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LDWF News Release

PARTIAL RE-OPENING OF SEED GROUNDS IN MISSISSIPPI SOUND AND LAKE BORGNE FOR OYSTER TRANSPLANT

Release Date: 03/29/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has announced that a portion of the Public Oyster Seed Grounds in Mississippi Sound and Lake Borgne shall re-open at one half hour before sunrise on Friday, April 1, 2016 and shall close at one-half hour after sunset on Thursday, April 14, 2016.  This re-opening is for the purpose of conducting a permitted transplant, or relay, of live oysters for bedding purposes only from waters within the Public Oyster Seed Grounds further described in the map here which are currently classified as “closed” by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH).  All individuals found harvesting in this area must possess a valid LDHH Oyster Transplant Permit.

The Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is authorized to take emergency action to re-open Public Oyster Seed Grounds and Reservations if sufficient quantities of oysters are available, to adjust sack limits and sacking-only areas, and to take emergency action as necessary to close this area if it is found that excessive amounts of non-living reef material is present in transplant loads.

Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

LDWF Reopens Roads on Joyce and Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Areas

Release Date: 03/28/2016

March 28, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has reopened all roads in the Joyce and Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Areas with the exception of a portion of Boyce Tower Road on Maurepas Swamp WMA. That portion of the road, closed near the bridge on Boyce Tower Road, is expected to be opened later this week.
 
The roads in these WMAs have been closed since March 15 due to flooding caused by heavy rain.
 
Joyce WMA is a 27,487 acre tract located in southern Tangipahoa Parish five miles south of Hammond. For more information on the WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2774.

Maurepas Swamp WMA, which consists of 122,098 acres, is located approximately 25 miles west of New Orleans and along the south shore of Lake Maurepas. The WMA includes property in Ascension, Livingston, St. John the Baptist, St. James and Tangipahoa parishes. For more information on the WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2791.

For more information, contact Forest Burks at fburks@wlf.la.gov or 985-543-4781.

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AMENDED - Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet

Release Date: 03/24/2016

 

News Release

 

For Immediate Release
March 24, 2016

 

Contact: Rene LeBreton

Public Information
LDWF

(504) 286-8745

rlebreton@wlf.la.gov

 

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.

LDWF Headquarters

2000 Quail Drive, The Louisiana Room

Baton Rouge, LA 70898

AMENDED AGENDA:

 

I.         Roll call and introduction of guests

II.        Approval of March 2, 2016 Meeting Minutes and March 29, 2016 agenda

III.       Treasury Report

A.      Oyster Tag Sales

B.      LOTF Financial Report

IV.         Committee Reports

A.      Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee  (Mitch Jurisich)

B.      Enforcement (Captain Chad Hebert)

C.      Legislative (Jakov Jurisic)

D.      Research

E.      Coastal Restoration (Dan Coulon)

F.       Marketing (LDWF)

G.      Health (Lance Broussard)

H.      Sustainability (LDWF)

I.        Professionalism (LDWF)

J.       Aquaculture

K.      Oyster Lease Moratorium Lifting Committee (John Tesvich)

V.         New Business

A.    Legislative Update (LDWF)

B.    Discussion of the VMS Cargo Vessel Requirements- Brad Robin

C.    Discussion of  the ‘Taste of the Senate Event’- Mitch Jurisich

VI.        Public Comment

VII.       Set Next Meeting

VIII.      Adjourn

  

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.  To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6854380050228477188

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.

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LDWF Closes Some Roads at Richard K. Yancey Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 03/23/2016

March 23, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed several roads at Richard K. Yancey Wildlife Management Area (WMA), including Goose Lake Road, Lac-A-Sostien Road, Ross Road, Catfish Bayou Road, Dobbs Bay Road, Blount Road at the Patton Lake Loop trail and all roads on the east side of the Mississippi River levee.
 
The Cheney Lakes Year Round ATV trail has also been closed.
 
Increasing water levels in associated river systems has caused backwater flooding on these thoroughfares. Once the water recedes, LDWF will inspect, repair and reopen the roads when they are safe for travel. 
 
Richard K. Yancey WMA is located approximately 35 miles south of Ferriday on Louisiana Hwy. 15 in lower Concordia Parish. 

For information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/36994 or contact Tony Vidrine at 337-948-0255 or tvidirne@wlf.la.gov or Cody Haynes at 337-948-0255 or jhaynes@wlf.la.gov.

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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.

 

Baton Rouge, LDWF Wants You to Get Out and Fish!

Release Date: 03/22/2016

(March 22, 2016)  - Join the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and BREC on Saturday, April 23 at the Burbank Soccer Complex in Baton Rouge for the next installment of the agency’s Get Out and Fish! community fishing event series.  Baton Rouge is the newest urban fishing location to host the event.  
 
Prior to the event, the Department will stock 1,000 pounds of adult channel catfish to guarantee hours of non-stop fishing action.
 
