LDWF News Release

False River Remains Top Priority for LDWF

Release Date: 06/04/2013

(June 4, 2013) - The fishery of False River in Pointe Coupee Parish continues to remain a top priority for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  The Department continues to work with the Department of Natural Resources, Pointe Coupee Parish, local legislators, other state agencies and private citizens to address the health of the lake.

Representatives from each of these groups make up the False River Watershed Council, who was charged with developing a plan of action to make improvements to False River and its watershed.  The council recently released a report to the Louisiana Legislature, which includes actions that are currently underway as well as future projects that will be implemented when funding becomes available. 

As the council awaits additional funding from the legislature to initiate major construction projects, the Department continues to monitor fish populations and has implemented a recurring commercial fishing season.   The season allows commercial fisherman to remove the overabundance of rough fish, including buffalo, garfish and carp, in the lake. 

In addition, the Department has also ramped up fish stocking efforts in anticipation of future habitat improvement.  Since December of 2011, LDWF has stocked over 230,000 redear sunfish fingerlings, over 6,500 Florida largemouth bass fingerlings, and 301 adult Florida largemouth bass.  Redear sunfish and largemouth bass have historically been popular sportfish for False River. 

In an attempt to ensure greater survival, LDWF is taking a different approach to stocking bass, shifting their efforts from stocking greater quantities of smaller fish to stocking fingerlings and adults. 

As future projects are underway, Department biologists will continue to monitor any changes in fish populations. 

For more information about the False River Watershed Council plan please visit LADNR False River Restoration Page.

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 press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-2396.



June 13 Deadline Approaching for Alligator Hunting Bids on WMAs and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Properties for the 2013-2015 Alligator Harvest Seasons

Release Date: 06/04/2013


June 4, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) continues to accept bids for alligator hunting on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) properties for the 2013-2015 alligator harvest seasons.  Eligible alligator hunters are chosen through a bid system every three years on selected WMAs/USACOE properties.

Completed bid application forms must be received by 10 a.m. on June 13, 2013 in Room 240 of the LDWF Headquarters Building at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, La. 70808.

Bids for alligator hunting continue to be solicited for the following WMAs and USACOE properties: Grassy Lake, Spring Bayou, and Pomme de Terre (Avoyelles Parish), Attakapas (Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes), Sherburne - USACOE Lands (Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Martin Parishes), Dewey Wills (La Salle and Catahoula Parishes), Manchac (St. John Parish), Pearl River - North of Interstate 10,  Pearl River - Between Interstate 10 and US Hwy 90 and Pearl River - South of US Hwy 90 (St. Tammany Parish), Joyce (Tangipahoa Parish), Maurepas Swamp (St. John, St. James, Ascension, Livingston and Tangipahoa Parishes), Indian Bayou - USACOE property (St. Landry and St. Martin Parishes), Atchafalaya Delta (St. Mary Parish), Pointe-aux-Chenes (Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes), Salvador (St. Charles Parish) and Pass-a-Loutre (Plaquemines Parish).

A total of 29 alligator hunting opportunities are available for bid on 13 WMAs and 2 USACOE properties.  The number of alligator tags that will be issued to successful bidders in 2013 will range from 12 to 83 tags depending on area awarded.  For specific details on the number of alligator hunter opportunities and tags available by area, please see the public notice or bid application notification. 

Interested participants may review and print out the public notice and bid application notifications and forms from LDWF’s website at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-hunting, or request by phone at the phone numbers below, or request in writing from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2013-2015 WMA Alligator Harvest Bids, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, La. 70898-9000.

If additional information is needed, call the appropriate LDWF office (Hammond 985-543-4777, Opelousas 337-948-0255, Monroe 318-343-4044, New Iberia 337-373-0032, New Orleans 504-284-5264) or send an email to LAalligatorprogram@wlf.la.gov.

NO guiding/outfitting activities for sport alligator hunting will be allowed while conducting alligator harvest activities on WMAs/USACOE properties.  Selected hunters will not be allowed to participate in any television or reality show production.  Any video activity must be specifically approved by the Alligator Program Manager.

An individual can apply and bid on more than one WMA/USACOE property but will only be selected for one WMA/USACOE property.  Bidders applying for more than one area must fill out individual applications for each WMA/USACOE property.  Only one winner allowed per household.

Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to submit a bid:

1. Applicants must be a Louisiana resident at least 18 years of age.

2. Evidence of previous alligator hunting experience in Louisiana.

3. Ownership of or access to essential equipment for alligator hunting on the WMA/USACOE property they are bidding on.

4. Each applicant must be able to report to the WMA/USACOE property each morning until alligator tag quota is completed.

5. Ability to follow specific instructions issued by Department personnel.

6. Ability to maintain required records.

7. All applicants will be screened for past wildlife and criminal violations.  Applicants with felony convictions or with Class Two or above wildlife convictions, WMA/USACOE violations or littering within the last five years, as determined by the Enforcement Division, shall be disqualified.

Bid opening will be held at the LDWF Headquarters Building, 4th Floor Conference Room, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.  Winning bidders will be notified of selection by phone and are required to come in and sign a contract at a later date.  LDWF reserves the right to reject any and all bids.

For more information, contact Lance Campbell at 337-373-0032 or ljcampbell@wlf.la.gov.




LDWF Declares Another Victory for Louisiana Anglers in Red Snapper Regulation Battle

Release Date: 06/04/2013

Courts force feds to reconsider Louisiana’s Federal Season
June 3, 2013 – This past April, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, together with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, filed a joint lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Texas, challenging the emergency rule enacted by the National Marine Fisheries Service that would allow the NMFS regional administrator to significantly reduce the recreational red snapper season in federal waters off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. 
Last week, a judgment was rendered in favor of Louisiana and Texas that declares the emergency rule null and void. The ruling means that NMFS must recalculate the 2013 red snapper fishing season in federal waters off to be equal for all Gulf States. 
As a result of the ruling, Louisiana officials expect that additional days will be added to the current 24-day federal season, but await NMFS’ official announcement. The federal season began June 1, with a bag and possession limit of two fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length. 
“This battle with NOAA has been a long and tedious one, but we are glad to have persevered once again for the people of Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “Louisiana is the Sportsman’s Paradise, and we intend to take every action necessary to make sure it remains so.  It is my sincere hope, that as we move forward we can work with officials at NMFS and NOAA to make joint decisions on what is best for the waters we know and monitor so closely.”
Judge Andrew Hanen issued a 25-page opinion that carefully studied the issues of the emergency rule that could force a shortened snapper fishing season in federal waters off Louisiana.
In his ruling, Judge Hanen contends, “The emergency rule does not change the total catch allowed.  It does not enhance the conservation of red snapper in any way. All it does is redistribute the right to fish from Texas, Louisiana and Florida fishermen to the anglers of Mississippi and Alabama.”
He goes on to say, “The only rationale, regardless as how characterizes the underlying motive, behind the Emergency Rule is that NMFS is going to penalize the anglers living in the states that enact fishing seasons that do not match the federal season and reward those that do.  The NMFS should not be in the business of penalizing state.”
“I thank Judge Hanan for his unbiased and candid opinion regarding the measures NMFS was willing to take to penalize Louisiana anglers,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “Our federal counterparts thought they could use this heavy-handed approach to control regulations in Louisiana waters and that we would not fight back.  They were wrong and once again we have shown that you cannot lose when science and facts are on your side.”
The weekend-only Louisiana state red snapper season will resume following the completion of the federal season, with a bag and possession limit of three fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length.  A weekend is defined as a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Labor Day when Monday will be considered a weekend as well. 
For a complete transcript of the 25-page ruling, click here
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 press inquiries, contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.



Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting

Release Date: 06/04/2013

Louisiana Oyster Task Force

The Oyster Task Force Public and Private Grounds Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Friday June 7 at the UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, suite 210, New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

Friday, June 7, 9:30 A.M.

UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210, New Orleans


I.  Weights and Measures



LDWF Hopes to Lure Young Anglers This Weekend

Release Date: 06/03/2013

Louisiana Saltwater Series Hosts Youth Tournament in Grand Isle

(June 3, 2013) – Don’t know where to take your kids to fish during the Department’s  annual Free Fishing Weekend?  LDWF will host its second annual Louisiana Saltwater Series Youth Tournament, on Saturday, June 8 from 7:30 a.m. to 1p.m. at Grand Isle State Park, coinciding with the state’s annual weekend event. 

