Flood 2011

LDWF Closes Portion of Atchafalaya Basin To All Boat Traffic

Release Date: 05/25/2011

May 25, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close all boat traffic for a four-mile long stretch in the Atchafalaya Basin in St. Martin Parish starting at 6 a.m. on May 26.

The closure area length is from the Henderson levee on the west side to the Butte La Rose levee on the east side. The width of the closure is from the Interstate 10 Bridge on the south side to a line half a mile north of the bridge on the north side.

The closure area is due to the current high water conditions that are caused by the opening of the Morganza Spillway. The elevated water in the area has put the Entergy high voltage electrical transmission lines that run from the Henderson levee to the Butte La Rose levee at an expected dangerous clearance level of seven feet for boat traffic.

These lower than usual electrical lines could be a deadly hazard for boaters. In order to avoid de-energizing the lines that would result in loss of electricity to many citizens and the Butte La Rose Welcome Center, LDWF decided to restrict boat traffic in the area described below.

The entirety of that portion of the Atchafalaya Basin Spillway between the West Protection (Guide) levee and the Butte La Rose levee on the west bank of the Atchafalaya River, which is south of a line running from 30.331556, -91.7881 to 30.349317, -91.723331 and which is north of a line running from 30.323706, -91.788605 to 30.342755, -91.7196.

Click here to view a map of the closure.

The closure will remain in effect until further notice.

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

Governor Jindal Requests Assistance from Dept. of Interior for Flooding Resulting from Morganza Spillway

Release Date: 05/19/2011

May 19, 2011 - Governor Bobby Jindal yesterday sent the below letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior requesting consideration of available assistance and recovery programs for Louisiana recreational and commercial fishing, hunting, and eco-tourism industries.

 

May 18, 2011
 
The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary
US Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N. W.
Washington, DC 20240
 
Dear Secretary Salazar:
 
In recent days, the US Army Corps of Engineers began diverting high waters from the rising Mississippi River. As water from the Morganza Spillway is released into the Atchafalaya Basin, the impact to our rural communities and the industries upon which they rely will be dramatic and long-lasting. I am requesting your immediate consideration of available assistance and recovery programs for our recreational and commercial fishing, hunting, and eco-tourism industries.
 
The Atchafalaya Basin is a North American treasure with hunting, fishing, camping and other nature-based opportunities that simply are unparalleled. The basin, in surveys conducted by Louisiana State University, was named the number one recreational fishing destination in Louisiana. Countless industries rely on the Basin's fertile farmland, lakes, and wildlife management areas.
 
Approximately 1,400 commercial fishermen are dependent upon species harvested from the Basin, including the Louisiana crawfish. On average, more than 10 million pounds of crawfish are harvested commercially from the Basin each year representing approximately 95 percent of all crawfish harvested in Louisiana that makes it to market. Access to this essential Louisiana commercial industry will be hampered by damage to roadways, docks and access points that support the industry.
 
The same is true of other commercial and recreational fisheries in the Atchafalaya Basin. The basin is home to a large commercial catfish industry, frogging, crabbing, recreational crawfishing, waterfowl and large game hunting, trapping and nature-based tourism activities, such as birding and camping. All of these activities require access points for residents and tourists. The total economic impact of this region on Louisiana and the Gulf Coast is substantial. As a small snapshot, commercial fisheries’ landings in the Basin were valued at more than $28 million before even taking into account sales to consumers and supporting businesses. Confirmation of support from the Interior now is crucial to reassuring our residents, industries and communities that a recovery is possible.
 
Our state has worked diligently over the last six years and through four major hurricanes to restore commercial and recreational nature-based activities. Much of that progress, including the millions of fish stocked in the basin, may be lost after the flood waters recede. We will be aggressive in our efforts to rebuild these resources, even as we see fish kills, large-scale habitat loss, and restructuring of the Basin's ecosystem. We implore you to identify clear methods for helping to restore these resources that will provide our rural communities with the tools they need to rebuild.
 
Sincerely,
 
Bobby Jindal
Governor

 

 

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.

LDWF Closes Additional Access Roadways on Dewey Wills W.M.A.

