L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

1st Annual "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" Slated for May 14

Release Date: 04/21/2011

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will be hosting the first ever "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" on May 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at eight different locations across the state.

During Boating Education Lagniappe Day, LDWF will provide instructors for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, NASBLA boating education certification, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

Interested participants must register by visiting www.wlf.louisiana.gov/lagniappeday and calling the contact number listed for the chosen class.  LDWF urges the public to register quickly as most places have limited spaces available and registration is on a first come first serve basis.

"We want to make this an annual celebration of boating safety in the state as boating season kicks into high gear," said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the State's Boating Law Administrator.  "Boating Education Lagniappe Day is the perfect opportunity for those in need of a boating education certification and those that want to learn about boating safety.  We want to make the day fun and educational at the same time and everything will be offered completely free."

Anybody 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.

The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.

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.

LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 40,000 boaters during that time.

"Boating education has been a proven method to reduce fatalities on the water over time," said Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, LDWF's Boating Safety Coordinator.  "Since more and more of the boating public will fall into the mandatory age for certification, we will eventually reach a point where everyone that wants to boat in this state will have their boating education certificate making the waterways more enjoyable and safer."

Sponsors for the Boating Education Lagniappe Day are the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Walmart, Cabela's, Holiday Inn and Songy's Sporting Goods of Houma.

Below is the list of class locations known at this time and the registration contact information:

Bossier City
Academy Sports and Outdoors
2801 Beane Dr.
Bossier City, LA 71111
Call the Minden Office at 318-371-3049 to register.

West Monroe
Academy Sports and Outdoors
111 Constitution Dr.
West Monroe, LA 71292
Call the Monroe Office at 318-362-3102 to register.

Alexandria
Academy Sports and Outdoors
3205 S. MacArthur Dr.
Alexandria, LA 71301
Call the Pineville Office at 318-487-5634 to register.

Eunice
Walmart
1538 Hwy. 190
Eunice, LA 70535
Call the Opelousas Office at 337-948-0257 to register.

Lake Charles
Lake Charles Civic Center
900 Lakeshore Dr.
Lake Charles, LA 70602
Call the Lake Charles Office at 337-491-2580 or 337-491-2588 to register.
Free door prizes to first 100 students to call and register.

Houma
Holiday Inn
1800 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Houma, LA 70360
Call the Thibodaux Office at 985-447-0821 to register.

Gonzales
Cabela's
Cabela's Parkway
Gonzales, LA 70737
Call the Baton Rouge Office at 225-765-2999 to register.

Chalmette
St. Bernard Parish Government Complex
8201 W. Judge Perez
Chalmette, LA 70043
Call the New Orleans Office at 504-284-2023 to register.

For more information on regulations or boating safety, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.  For more information on boating education courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

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

HBO Documentary Tracks Pelican Rescue Mission During Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response

Release Date: 04/19/2011

April 19, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) biologists and technicians were on the front line of wildlife rescue a year ago in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster.

Bird rescue was a primary mission of LDWF’s Coastal and Nongame Resources Division, and one of the birds rescued and rehabilitated, and then returned to Louisiana’s coastal marshes was a brown pelican, tagged number 895 when recovered from oiled state waters last July. The story of that bird was documented by a film crew and that story is now an HBO Documentary Film, SAVING PELICAN 895, which will premiere on HBO on April 20, the anniversary of the rig explosion.

“It’s a remarkable story detailing the efforts of government agencies, conservationists, and wildlife activists joining together to preserve fragile species impacted by oil,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “The significance of that effort is even more special since the brown pelican, our state bird, had just been removed from the federal Threatened and Endangered Species list in 2009.”

The film, produced and directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, provides a detailed look at one facet of what went on over the course of many months to overcome the threat of oil to the state’s coastal marsh ecosystem.

Working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel and partners that included out of state animal rescue specialists and veterinarians, plus National Audubon Society staff and volunteers, LDWF and pooled resources collectively recovered 4,978 birds from Louisiana’s coastal marshes and waterways. Over 1,500 of that total were oiled, but alive when recovered, and 1,116 of those made it through rehabilitation to be released back into the wild. Other state partners involved in the oiled bird rehabilitation included the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and Louisiana State Animal Response Team.

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov; or Mike Hopper at 214-356-5430 or mike.hopper@hbo.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.

 

Louisiana Shrimp Task Force to Meet Thursday, April 21

Release Date: 04/19/2011

April 19, 2011 – The Louisiana Shrimp Task Force will meet this Thursday at 9:30 am at Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters in the Louisiana Room. 

The agenda is as follows.

  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Call and Introduction of Members – Mark Schexnayder
  3. Selection of the Chairman
  4. Review of Act 606 and charge of the Shrimp Task Force – Mark Schexnayder
  5. Filing of Personal Financial Disclosure Tier 2.1 Form with the Louisiana Board of Ethics –David Lavergne
  6. Adoption of Standard Operating Procedures – Mark Schexnayder
  7. Shrimp Promotion and Marketing Activities – Ewell Smith
    • Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board
    • Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC) Regional Plan
    • Nationwide Seafood Coalition
  8. Presentation of the Voluntary Shrimp Certification Program – Jon Bell
  9. Shrimp Management Opportunities – Mark Schexnayder
    • License Moratorium
    • Turtle Excluder Device (TED) regulations
  10. Public Comment
  11. Other Business
  12. Next Meeting / Agenda
  13. Adjournment

The Louisiana Shrimp Task Force was created by Act 606 of the Louisiana Legislature to study and monitor the shrimp industry and to make recommendations to the state. 

