseau Cane and Herbivory on the Delta Jim Cronin, LSU
Development of an integrated management program for control of the roseau cane scale, Rodrigo Diaz, JimCronin and Blake Wilson 

Photos of the Scale and its Damage

                    

               

 

     

Video and B-Roll

                       

         

Roseau Cane Mealy Bug Continues Destructive Path Through Southern Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 06/14/2017

June 14, 2017 – A small insect, or scale, known as the Roseau Cane Mealy Bug has decimated thousands of acres of Roseau cane in southern Plaquemines Parish and continues unabated, biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and LSU AgCenter said.

 

The scale, native from China and Japan, has been identified as Nipponaclerda biwakoensis, commonly referred to as Phragmites Scale or Roseau Cane Mealy Bug. It has had severe effects on the dominant vegetation of the Mississippi River Delta. The rate at which it seems to be expanding and the severity of its impacts is alarming, according to LDWF and LSU AgCenter biologists.

 

Roseau cane is a tall wetland grass that helps protect Louisiana’s bird foot delta. The severely impacted cane appears to be brown and mostly leafless, in contrast to the 10-foot tall robust leafy green cane normally seen this time of the year.

 

More than 100,000 acres of Roseau cane dominated wetlands in the Mississippi River Bird Foot Delta has been affected by the scale as biologists continue to look for ways to stop its spread.

 

“We could be witnessing a major habitat change on the Mississippi River Delta in the next year or so because of this,’’ said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “It could be devastating. We don’t really have an answer yet or the solution. But it’s clear that everyone needs to understand this could be a catastrophic problem and we need to put this on the front burner.’’

 

Todd Baker, Director in LDWF’s Coastal and Nongame Resources staff, said the scale was discovered only last fall and has advanced quickly. It has been spotted in Grand Isle and in other parts of Jefferson Parish.

 

“Roseau cane is one of the most robust and hardiest plants that I’ve come across,’’ Baker said. “It can live in three feet of water. It can be inundated for long periods of time. It can live out of water. It can tolerate 20 parts per thousand salinity. It can tolerate fresh water. You can burn it, you can spray it and it keeps coming back. The fact that this bug can damage it to the point that it has is amazing and disturbing.’’

 

Unlike some marsh vegetation, Roseau cane stands up well to tropical storm events. It is one of the most erosion-resistant marsh plants on the bird foot delta. It also assists in building land by trapping sediment from the Mississippi River. The loss of it could lead to even more rapid land loss in the delta, turning what is now marsh into open water.

 

What also concerns biologists is that the scale could impact agriculture crops such as sugar cane and sorghum, according to Dr. Rodrigo Diaz, Assistant Professor in LSU’s Department of Entomology. He said it could have significant economic impacts to agriculture crops and native vegetation.

 

“Roseau cane is a grass,’’ Baker said. “What is known is that where this scale is native (Asia) it gets into other grasses and reeds. It may attack other plants in the United States. Now that it is present in Louisiana, we don’t know what it may impact. It’s a threat but we simply don’t know if it will move into other vegetative species or not.’’

 

For video, go to: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/94d3wntdlkopjbd/AABczKmeQX2c9S4tPF7XYd9Ca?dl=0

 

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

LDWF Assistant Secretary Jimmy Anthony Commended for 40 Years of Service by the Louisiana Senate

Release Date: 03/23/2016

 

March 23, 2016 – Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Assistant Secretary of Wildlife Jimmy Anthony was honored by the state senate Tuesday (March 22) for 40 years of service to the department and state by Louisiana Senate Resolution 24.

Louisiana State Senator Francis Thompson of Delhi acknowledged Anthony, who retired from the department this week, for his service to the LDWF in personal privilege comments on the senate floor Tuesday. Thompson highlighted the many accomplishments Anthony has made to the state and agency during his tenure at LDWF.

Senate Resolution 24 commends Anthony for his critical role in the development of the Wildlife Restoration Act Program, Wildlife Conservation & Restoration Program and the Mineral Exploration Program. He also was praised for his role in Louisiana’s wildlife restoration, reforestation, wetland restoration, timber management and deer herd evaluations as well as other programs and projects on which he worked. 