Release Date: 05/16/2011

May 16, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed that portion of Hunt Road on Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) from the Diversion Canal south, effective immediately, due to floodwater impacts.

This closure is in addition to the May 13 closure of Muddy Bayou Road from Saline Bayou, eastward to Nolan Bayou Road, and Sandy Bayou Road southward from Highway 28, within the LaSalle Parish WMA.

The access road closures are being implemented in the interest of public and employee safety and to provide undisturbed refuge for wildlife species seeking high ground as flood waters rise.

The closure is necessary due to rising backwater from the Red River, associated with the record Mississippi River water levels. These roads will remain closed until further notice.

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 emergency updates from the State of Louisiana, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or follow along on Twitter at @GOHSEP and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gohsep.

State Closes Two Oyster Harvest Areas, Allows Some Oyster Relocation

Release Date: 05/13/2011

Special Bedding-Only Oyster Season Map

Precautionary closures protect human health; relocation of oysters helps prevent further damage to commercial industry

May 13, 2011 -- Today Louisiana officials announced precautionary closures of two oyster harvesting areas that are receiving large amounts of freshwater intrusion from the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway and from the Mississippi River.

Officials also announced that oysters in some areas east of the Mississippi River may be relocated from beds that will be inundated with fresh water to other seed grounds or oyster leases out of the way of the flood waters coming through the spillway into Lake Pontchartrain and into the Gulf of Mexico. A special permit is required for relocation of oysters from an area closed for traditional harvest to an area specifically for bedding purposes. The permit is not required if the harvest area is open for harvest.

Closures

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is closing oyster harvest areas 1 and 7. The closures will take effect at sunset, Saturday, May 14, 2011. Area 1 is in Lake Borgne in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, and Area 7 in Plaquemines Parish. Both oyster harvesting areas are on the east side of the Mississippi river.

Louisiana State Health Officer, Jimmy Guidry, M.D., and Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein signed the orders today. The closures will remain in effect until officials are able to verify the safety of the resource for human consumption. 

DHH is monitoring all impacted oyster beds and doing routine water testing to ensure public health. State officials have notified local oyster harvesters that work in the affected areas, as well as the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.

Resource Relocation

A special bedding-only season has also been announced by state officials today. At an emergency Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting, the commission voted to open a special "bedding-only" oyster season for public seed grounds in the Lake Borgne and Mississippi Sound area in St. Bernard Parish. The special season, which will open at one-half hour before sunrise on Saturday, May 14, 2011 and shall close at one-half hour after sunset on May 31, will allow the oyster industry an opportunity to relocate oysters ahead of possible freshwater impacts from the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. 

This special oyster season allows the harvest of seed oysters for bedding purposes only in the public oyster seed grounds within:

  • Harvest area 1
  • Harvest area 2
  • That portion of Harvest area 3 located north of a line of latitude 30 degrees 00 minutes 00.0 seconds N and east of a line of longitude 89 degrees 22 minutes 50.0 seconds W.

The special "bedding-only" season described above shall be opened with the following provisions:

1. All oysters on board a vessel actively harvesting oysters in the public seed grounds described above shall be presumed to have been taken from the public seed grounds described above.
2. No oyster harvester who is actively harvesting oysters in the public seed ground described above shall have on board his vessel any sacks or containers which may be used to hold oysters for transport to market.
3. No harvester shall sell, or transport with his vessel, oysters intended for market sales on the same day that he harvested seed oysters from the public seed grounds described above.

Harvestable quantities of oyster resources exist on these public oyster seed grounds. The opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway places those resources in imminent peril. As significant oyster mortalities could be experienced due to the anticipated depression, the special season is a necessary step to protect and preserve Louisiana's oyster resources. 

The Commission gave the Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Robert Barham, authorization to take emergency action as necessary to open or close public oyster areas based on the best available biological data.

Beginning Sunday, May 15, 2011, harvesters that seek to participate in the oyster relocation or "bedding-only" season in Harvest Area 1 must have a special permit that requires notification of where transplanted oysters will be relocated. A permit is not required on Saturday, May 14, 2011, because Harvest Area 1 will still be open. Oysters harvested and relocated to a new lease may not be harvested for consumption or for the public marketplace for at least 14 days -- ample time for the oysters to filter any contaminants. Permits can be obtained at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health Commercial Seafood Program, located at 628 North 4th St., room 156, in downtown Baton Rouge. The special permit requires a $5,000 bond. 