This meeting is open to the public.

For more information contact Laura Wooderson at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-2363.

State Officials Highlight Oyster Industry Concerns, Announce Additional Funding for Emergency Restoration Project

Release Date: 04/15/2011

$2 million announced for cultch plant, industry leaders focus on frustrations with claims process

April 15, 2011 - Officials with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries held a press conference today with leaders from the oyster industry to highlight BP's failure to follow through on emergency restoration work to help the industry recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began nearly one year ago. LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina announced an additional $2 million in funding for a cultch plant on public seed grounds; that announcement brings the total state funds committed to emergency restoration projects for the oyster industry to $4 million.

"Louisiana's coastal area provides vital nursery grounds for more than 90 percent of Gulf species and the health of the Gulf as a whole is dependent on Louisiana's marshes and estuaries," said Garret Graves, chairman of the CPRA. "The impact to our citizen's way of life has been dramatic, leaving the good people of our oyster industry hurting after generations of harvesting this incredible resource."

"While BP is busy spending millions on advertising to prove that they are following through on their promise to make the oyster industry and all of our coastal fisheries whole, they have neglected to follow through on numerous projects that could have helped our oyster men and women get back to work," said Pausina. "While we still plan to press BP to fund $15 million for improvements to oyster grounds, including additional cultch plants and innovative farming techniques, we have been shaking out the couches at our agency looking for funds to help ensure a healthy spat set. The $2 million we are announcing today, along with an early commitment for $2 million, is a small step in the right direction. We fully intended to seek reimbursement for the total $4 million. BP is still the responsible party, and it is time they starting acting like it."

"It is imperative that we begin aggressively rehabilitating Louisiana's oyster resources so that the oyster community is able to return to normal operations sooner rather than later," said Mike Voisin, owner of Motivatit Seafood and member of the Governor's Oyster Advisory Committee.

"I am angry that BP has not followed through with their commitment to reseed the public oyster grounds and that the  Gulf Coast Claims Facility has failed to compensate fairly the oystermen that were hurt by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster," Al Sunseri, owner of P&J Oysters and member of the Governor's Oyster Advisory Committee.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority are among the natural resource trustees charged with assessing and ensuring that BP restores the natural resources of the State of Louisiana. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For additional information please call Olivia Watkins at LDWF at (225) 610-8660 or email at owatkins@wlf.la.gov, or Andrea Recher at (225) 229-5126 or andrear.Taylor@la.gov.

L.D.W.F. Presents Proposed Alligator Regulation Changes to Commission

Release Date: 04/13/2011

April 13, 2011 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a notice of intent April 7 for regulation changes in the Alligator Management Program. The changes, proposed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), provide options relative to alligator skin processing and would allow non-residents owning wetland habitat in Louisiana to obtain harvest tags.

The proposed change for alligator skins, prior to export out of state or prior to tanning in state, would allow for the sale of raw flanks or bellies of alligators and could be helpful when attempting to sell poor quality raw skins.

Concerning issuance of tags to non-residents, current regulations restrict landowners to assisting a resident, licensed alligator trapper during the season. This change would allow for non-residents, who own alligator habitat in Louisiana, to obtain their own tags.

Several other proposed changes/clarifications include: changing application deadlines for tags, addressing disposal of alligator skins deemed of no value, and stipulating that  alligators shall not be cut loose from hooks and lines for any purpose.

To view the full notice of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes for the upcoming hunting season, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Public comment will be accepted at the LWFC May 5 meeting or can be submitted to Robert Love, LDWF Coastal and Nongame Resources Division, P. O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000, through June 1, 2011.

For more information, contact Noel Kinler at 337-373-0032 or nkinler@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.

Twin Spans are Reclaimed for Artificial Reefs

Release Date: 04/12/2011

Phase 1 of bridge deconstruction on Lake Pontchartrain complete

April 12, 2011 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has successfully completed the first phase of the conversion of the old Twin Spans into artificial reef habitat.  Portions of the old bridges were recycled in a unique way to provide continuing service to the public. 

The four-acre reef is located between the new I-10 bridge and Highway 11 (Latitude 30° 10.169’ Longitude 89° 50.744’).  The corners of the reef are marked by four yellow illuminated marker buoys. 

Sixty spans were dismantled, processed and deployed as reef material.  In addition to providing hard bottom habitat for bottom-dwelling organisms, the reef will create a valuable fish habitat for popular recreational species including redfish, speckled trout, croakers, sheepshead and drum. 

The creation of the artificial reef is the culmination of partnership between LDWF, Department of Transportation and Development, Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana and NOAA Office of Coast Survey. 

