L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

Louisiana Boaters Can Take Free Boating Safety Course at Home

Release Date: 06/21/2011

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now offering a new online boating safety course provided by the BoatUS Foundation.  The course can be found at www.BoatUS.org or www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

The new online course is approved by LDWF and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and allows Louisiana boaters to get their safe boating certification at no cost in the comfort of their own home.

"The department wants to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to get their boating safety certification," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "Since the course is free and people can take it at home, we want to encourage everybody to give it a try even those that don't need their certification.  This free online course will teach new boaters how to become safer on the water and old boaters some new tips."

Louisiana boaters born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 40,000 boaters during that time.

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating incidents that result in fatalities than states that have no boating education program.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

With the free online course, those looking to get certified now have three options to choose from: the traditional classroom course taught in one day, the free online course from BoatUS.org and an online course for a small fee from boat-ed.com.

The free online course and exam is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.

“We’ve loaded the course with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters, sailors and anglers an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. “It includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as visual distress signals, how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent and extinguish fires aboard your boat, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out.”

Upon successful completion of the course, boaters print out their own certificate of completion as proof of boater education.

About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. To make a tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation.

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

L.D.W.F. to Accept Public Bids for Premier Waterfowl Hunting Leases at White Lake

Release Date: 06/15/2011

Agricultural and hunting leases up for competitive public bid summer 2011

June 15, 2011 – Hunting and agricultural leases on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area will be open for competitive public bid in mid-summer 2011, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Nearly 35,000 acres of the 71,000-acre property will be available as existing leases expire.

“While we are very grateful to our current leaseholders who have all been good stewards of the land, we have a responsibility to the citizens of Louisiana to allow all who would like a hunting or agricultural lease the opportunity to bid on it,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “Opening these leases up for competitive public bid ensures that the state will get fair market value for this land, as well as responsible tenants.”

Public waterfowl hunts and lease revenues offset LDWF’s operational costs to maintain the White Lake WCA acreage and facilities which exceed $1 million annually. The department is also facing erosion abatement costs along the Intracoastal Waterway that must be addressed.

The bid packets detailing land use stipulations and minimum per acre lease costs will be available July 17. Interested parties will have access to bid details online via the LDWF website or by mail upon request. Completed bid packages must be returned to LDWF by close of business on August 17. Following review of all bids submitted, winning bids will be announced in September.

To review the parcels and acreage totals that will be available during the bid process or request more information, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/white-lake-leases on the LDWF website. Anyone without access to the LDWF website can call 225-765-2812 or send a letter of request to:

White Lake Wetlands WCA Bid Process 2011
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
P. O. Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000

LDWF is currently working to secure an assessment of local leases values, which will aid in establishment of minimum bid values. Agricultural practices will also have to be maintained by those awarded leases in September. The term for all new leases will be 10 years with annual lease payments required.

LDWF’s public waterfowl hunts, including the annual youth hunt, lottery hunts and corporate hunts, will still be offered by the department on the White Lake property as they have been since 2005. Plans have been made to expand public hunting opportunities beginning this fall.

LDWF began management of White Lake Preserve in 2005 as part of a transition agreement entered into between White Lake Preservation, Inc., and the state of Louisiana, and approved by BP America Production.

The property, near Gueydan in Vermilion Parish, was donated to the state in 2002 by BP and the transfer of management authority was mandated by legislation passed during the 2004 session. The original donation framework granted management control to White Lake Preservation, Inc., a non-profit charitable entity overseen by a designated board. Legislative action, approved in Act 613, placed property management decision-making under the control of LDWF and a 10-member advisory board appointed by the governor.

To request a lease packet or inquire about the stipulations of the competitive bid process, please contact Buddy Baker at 225-765-2812 or bbaker@wlf.la.gov. For all media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Offering Safe Boating Patrol Ride Along Opportunities For Media Members For Operation Dry Water

Release Date: 06/15/2011

 

What: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 24-26 with increased patrols for operating or driving a boat while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement and boating safety.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.

When: LDWF is offering safe boating ride along opportunities the week before the Operation Dry Water weekend from June 20 to the 24.  To schedule a media ride along opportunity on a safe boating patrol, please contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465.

Where: Statewide

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

LOUISIANA SALTWATER SERIES HEATS UP WITH TEMPERATURES

Release Date: 06/13/2011

 

June 13, 2011 – As temperatures rise, fishing action heats up all across Louisiana, including at the Louisiana Saltwater Series Fishing Tournament.  The series, hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), continues to its next scheduled tournament site on June 18, 2011, in Delacroix, La., at Sweetwater Marina.  The series is dedicated to catch-and-release saltwater angling through a series of agency-sponsored fishing tournaments.

The series was developed by LDWF in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation to promote conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources and targets one of Louisiana’s most valuable sport fish, redfish.  