In addition to his daily duties with LDWF, Anthony is credited for his service on numerous special committees and boards, including the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, the Arctic Goose Joint Venture, the Fish and Wildlife Trust Funds Committee, Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society Reservoir Committee and the Atchafalaya Basin Program. 

Anthony’s expertise was recognized around the country and he was, on numerous occasions, asked to address members of the United States Congress concerning issues related to wildlife. He also served as an adjunct biology professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, teaching classes on cell chemistry, genetics, evolution, species diversity and ecology to undergraduate students.

“The Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana commends Jimmy Anthony upon his retirement after 40 years of service with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and extends a special thank you to him for his longtime service to the state of Louisiana and its citizens,’’ said Sen. Thompson.

“The tremendous impact of Jimmy’s lifelong commitment to ensuring the natural resources of our state are available for future generations may never be fully known,’’ LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon said. “But the example he is leaving behind for the staff following in his footsteps will always be held in high regard within our agency.’’

Anthony will remain involved with wildlife-related programs during his retirement.

 

Deer Hunting Season to Reopen in Portion of Northeast and Central Louisiana on Saturday Morning 30 Minutes Before Sunrise

Release Date: 01/08/2016

Jan. 8, 2016 – Deer hunting season in areas of northeast and central Louisiana near the Mississippi River will resume Saturday (Jan. 9) 30 minutes before sunrise.

The closure, enacted Jan. 3 because of flooding of the Mississippi River, covered land from the Arkansas state line, east to U.S. 65 to Vidalia, La., and west of the Louisiana-Mississippi border. However, land from the levee to the Mississippi River in this area will remain closed until further notice.
Parishes affected by the closure include East Carroll, Madison, Tensas and Concordia.
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.la.gov or www.FishLA.org. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

2016 Turkey Season Lottery Hunt Applications Available

Release Date: 12/15/2015

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for the 2016 turkey season lottery hunts on state wildlife management areas.  The deadline for application submission is Friday, Feb. 5, 2016.

Regular turkey lottery hunts will be held on 10 state wildlife management areas (WMAs) this spring.  Youth lottery hunts will be held on 14 WMAs.
The application forms for these WMA hunts for adult and youth hunters are now available on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts . The forms list all lottery hunt dates and locations.

The 2016 wild turkey season will open March 26 on private lands in three designated areas with varying end of season dates as follows: Area A, March 26 - April 24; Area B, March 26 - April 17; and Area C, March 26 - April 10. For a map with all areas color-coded, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/turkey.

The statewide youth and physically challenged hunter weekend for private lands will be March 19-20. To access additional information on turkey season, review the 2015-16 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/regulations .

For more information, contact Cody Cedotal at ccedotal@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2361.

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.

World Champions Honored at Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Release Date: 10/02/2015

World Champions Honored at Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

On Thursday, Oct. 1 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recognized Louisiana student archers who participated in the 2015 National Archers in the School Program (NASP) World Archery Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. in July.

This year’s NASP World Tournament proved to be the largest ever held with nearly 5,000 student archers competing from five countries including the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Namibia.  Of those 5,000 students, 64 came from Louisiana and proudly represented not only their school but the entire state of Louisiana.

Benton Middle School, of Benton, La., were crowned as World Champions in the Middle School Division.   Benton Middle School also finished 3rd in the 2015 NASP National Tournament held in May in Kentucky.  Benton Elementary, who placed 4th at nationals this year and were last year’s World Champions, brought home their second World Championship becoming Louisiana’s first ever back-to-back World Champions.

Along with the world titles achieved by these teams, three individuals from Louisiana brought home World Championship titles as well.

Anna Robins of Benton Middle School finished 4th in the World in the middle school girls division.

Nathan Delill of Buckeye High School finished 3rd in the World in the middle school boys division.

Emma Bunch of Benton Elementary became Louisiana’s first-ever individual World Champion Archer placing 1st in the elementary school girls division.

In addition to being recognized at the LDWF commission meeting, these students received team and individual awards from the department recognizing their achievements.

The Archery in Louisiana Schools Program is a member of the National Archery in the Schools Program, which teaches international target archery to students in grades 4-12.  All students who attend school where the ALAS/NASP curriculum is taught become eligible to compete in State, National and World tournaments.   For more information regarding ALAS and how you can get a program started at your school contact the ALAS State Coordinator – Robert Stroede at rstroede@wlf.la.gov or (318)484-2276.

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