For two days each spring, the Department invites people to fish Sportsman’s  Paradise without having to purchase a license.  This year’s free days will be June 8 and 9.  

Load up the car with friends, family and fishing poles and enjoy the family-oriented event which will also include fish tagging demonstrations, casting lessons, fish ageing demonstrations, cast netting, fish prints and loads of prizes. 

“It is important to introduce kids to fishing at a young age, and these educational opportunities are a great way to get kids acquainted with fishing,” said LASS Tournament Director Mandy Tumlin.  “We want to ensure that this pastime continues as an important family tradition for our children and grandchildren.”

Youth age 15 and under can participate in the tournament for a $5 entry free.  Online registration at www.lasaltwaterseries.com is encouraged, but not required.  Day-of registration will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the first 50 registrants will be owners of brand new fishing rods and reels, courtesy of CCA of Louisiana.

Prizes will be awarded for both live and dead categories, and all fish must be caught from the shore/pier.  Each live fish brought in will be weighed, tagged and released as part of the Department’s Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program. 

Fishing equipment is not provided at this event, so please remember to bring your own gear and bait. 

The entry fee also includes a hot dog lunch, compliments of local sponsors including Friends of Grand Isle and the Grand Isle Community Development Team.  Tournament sponsors also include Shimano, PowerPro, Daybrook Fisheries, Plaquemines Parish, Mercury Marine, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Standard Mapping, Faux Pas Prints, Marsh & Bayou, Swamp Swatter, Frabill, Stick It Anchor Pins and YETI Coolers. 

For more information or to register, please visit www.lasaltwaterseries.com.

The Louisiana Saltwater Series is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.  The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana's wildlife and fish resources.

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) 765-2396.






Louisiana’s 11th Annual Environmental Awareness Student Art and Language Arts Contest Winners Announced

Release Date: 06/03/2013

June 3, 2013 – State winners have been announced for the 11th Annual Environmental Awareness Student Art and Language Arts Contest. This contest is sponsored by the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission (LEEC) through the generous support of the Alcoa Foundation. The Alcoa Foundation has sponsored this statewide program for the past 10 years. 

The winners were selected from 792 entries submitted by kindergarten through twelfth grade students representing ninety-four schools across the state. Students could submit entries in both art and language arts in four separate age categories. Art entries were required to be in color and participants could use a variety of media, including crayons, colored pencils, and watercolors. Language arts entries could be written as a story, reflection, creative narrative, or poetry. Entries were judged on artistic quality, creativity, and how well the piece represented this year’s theme, "Louisiana’s Natural Resources: What’s Important to You?

The Louisiana students will be honored for their winning entries at an awards reception to be held in Baton Rouge at the Governor’s Mansion on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. Secretary Stephen Chustz, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, will deliver the congratulatory address and Connie Conner, LEEC past chair, will serve as master of ceremonies. 

The students’ families, teachers, and principals are invited to attend the reception. Members of the contest judging panel, the LEEC, and Alcoa Foundation representatives will be in attendance to honor these outstanding students.

Prizes awarded to the contestants include $200 for first place, $100 for second place, and $75 for third place. Winning art and language art entries will be used to create the 2014 Environmental Awareness calendar, which will be distributed statewide. Winning language arts entries will be published in newspapers and winning art entries will be placed on billboards in the winners’ local areas. 

The 11th Annual Environmental Awareness Student Art and Language Arts winners are as follows:

Language Arts Winners

Group 1 (ages 5-7)

1st Emilee King, Chesbrough Elementary School, Tangipahoa Parish

Group 2 (age 8-10)

1st  Lakin Graham, Chesbrough Elementary School, Tangipahoa Parish

2nd  Owen Brouillette, Homeschooled, West Feliciana Parish

3rd Lizzie Robert, Isidore Newman School, Jefferson Parish

Group 3 (ages 11-13)

1st  Paycen Brouillette, Homeschooled, West Feliciana Parish

2nd  Clay Knight, Lockport Middle School, Lafourche Parish

3rd  Shayley Naquin, St. Gregory Catholic School, Terrebonne Parish

Group 4 (ages 14-18)