The grassroots-based tournament provides anglers with the opportunity to give back to the resource.  Contestants vie for cash prizes and test their skills while enjoying the thrill of the competitive sport. 

Thus far, the competition has attracted over 266 local anglers and more than 252 fish have been tagged.

Each series includes two-man teams with a $200 entry fee for each event. For teams consisting of three members, only two of the members may be 16 or older.  The tournament is a 100 percent payout series.

This year, a youth division was established to introduce young anglers to the sport of fishing, and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. Participants under 16 years of age will compete against one another in a separate category for trophy catch; all youth anglers will be recognized. 

The 2011 series is comprised of six fishing events and a championship. Tournament locations are scheduled across the coast.  The remainder of the 2011 tournament schedule is as follows: 

  •  July 23 Slidell, Dockside Bait and Tackle/The Dock;
  •  August 20 Port Fourchon, Moran’s Marina; and
  • Championship October 7 and 8 Empire, The Delta Marina.

Online registration for the tournament will close on Thursday, June 16 at noon, but those interested in participating can register at Sweetwater Marina from 4:45 to 5:45 a.m., the morning of the event.  Only cash or checks will be accepted for payment of registration fees the morning of the event. 

Food will be provided during weigh-in for all registered participants. 

For complete information, including rules, regulations and entry forms go to www.lasaltwaterseries.com

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 more information contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-5113.

LDWF Reopens Portion of Atchafalaya Basin To All Boat Traffic

Release Date: 06/13/2011

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has reopened all boat traffic for a four-mile long stretch in the Atchafalaya Basin in St. Martin Parish starting at noon today, June 13.

The department closed an area from the Henderson levee on the west side to the Butte La Rose levee on the east side to all boat traffic on May 26.  The width of the previous closure ran from the Interstate 10 Bridge on the south side to a line 1/2 a mile north of the bridge on the north side.

The closure area was due to the high water conditions that were caused by the opening of the Morganza Spillway.  The elevated water in the area put the Entergy high voltage electrical transmission lines that run from the Henderson levee to the Butte La Rose levee at a dangerous clearance level for boat traffic.

With water conditions slowly declining in the basin, the department has determined that the power line is now high enough above the water for boat traffic to safely travel under the line.

The reopened area consists of the 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.

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

Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Scheduled to Meet June 14, 2011

Release Date: 06/10/2011

The Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council will meet Tuesday, June 14 at 1:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting in the Louisiana Room is as follows:

      1. Roll Call

      2. Approval of Minutes of March 15, 2011

      3. Welcome and Opening Comments from Chairman

      4. Enforcement Division Report

      5. Office of Fisheries: Report on Spillway Floodwaters in Lake Pontchartrain and the Atchafalaya Basin

      6. Office of Wildlife: Report on Flood Impacts to the Atchafalaya Basin and Batture Lands

      7. Office of Fisheries: Report on the Aquatic Vegetation Control Program

      8. HB 477: Expropriation from Artificial Reef Trust Fund - Discussion

      9. Sector Separation - Discussion

    10. Set Next Meeting Date

    11. Receive Public Comments

    12. Adjournment

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

LOUISIANA ARTIFICIAL REEF COUNCIL TO MEET

Release Date: 06/09/2011

 

The Artificial Reef Council has scheduled a meeting for 1:00 p.m. June 13, 2011 in the Louisiana Room of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

  1. Introduction                      
  2. Approval of minutes
  3. Program Update
  4. To consider Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s June 2, 2011 request to fully utilize the Artificial Reef Fund and remove the Artificial Reef Council’s January 21, 2005 motion to preserve a base fund.
  5. To discuss the development of inshore and nearshore artificial reef plans.
  6. Presentation on the use of reclaimed oyster shell and recycled concrete for constructing inshore and nearshore artificial reefs.
  7. Other business
  8. Public comments
  9. Council action
  10. Adjourn

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 Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.govor (225) 610-2363.

Construction Completed on Louisiana’s Largest Limestone Inshore Artificial Reef

Release Date: 06/07/2011

Construction Completed on Louisiana’s Largest Limestone Inshore Artificial Reef
Construction Completed on Louisiana’s Largest Limestone Inshore Artificial Reef

 

CCA, LDWF and partners complete historic project at Independence Island Reef

JUNE 7, 2011- The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) have completed construction on Independence Island Reef, believed to be the largest limestone inshore artificial reef project ever in Louisiana. Work crews finished the job on Monday afternoon.

“This project is the result of nearly two years of hard work and dedication by CCA volunteers, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and NOAA,” said David Cresson, CCA Louisiana Executive Director. “We are so appreciative of all of them for their incredible commitment to this important project. Anglers and their families will enjoy the benefits of this reef for generations.”

