L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

LDWF to Accept Grant Applications for Commercial Menhaden Bait Industry Recovery Projects

Release Date: 02/24/2011

February 24, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will accept applications for a grantto fund development of a commercial menhaden bait supply for Louisiana fishermen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Grant, and theGulf States Marine Fisheries Commission have made available these project funds to aid the recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The supply of menhaden bait is a crucial component of the commercial fishing industry throughout Louisiana. The last menhaden bait supplier in Louisiana went out of business following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Currently, commercial fishermen must order menhaden bait from suppliers based in fisheries along the Atlantic coast. The increasing cost of bait, like menhaden, and fuel continue to make recovery for Louisiana’s fishing industry more difficult than ever. Ensuring the availability of a Louisiana-based menhaden supplier is an essential component of the commercial fishing industry’s recovery.

LDWF intends to award applicant(s) with the most developed business plans, competitive amounts of working capital, and experience for the purpose of establishing a locally harvested menhaden bait operation that will offer a continual supply of bait throughout the year. Award amount(s) will be subject to program allocation. All reasonable requests will be considered.

The deadline for submitting an application is March 15, 2011. To request more information or to receive an application packet, please contact Jason Froeba at (225) 765-0121.

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 editorial questions, please contact Olivia Watkins at (225)210-8660 or at owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Sets March Agenda

Release Date: 02/24/2011

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, March 3, 2011, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of Minutes of February 8, 2011
  3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
  4. To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/February
  5. To hear Enforcement Update on BP Oil Spill/Leak
  6. To receive and consider Litter Proclamation
  7. Public comments on 2011-13 Hunting Seasons and 2011-12 General & WMA Hunting Rules and Regulations and DMAP
  8. To hear general presentation on Forest Stewardship Program
  9. To receive and consider Notice of Intent to make Freshwater Recreational Fishing Regulations for Border Waters with Texas Consistent
  10. Set July 2011 Meeting Date
  11. Receive Public Comments
  12. Adjournment

LDWF's Management Efforts Result in Record Catches at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic

Release Date: 02/23/2011

Classic scheduled to return to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 2012

Feb. 21, 2011 - Across the state, anglers are landing trophy-size bass as a result of management efforts by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Bassmaster Classic competitors were no exception this past weekend as record stringers were brought to the scales. The heaviest weights were caught by tournament winner and bass fishing superstar, Kevin Van Dam.

Van Dam wowed the crowds with a cumulative weight of over 69 pounds, the heaviest ever in a Classic with a 5-fish daily limit. He primarily fished the waters of Lake Cataouatche, a popular fishing spot previously stocked by the LDWF with Florida largemouth bass.

Years ago, the freshwater lake fell on hard times after tropical storm systems pushed brackish water into the area. The lake’s productivity was minimal, especially in terms of a bass population. Through stocking efforts, in conjunction with fertile Mississippi River waters, through the Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion Project, the department was able to stimulate a productive ecosystem and generate a lively bass population in the lake. The spot’s productivity amazed even the best bass anglers in the world at this year’s Classic.

Throughout Louisiana, anglers routinely report trophy bass exceeding 10 pounds. This was not always the case. The department’s management efforts, including the Florida bass stocking program, are largely responsible for this surge in production.

Bass fishing opportunities in Louisiana rank in the top tier nationwide. However, it’s the diversity of fishing experiences that makes Louisiana special. The Louisiana Delta, site of the Bassmaster Classic is a great example. “Fishing in coastal Louisiana is an experience that’s unique from all other waters in the country,” said Mike Wood, LDWF’s Director of Inland Fisheries. “On any given cast, anglers can tangle with a red drum, flounder, and maybe even a trophy largemouth bass.

Perhaps this is the reason the Sportsman’s Paradise was selected as the host site for the Classic again in 2012. Shreveport will welcome the 42nd annual Bassmaster Classic next February.

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.   

Whooping Cranes Return Celebrated at White Lake W.C.A.

Release Date: 02/22/2011

Feb. 22, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) welcomed project partners today to White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) to celebrate the return of the whooping crane to the marshes of southwest Louisiana.

“Species restoration successes will signal coastal restoration successes as we rebuild our wetlands, and we must make the coordinated effort to restore species that have been decimated by man-made or natural changes to wildlife habitat,” said Robert Barham, LDWF Secretary. “We applaud the efforts of the biologists who have worked to bring this magnificent bird back to Louisiana.”

Ten whooping cranes received this month from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Research Facility in Laurel, Md., have been placed in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands WCA. This re-introduced population, which will be annually supplemented with future cohorts, marks the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

“We strongly support the state of Louisiana in this historic effort for the ultimate recovery of the magnificent whooping crane,” said Cindy Dohner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “We are proud to be partners with Secretary Barham, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the International Crane Foundation in this great effort.”

LDWF worked cooperatively with USFWS, USGS, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state. Project funding is derived from LDWF species restoration dedicated funds, federal grants and private/corporate donations. LDWF’s 10-year project plan requires annual project funding of $400,000.

The new, non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population (NEP) under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. This designation and its implementing regulation were developed to be more compatible with routine human activities in the reintroduction area.

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967. The reintroduction at White Lake is part of an ongoing recovery effort coordinated by the USFWS. LDWF biologists will manage the project at White Lake WCA.