1st  Tara Guy, Mount Hermon School, Washington Parish

2nd  Brooke Lawson, Grace King High School, Jefferson Parish

3rd  Maddy McDade, DeRidder Jr. High School, Beauregard Parish 

Special Recognition         

Michelle Lee, Episcopal High School, East Baton Rouge Parish

Art Winners

Group 1 (ages 5-7)

1st  Noah Guidroz, Port Barre Elementary School, St. Landry Parish

2nd  Levi Graham, Chesbrough Elementary School, Tangipahoa Parish

3rd  Noah Katner, Lusher Charter School, Orleans Parish

Group 2 (age 8-10)

1st  Ashini Modi, South Highlands Magnet, Caddo Parish

2nd  Anna Johnson, Isidore Newman School, Jefferson Parish

3rd  Ethan Guidroz, Lockport Upper Elementary, Lafourche Parish

Group 3 (ages 11-13)

1st  Trenece Robertson, Port Barre High School, St. Landry Parish

2nd  Kyle Miller, S. P. Arnett Middle School, Calcasieu Parish

3rd  Christian Torres, Curtis Elementary, Bossier Parish

Group 4 (ages 14-18)

1st  Tuyen Dang, Helen Cox High School, Jefferson Parish

2nd  Brenden Ledet, Bayou Blue Middle School, Lafourche Parish

3rd  Victoria-Duyen Chu, Helen Cox High School, Jefferson Parish

For more information on the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission or the Environmental Awareness Student Art and Language Arts contest, visit www.wlf.la.gov/eec or contact Juliet Raffray at 225-765-0124 or jraffray@wlf.la.gov.




Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 05/31/2013

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, June 6, 2013, at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 North Flannery Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70814.

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of May 2, 2013 

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.  To Hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/May

5.  To Hear a Presentation on the Louisiana Saltwater Series

6. To Hear an Update on the 2013 Recreational Red Snapper Season   

7. To Hear a Report on the Status of Ship Shoal Block 26 Structures

8. To Hear a Report on the Bull Redfish Kill in Breton Sound

9. To Hear Final Public Comment on Notice of Intent for Black Bass Regulations for the Atchafalaya Basin, Lake Verret, Lake Palourde, Lake Fausse Point/Lake Dauterive Complex

10.  To Hear Final Public Comment on Notice of Intent for Boundaries for D’Arbonne Lake Crappie Regulations

11. To Consider a Declaration of Emergency on Red Snapper Recreational Season Modifications

12.  To Hear a Presentation of Ducks Unlimited Canada activities with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Funding 

13.  To Hear a General Overview of the upcoming 2014 Turkey Regulations and Season Recommendations

14.  To Hear a General Overview of the upcoming 2013 Dove Season Framework

15.  Set October 2013 Meeting Date

16.  Set August 2013 Meeting Location

17.  Receive Public Comments

18.  Executive Session to Discuss Prospective Litigation relative to return of Artificial Reef Fund Monies

19.  Adjournment



LDWF Reminds Offshore Anglers of Free Required Permit

Release Date: 05/31/2013

May 31, 2013 – With the spring in full swing the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries takes this opportunity to remind anglers of the free, required offshore landing permit.  The permit is required for all anglers, including anglers not normally required to possess a recreational fishing license, possessing tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers and snappers (except gray snapper), and hinds.
As Louisiana continues to make the case for regional management and the extension of Louisiana’s red snapper season, it is more important now than ever that anglers provide LDWF biologists with this critical data that will only strengthen our fight. 
The permit is available at no cost to the public.
Get the Permit
To obtain a Recreational Offshore Landings Permit click here:  http://rolp.wlf.la.gov/Permit/Apply
Permit Reporting
Anglers who land yellowfin tuna must report that catch prior to offloading the catch.  Anglers may submit harvest reports via the website @rolp.wlf.la.gov, an iPhone or Android application, or by calling the toll-free reporting line at 877-792-3440.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 press inquiries, contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.  For season and bag limit information, contact Jason Adriance at jadriance@wlf.la.gov or (504) 284-2032.



LDWF and Apache Explore Ways to Save Popular Angler Mainstay

Release Date: 05/31/2013

(May 31, 2013) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Apache Corporation have agreed to explore ways to preserve the fish habitat at Ship Shoal 26, also known as the Pickets, a popular hotspot for anglers, especially those seeking speckled trout and redfish.