This free event offers fun fishing activities for all ages including a mobile touch tank, casting inflatable, appearances by Robbie the Redfish and more. The first 100 pre-registered participants will receive a free goody bag.  In addition, every participant will be entered into a raffle drawing to win prizes. Lunch will be provided by the BREC Foundation and beverages by Coca-Cola of Baton Rouge.
 
Fishing competition categories include heaviest channel catfish and heaviest “other” fish. Age divisions include Little Angler (ages 8 and under), Junior Angler (ages 9-15) and Adult Angler (ages 16 and older). Anglers 16 and older must possess a valid Louisiana fishing license.
 
Online registration is available here. Participants should bring their own gear, bait, tackle and ice chest in which to hold your catch.
 
The Get Out and Fish! Program seeks to increase the number of people with access to quality fishing. The program intends to recruit new anglers to the sport of fishing and promote outdoor activities for future generations.
 
Previous event sites include Girard Park Pond in Lafayette, Zemurray Park Pond in Hammond and Sidney D. Torres Memorial Park in Chalmette.
 
This event is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.  The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with LDWF and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fish resources.
 
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.la.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 
For more information on Get Out and Fish! Program, contact Danica Williams at dwilliams@wlf.la.gov or (504) 628-7282.  

LDWF Botanist Chris Reid’s Work to Save Louisiana’s Remaining Coastal Prairie Recognized by Louisiana Wildlife Federation

Release Date: 03/21/2016

LDWF botanist Chris Reid has worked to save Louisiana's remaining coastal prairie land.
This photo of Louisiana coastal prairie was taken in October of 2014, the result of a May 2014 prescribed burn.
LDWF botanist Chris Reid oversees a prescribed burn on coastal prairie land.

March 21, 2016 - The fight to stave off extinction of Louisiana’s remaining coastal prairie might be viewed as an uphill battle, at best.
 
But it’s a fight Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries botanist Chris Reid has taken on with passion. His work has been recognized by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation as an important contribution to Louisiana conservation. Chris has been selected to receive the 2015 Professional Conservationist of the Year Award for the 52nd Governor’s State Conservation Awards program, set for April 2 in Baton Rouge.
 
Prior to the late 1800s, coastal prairie, found extensively in southwest Louisiana, amounted to approximately 2.5 million acres. This once-expansive native grassland is an extension of tall-grass prairies from the eastern Great Plains.
 
Since that time, almost all Louisiana coastal prairie land has been plowed and converted to agriculture. The estimated amount of coastal prairie remaining on the landscape today is 5,000-6,000 acres, nearly all of which is found on private lands.
 
Despite this drastic reduction in acreage, Reid is convinced something substantial can still be done to save Louisiana’s coastal prairie.
 
Most remaining Louisiana coastal prairie is found near Lake Charles, where prairie remnants are primarily used for cattle grazing. This land use may well have prevented the complete loss of this habitat in the state.
 
These prairie rangelands have never been plowed but are degraded. Some of the main prairie grasses have apparently been overgrazed by cattle.  Also, invasion of prairies by trees and shrubs due to lack of adequate prescribed burning is a problem.
 
“We went out to a prairie remnant on a ranch in southwest Louisiana and it was about the second or third one that I had gone to,’’ said Reid, part of the LDWF’s Natural Heritage Program. “And that’s when the light went off. It dawned on us that there was still a chance to do something really meaningful to benefit prairie conservation.’’
 
Since that revelation in 2012, Reid has worked tirelessly to restore coastal prairie. He has cultivated relationships with private landowners in southwest Louisiana to conserve prairies found on their property. Chris has had great success in restoring coastal prairie through several methods, but primarily through prescribed burning, a process of planning and applying fire to a predetermined area to produce desired to benefit prairie plants and control invading woody plants.
 
“Chris’s work to enhance the remnant prairie habitats is bringing visibility to a valuable effort,’’ said Randy Myers, LDWF assistant secretary for the Office of Wildlife.
 
Reid’s work with private landowners in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, all of whom are cattle ranchers, has been key in working to restore coastal prairie. Reid has obtained funding through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program, which is the primary funding source for the conservation of nongame species and their habitats.  These funds have been used to conduct both research and stewardship activities, including chemical brush control and prescribed burning. Funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program has also been secured to support this work through the next few several years.
 
Reid said the landowners with whom he’s partnered have already seen the numerous benefits of restoring this rare and unique native grassland.
 
“The landowners are interested for several reasons,’’ Reid said. “They are genuinely sympathetic to prairie conservation and care about the land. The practices we’ve employed improve the condition of the range, in addition to benefiting grassland plants and wildlife. Prescribed burning and brush control improves forage quantity and quality. The regrowth of grasses following prescribed burning provides excellent forage quality for cattle.’’
 
Since winter 2014, Reid’s coastal prairie SWG project accomplished prescribed burning on more than 2,000 acres, an impressive total considering the very limited remaining acreage of coastal prairie in the state.
 
“This project was only possible through the dedication of Chris and the support of Louisiana private landowners,’’ said Amity Bass, a biologist director for LDWF.
 
Coastal prairie also serves as a refuge for pollinators, primarily native bees, butterflies, and other insects.
 