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook page.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with maintaining 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 emergency updates from the State of Louisiana, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or follow along on Twitter at @GOHSEP and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gohsep.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Announces Closures for State Wildlife Management Areas in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Release Date: 05/13/2011

May 13, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today a schedule of closures for state wildlife management areas (WMAs) within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley due to flood water impacts.

The site closures or WMA access road closures are being implemented in the interest of public and employee safety and to provide undisturbed refuge for wildlife species seeking high ground as flood waters rise.

Effective today, within Dewey Wills WMA in LaSalle Parish, a portion of Muddy Bayou Road from Saline Bayou, eastward to Nolan Bayou Road, and Sandy Bayou Road southward from Highway 28, has been closed to vehicular traffic.

Effective May 16, the following areas will be completely closed:

  • Attakapas Island WMA (St. Martin/St. Mary/Iberia Parishes)
  • Grassy Lake WMA (Avoyelles Parish)
  • Sherburne WMA (Pointe Coupee/St. Martin/Iberville Parishes)
  • Three Rivers WMA (Concordia Parish)

The closures will remain in effect until the flood waters recede and all WMA access roads are determined to be safe for vehicle passage.

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 emergency updates from the State of Louisiana, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or follow along on Twitter at @GOHSEP and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gohsep.

For more information contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Reminds Residents to be Mindful of Wildlife Displaced by Flooding

Release Date: 05/13/2011

May 13, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminds the public to be mindful of wildlife species forced into populated areas by flood waters from the Mississippi River and spillways.

Rising waters force wildlife from flooded habitat into adjacent residential and commercial areas where they may come into contact with residents. LDWF urges citizens to minimize contact with animals while they seek temporary refuge from their flooded home range.

Wild animals not posing a threat to humans should be left alone and should not be fed. Feeding wild animals will encourage those animals to remain in the vicinity of a new food source when they should be allowed to find natural habitat and food sources on their own.

Basic Tips:

  • Avoid areas where displaced wildlife has taken refuge.
  • Avoid interaction with and do not feed displaced wildlife.
  • Avoid roadways near flooded areas to reduce likelihood of disturbance and collisions with wildlife.

Species of Concern:

Black Bears: The Louisiana black bear remains on the federal Threatened and Endangered Species List. The black bear is a species of concern during a flood incident, when high water moves bears out of their habitat within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. For assistance with black bears that may be forced into populated areas by flood waters, call 1-800-442-2511 toll free.

Alligators, Snakes: Flood waters will carry reptiles into populated areas where they may not normally be noted in significant numbers. Following the impact of flood waters, exercise extreme caution when salvaging possessions from flooded areas. Wildlife, especially reptiles, may remain in flooded areas and pose a safety threat.

Poisonous snake species in Louisiana include the canebrake rattlesnake, the copperhead, the cottonmouth, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the harlequin coral snake, the pygmy rattlesnake and the Texas coral snake. For more information on snake species found in Louisiana, including frequently asked questions, visit LDWF's website at this link: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/resource/snakes-louisiana.

Deer, Feral Hogs: Deer and feral hog populations within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley represent the two large quadruped species that may appear in populated areas in significant numbers as flood waters move wild animals out of natural habitat. As is the case with all wild animals, how these species will react to humans in close contact situations is unpredictable. LDWF recommends allowing these species, when sighted individually or in groups, to move unimpeded through flooded areas as they seek higher ground.

For assistance with these, or any other wildlife species, that endanger human health or safety, call the following LDWF field offices at:

  • Baton Rouge 225-765-2800
  • Hammond 985-543-4777
  • Monroe 318-343-4044
  • New Iberia 337-373-0032
  • Opelousas 337-948-0255
  • Pineville 318-487-5885

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 emergency updates from the State of Louisiana, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or follow along on Twitter at @GOHSEP and Facebook at www.facebook.com/gohsep.

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