At the recommendation of the Department, Apache Corporation, owner of the platform, agreed to delay the decommissioning the structure and will foot the bill for a water bottom survey to determine the extent of rock and shell pads present.  LDWF biologists believe the rock and shell structures still see a significant amount of production, even if the main structure were to be removed.  The oil field has reached the end of its productive life and the structures are required to be removed under federal regulations.

When an oil-field structure is removed from an area, but the associated rock pad around the base remains or is enhanced with additional appropriate material, the area will continue to provide habitat for surrounding species. 

Speckled trout and redfish are typically associated with low to mid-relief structure, which provide a refuge from currents, where they can remain in an area without expending energy while preying on food as it is carried across the structure. 

The six to eight week survey will assess the status of the existing bottom structure since the platform was installed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, before precise installation records were available.  The Department and the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement will then determine the best course of action, which may involve augmenting the site with concrete and additional materials to enhance fish production and provide habitat.  If this strategy is implemented, the remnant of the platform or its enhanced shell pad will then be marked with buoys.

“We encouraged Apache to take a look at this alternative opportunity to the preserve the immense value of the Pickets for our recreational anglers,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “One of our Department’s greatest priorities is to ensure that we offer the recreational angler the best fishing experience possible, and we’re so pleased Apache is interested in being a good steward of the environment and working with us toward this goal.”

The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana has also expressed an interest in working with the Department as they have in the past on similar reef projects.  "CCA Louisiana has committed to partnering with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enhance the shell pad through a reef building project very similar to our recent efforts across Louisiana," said John Walther, CCA Louisiana Habitat Chairman. "We look forward to the opportunity to create an even better habitat for our favorite marine species while we create a blueprint for similar projects in the future.  This is a win-win situation for everyone!"

The Ship Shoal 26 structure will remain intact until the survey is complete.  At that point, all parties involved will determine the best course of action moving forward, but Louisiana anglers can expect their beloved fishing spot is safe for now.

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 press inquires, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-2396.



Hunting Heritage Program Needs Mentors for the 2013-14 Hunting Season

Release Date: 05/30/2013

LHHP apprentice hunter Pam Dufour (right) harvested a deer during the 2012-13 season with the guidance of mentor, Gypsy Hanks.

May 30, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is seeking hunting mentors for its Louisiana Hunting Heritage Program (LHHP) for the 2013-14 hunting season.
The LHHP matches experienced hunters, or mentors, with persons who would like to learn about hunting, but lack someone to teach them. The mentors help new hunters, or apprentices, learn the skills necessary to become independent hunters.
“Serving as a mentor is a great way for an experienced hunter to pass along their knowledge and love of the outdoors to another person who has the desire to learn, but lacks the support structure a new hunter needs,” said John Sturgis, LDWF Education Program manager. “This is a great opportunity for an experienced hunter who wants to help perpetuate the sport, and may have special appeal to retirees who hunt or hunters whose children are grown,” Sturgis added.
Mentors will be provided with training and support from LDWF and will be covered by the department’s liability insurance while engaged in LHHP-related activities.  The mentor’s role is to help their apprentice gain the skills and confidence they need to hunt independently.  This may include time at the shooting range, learning how to scout and identify game, selecting equipment, cleaning game and actually hunting together.
Mentors will be assigned an apprentice hunter by LDWF after the apprentice has completed an application and undergone a background check.  Assignment of apprentices and mentors takes into consideration location, type of hunting each person is interested in and other factors that will help make the match successful.
The previous hunting season was the first year the LHHP was operational and several mentor/ apprentice matches were made.  Gene Thibodeaux, Sr., a mentor from Youngsville, hunted ducks with his apprentice and reported that he enjoyed working with his apprentice saying: “I would be honored to do this again next year.”  Robert Rackley, a mentor from Baton Rouge, commented: “Overall, excellent program and send me another person next year.”
LHHP mentor applications should be submitted by July 1, 2013 to allow time for processing and matching with apprentices.  Mentor-apprentice matches will be made by mid-August to allow time to prepare for the hunting season.
Persons interested in serving as hunting mentors can find applications and additional information on the LHHP at www.wlf.la.gov/louisiana-hunting-heritage-program or they can contact John Sturgis at 225-763-5448 or jsturgis@wlf.la.gov .


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