“Pollinator conservation is an important issue on today’s landscape,’’ Reid said. “Prairie provides very high plant diversity and therefore abundant nectar and pollen resources for pollinators to sustain pollinator populations, as well as nesting habitat.’’
 
Reid said he’s driven to conserve Louisiana’s coastal prairie because it is a rich part of the natural heritage of Louisiana.
 
“The coastal prairie is an ancient grassland, and is part of our natural heritage just as historical buildings, cemeteries, battlefields, and American Indian sites are part of our cultural heritage,’’ Reid said. “So when we enhance these remnants, we’re really bringing out the true nature of Louisiana. It’s a reminder of what the real Louisiana is like. It really is magical, if given the opportunity to express itself.’’

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LDWF Will Host a National Archery in Schools Program Basic Instructor Certification Course at Florien High School

Release Date: 03/21/2016

LDWF Will Host a National Archery in Schools Program Basic Instructor Certification Course at Florien High School

March 21, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will host a National Archery in Schools Program basic instructor certification course Wednesday (March 23) at Florien High School in Sabine Parish.

This eight-hour course will provide necessary certification to instruct students at any school in Louisiana in the NASP curriculum. The course is open to all professional educators as well as conservation organization employees and volunteers. The course will run from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and there is no charge.

The National Archery in the Schools Program teaches international target style archery to students in grades 4-12 and is available to all schools. 

Anyone interested in attending can register online as www.naspschools.org.  For more information, contact Archery in Louisiana Schools state coordinator Robert Stroede at 318-484-2276 or rstroede@wlf.la.gov.

 

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AMENDED: Map Boundaries have been adjusted near MS / LA State line.

Release Date: 03/20/2016

 

News Release

 

For Immediate Release
March 20, 2016

 

Contact: Rene LeBreton

Public Information
LDWF

(504) 286-8745

rlebreton@wlf.la.gov

 

AMENDED: Map Boundaries have been adjusted near MS / LA State line.

Oyster Transplant Permits Available

Map boundaries have been amended near Mississippi / Louisiana state line.

March 20, 2016 - As part of an initiative by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to provide additional harvest opportunities for the Louisiana oyster industry, licensed Louisiana oyster harvesters will be permitted to move oysters from the public oyster seed grounds located in Lake Borgne and Mississippi Sound (DHH harvest areas 1 and 2) in early April and transplant them to their private leases for later harvest. This program is for the purpose of moving live oyster resource from restricted areas of the public oyster seed grounds to private leases.

 

To view a map of the proposed transplant area click here.

 

The two state agencies allow such transplants on a permit-only basis, and will only allow the transplant if the oyster season in this area of the public oyster seed grounds is reopened. Permit applications will be accepted March 14 through March 25, 2016 at 628 N. 4th Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 

The transplant permit fee is $100 and a performance bond of $5,000 must accompany the transplant application. Oyster fishermen who are granted permits will be allowed to transplant during daylight hours between April 1 and April 14, 2016 only, and each transplant vessel must be under the direct supervision of a commissioned officer. All costs associated with the commissioned officer are the responsibility of the person securing the permit. A map identifying the lease where the oysters to be transplanted will be bedded must accompany each permit application.  Incomplete applications will be rejected.

 

Oyster fishermen who receive permits will be allowed to transplant oysters taken from the public oyster seed grounds in Lake Borgne and Mississippi Sound only to a lease pre-approved by DHH. The oysters that are transplanted must remain on the lease until written approval for market harvest is obtained from DHH. No part of any lease on which shellfish have been transplanted may be utilized for direct market harvesting during this period. Shellfish taken for transplanting purposes shall not be laid down within 500 feet of any adjoining lease where shellfish may be taken for sale as food during the active period of the transplant.

 

The Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has the authority to close the oyster season in this area if excessive amounts of non-living reef material are found in the oyster loads that are being transplanted.

 

Applications for transplant permits may be obtained between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, please contact Gordon LeBlanc or Christopher Lemaire, DHH Commercial Seafood Program at 225-342-7539 or 225-342-7540.

 

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.

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LDWF Closes Turkey Season, Some Roads at Grassy Lake Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 03/18/2016

March 17, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed turkey season at the Grassy Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) due to high water levels from flooding.
 
Several roads have also been closed in the Grassy Lake WMA, including North Bayou Natchitoches Road, Bayou Natchitoches Road from the Bayou Des Sot Bridge to Smith Bay and Cas Cas Road.
 
The area is currently inundated with floodwater and water levels are forecast to continue to rise.
 
Increasing water levels in associated river systems have caused backwater flooding on these thoroughfares, resulting in unsafe travel conditions. Once the flood waters recede, road conditions will be assessed and necessary repairs accomplished prior to reopening to vehicular traffic. 
 
Grassy Lake WMA is located in northeastern Avoyelles Parish, approximately 12 miles from Bordelonville.
 
For information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2767 or contact Tony Vidrine or Cody Haynes at 337-948-0255 or tvidrine@wlf.la.gov or jhaynes@wlf.la.gov  .

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