“The recreational fishing industry has sustained a number of challenges over the last six years – hurricanes, the BP oil spill and recent flood waters from the Mississippi River have and will continue to impact our inshore reefs along Louisiana’s coast,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “Projects like this one are an essential component in restoring our recreational fisheries. We are incredibly grateful for Governor Jindal, Secretary Barham, CCA and of all our partners for their leadership in what is an essential effort to rebuild areas along our coast that have been damaged by erosion.”

Nearly 8,000 tons of limestone were dropped from barges onto four acres about three miles Northeast of Grand Isle, where Independence Island was once located. The total site acreage is more than 50 acres. The center of the reef is located at 29° 18' 26.98" N, -89° 56' 01.01"W and will be marked by several mooring buoys.  The buoys will be deployed later this month.

Cresson also thanked a number of additional partners who helped make the project possible, namely Shell Oil Company, The Paul Candies Family, Vulcan Materials and Bertucci Contractors.

“Without their generosity and their commitment to conservation, this project would not have been possible,” Cresson said.

Shell Oil Company made a lead gift to CCA Building Conservation Program and helped announce the project last December.

“Shell is proud to have been part of this project through CCA’s Building Conservation Program,” said John Hollowell, Executive Vice President, Deep Water for Shell Upstream Americas.  “Shell remains committed the Gulf Coast and the people who live there, so the Independence Island Reef project was a great way for us to give back.”

Funding for the project was also made available through LDWF’s Artificial Reef Development Fund.

CCA Conservation Committee Chairman John Walther says he expects the reef to start holding fish in the coming months.

“Reefs we have built in the past have proven to provide great habitat for our favorite species, like speckled trout and redfish,” said Walther. “I expect anglers will be landing nice catches from the new reef before the end of the summer.”

CCA Louisiana is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the state. With more than 30,000 members and volunteers in 24 local chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977. Visit CCA at www.CCALouisiana.com for more information, on Facebook or Twitter @CCALouisiana.

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 contact Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

June 11-12 Free Fishing Weekend Provides Opportunity to Enjoy Louisiana's Outdoors

Release Date: 06/06/2011

June 6, 2011 – Louisiana’s “Free Fishing Weekend” provides a great opportunity for Louisiana citizens and visitors to enjoy the state’s bountiful fisheries resources on June 11 and 12.

The event is part of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) efforts to attract more participants into the ranks of licensed fishermen.  Fishing license fees support LDWF's conservation efforts including habitat management.

The promotional fishing dates offer novices, and anglers who haven’t been on the water recently, an opportunity to experience recreational fishing in fresh or salt water without the purchase of a recreational fishing license. 

"The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission waives the fishing license requirement once a year to encourage the public to participate and we hope  licensed recreational fishermen use this weekend to introduce someone to this outdoor activity that can last a lifetime," said John Sturgis, LDWF education manager.

In conjunction with Free Fishing Weekend, LDWF and the Office of State Parks will host Family Fishing Day on Saturday, June 11 at the following sites: Bogue Chitto State Park, Franklinton; Chicot State Park, Ville Platte; Lake D’Arbonne State Park, Farmerville; and within New Orleans City Park. Family Fishing Day at these park sites will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear for pier or bank fishing. LDWF will provide basic fishing gear for anyone needing gear for the day.

Entrance fees at the three state parks hosting Family Fishing Day will be waived on June 11. For information and directions to all Louisiana State Parks and New Orleans City Park, visit www.lastateparks.com.

 

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, contact John Sturgis at 225-763-5448 or jsturgis@wlf.la.gov.

 

LDWF, LSU Begin Initial Phase of Oyster Reef Rehabilitation

Release Date: 06/02/2011

 

June 2, 2011 - Today, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists along with Louisiana Sea Grant scientists, deployed more than 100 million oyster larvae and 500,000 oyster spat (or immature oysters approximately one-quarter inch in size.)  This joint effort between LDWF and Louisiana State University (LSU), is part of a $500,000 grant provided to LSU to help rehabilitate vital oyster grounds impacted by hurricanes in the last six years. 

The oyster larvae and spat were released in the Hackberry Bay Public Oyster Seed Reservation, located in north Barataria Bay.  The specimens were deployed on test plots of reef to enable biologists to track progress.

This effort is the first of many ventures to help rehabilitate Louisiana’s oyster grounds.  The state plans to institute similar deployments of larvae and spat on other public grounds and private leases. 

Figures prior to the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010 indicate that Louisiana produces approximately one-third of all oysters harvested in the U.S. and 50 percent of oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico.  

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 contact Laura Wooderson with LDWF at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or 225.610.2363.

 

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant (www.laseagrant.org) has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant Program.

For more information about Louisiana Sea Grant contact Roy Kron at (225)578-6451 or rkron@lsu.edu

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