“Increasing habitat for finfish will provide greater sport fishing opportunities on Lake Pontchartrain, which will ultimately benefit the economy in attracting people to the area,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “And we’re able to do so utilizing materials that would typically be sent to a landfill.”
The second phase of the bridge demolition is currently underway.  Forty-two spans from the old Twin Spans will be used to create an additional four-acre reef. 

Since its creation in 1986, the department’s Artificial Reef Program has developed 28 reefs in Louisiana’s inshore waters.

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 Announces Major Commercial Fishing Reopening

Release Date: 04/11/2011

Closure Map

Over 99 percent of state waters now opened for fishing

April 11, 2011 - Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ordered an emergency reopening of commercial fishing in portions of state, inside waters within the Mississippi River Delta that were previously closed due to impacts from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill last year.

“While the effects of the oil spill will continue to affect our state for years to come, we are as confidant as ever in the safety of Louisiana’s seafood, the most-tested seafood in the world,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “Today marks an important step in the journey to a full recovery for fishermen who depend on these resources for their livelihood and I am happy to report that over 99 percent of Louisiana’s waters are open to fishing.”

Secretary Barham ordered this opening following the completion of comprehensive testing, after which the FDA advised that shrimp, crab and finfish tissue samples tested from these previously closed areas are safe for consumption.

Commercial fishing reopens immediately today in the portions of state inside waters between the eastern shore of Southwest Pass and the southern shore of North Pass of the Mississippi River. 

This reopening does not include shrimp harvesting, as the shrimp season in these waters has not been opened. 

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.gov or (225) 610-2363.

Documents: 

Louisiana Youth Can Register Now for 2010 Hunter of the Year Awards

Release Date: 04/11/2011

April 11, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) are encouraging hunters 15 years of age or younger to enter the 2010 Youth Hunter of the Year competition. 

The contest requires youth hunters to submit a story about their hunting experience along with photographs of the hunt.  LDWF and LOWA will then select a male and female youth hunter of the year based upon the stories and photos that are received. 

Visit the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/youth-hunter-registry-program for information on the Youth Hunter Registry Program and the 2010 Youth Hunter of the Year Contest.

Youth hunters who participated in any hunting activity during the 2010-11 hunting season are encouraged to participate.  This is not a big buck or turkey contest. The program is about youths enjoying a hunting experience, with or without success, and keeping the hunting tradition alive in Louisiana. The deadline to enter the 2010 Youth Hunter of the Year Contest is June 30, 2011.

The two winners will be recognized at the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Conference this summer.  Winners will receive a plaque in recognition of their achievement and a gift certificate from Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge.

Additionally, all participants who register their 2010-11 hunting experiences with the Youth Hunter Registry Program will be eligible to win a gift certificate from Bowie Outfitters (winner to be selected by a random drawing).

For more information, contact Scott Durham at 225-765-2351 or sdurham@wlf.la.gov or David Moreland at 225-978-6552 or helfinroots@hotmail.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.

Access Bridge to Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Area Open to the Public

Release Date: 04/11/2011

April 11, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has reopened access to Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA) via the Poole Road Bridge following reconstruction of the structure.

The old wooden bridge previously at this location had a three-ton weight limit and had been closed repeatedly over the last several years when high water threatened public safety.

During the summer of 2010, Bossier Parish and Petrohawk Energy entered into an agreement in which the parish provided the design and permitting for the new bridge construction and Petrohawk funded the removal of the old structure and construction of the new bridge.  Construction started on this project in October 2010 and was completed in late March of 2011.  The new bridge is a concrete two-lane bridge that can withstand heavy traffic and will be a noticeable improvement to Loggy Bayou WMA users.

In addition to the new bridge, those using Loggy Bayou WMA will notice significant improvements to other portions of the WMA as well.  Further improvements will be ongoing over the next several months, as an agreement between LDWF and a pipeline company will result in additional road improvements as well as improvements to the boat launch access and parking area. 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) staff worked in conjunction with Petrohawk and its affiliates to develop solutions to allow natural gas exploration activity in Loggy Bayou WMA, while minimizing impacts to the WMA. 

The public is advised that higher than normal traffic is to be expected on the WMA over the next several months due to drilling and completion operations.  Additional road construction and improvement projects will result in extra traffic as well.  Further improvements to the boat launch access road and parking area will result in a short temporary loss of access to the launch at some point when those construction activities take place.  

For more information on Loggy Bayou WMA, contact Jeff Johnson at jjohnson@wlf.la.gov or 318-371-3050.

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.

L.D.W.F. Proposes Use of Personal Watercraft on Select Department Managed Areas

Release Date: 04/11/2011

April 11, 2011 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted an amendment at their April 7 meeting that would allow the use of personal watercraft (PWC) on water bodies within areas managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

If approved, the proposal would allow PWCs on Catahoula Lake as well as Biloxi, Boeuf, Manchac, Maurepas Swamp, Pearl River and Pointe-Aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Areas.

LDWF is requesting input from the general public on this proposed amendment.  Comment will only be accepted until the next meeting scheduled for May 5 beginning at 9:30 a.m. and should be made to Randy Myers at 225-765-2359 or rmyers@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.

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