Historically, both a resident and migratory population of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s. Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north. Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh. The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America.

The White Lake crane population’s NEP designation allows for uninterrupted daily activities of area landowners and the general public. This provision additionally provides citizens protection in the event of accidental harm to the birds resulting from actions that are accidental or incidental to an otherwise lawful activity, including agricultural practices, outdoor recreation and hunting. The intentional harm or killing of any NEP-designated whooping crane, however, would still be a violation of federal law punishable under the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“We want anyone in the marsh near White Lake to enjoy the moment should they encounter one or more of the experimental birds in the wild during this re-population effort,” said Robert Love, LDWF Coastal and Non-game Resources Division Administrator. “As long as the cranes are observed at a distance, they should adapt to occasional human encounters and not feel threatened.”

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 on the re-introduction of whooping cranes to Louisiana, please visit www.wlf.la.gov or contact Tom Hess at 337-538-2276 or thess@wlf.la.gov; or Carrie Salyers at csalyers@wlf.la.gov.

For additional photos, video footage and research documentation please visit: ftp://ftp.wlf.louisiana.gov/Whooping-Crane-Videos/.

L.D.W.F. Nuisance Wildlife Workshop Feb. 22 Will Provide Options Available to the Public

Release Date: 02/19/2011

Feb. 19, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will present a workshop with information on options available for nuisance wildlife control on Tuesday, Feb. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the LSU Agriculture Extension Building in Lake Charles.

Topics to be discussed include new laws regarding night time hunting, steps that citizens can take to reduce wildlife conflicts, feral hog and coyote control, and other nuisance wildlife. There will also be an opportunity for discussions with a representative from Animal Services and a local Nuisance Wildlife Control Officer. The workshop is free and open to the public.

The Ag Extension Building is located at 7101 Gulf Extension Highway next to Burton Coliseum.

Additional information on LDWF’s Nuisance Wildlife Control Program is available at www.wlf.louisiana.gov. For more information on the workshop, contact Kori Legleu at (337) 491-2574 or klegleu@wlf.la.gov. 

LDWF Hosts Second Annual Louisiana Saltwater Series Fishing Tournament

Release Date: 02/18/2011

More than 380 redfish already tagged; series features six rodeos, plus championship

Feb. 16, 2011 - The Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon return to the Gulf Coast for the tournament’s second year. Hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), 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, including one of Louisiana’s most valuable sport fish, redfish.

“This series is a critical part of ensuring the health and future of our natural resources and the coastal economy because it promotes the management and preservation of our redfish stocks for future generations,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

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. There is a 90 percent payout for the first six events with 10 percent retained for the championship. Payout is determined separately for each event based upon the total number of boats entered.

Participants may register online for the tournament at www.LaSaltwaterSeries.com.

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.

Data collected from tournament entries serve as valuable tools for LDWF fisheries managers and biologists to improve their understanding of marine sport fish movements, patterns of habitat use and estimate population size. Since 2004, over 15,000 redfish have been tagged through Louisiana’s Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program.

“Fish tagging can yield a wealth of information. Years ago, most tagging was done by scientists or trained biologists, but today recreational anglers are encouraged to join the effort as volunteers,” explained Pausina. “Utilizing volunteer taggers allows us to tag a greater number of fish from a wider geographic area.”

In last year’s series alone, anglers tagged a total of 380 fish. The recapture rate from the Slidell tournament was as high as 21 percent. Overall weight determined last year’s winners, with Richard Rutland taking home the monster catch of the series, a 9.66 lb red drum.

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

  • April 2 Lafitte, Seaway Marina; 
  • April 30 Lake Calcasieu, Calcasieu Point Landing; 
  • May 14 Venice, Venice Marina; 
  • June 18 Delacroix, Sweetwater Marina; 
  • 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. 

Sponsorships for the Saltwater Series are still available. All sponsorship dollars will go towards the cost of planning, production and prize money.

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.

L.D.W.F. Enforcement Division Academy Cadets Become Commissioned Agents At Graduation Ceremony

Release Date: 02/16/2011

To request high resolution version of photo, please email aeinck@wlf.la.gov

(Back row from left to right: Brandon Fontenot, Kurt Hatten, Charles Taylor, Mitchell Saunders, Michael Marques, Kenneth Robertson, Jake Darden, and Justin Lowry.  Front row from left to right: Chadwick Wood, Dale Wheat, Andrew Mitchell, Charles Talbert, Norman Deroche, Cody Soileau, and Adam Tieben.)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy today, Feb. 16, graduated its 26th class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After six months of intensive physical and academic training at the academy, 15 newly commissioned agents are ready to begin enforcing hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. “You have a tremendous responsibility to protect Louisiana’s rich natural resources and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water,” Barham noted. “Congratulations on your achievement which we celebrate today.”

Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadets’ transition to commissioned agents official. “We welcome them into the ranks and hope they all have long and successful careers as wildlife and fisheries enforcement agents,” said Col. Vidrine.

The 15 new agents are:

Jake Darden, 23, of Chitimacha; Norman Deroche III, 28, of Schriever; Brandon Fontenot, 25, of Sunset; Kurt Hatten, 23, of Dodson; Justin Lowry, 27, of Jennings; Michael Marques Jr., 34, of Slidell; Andrew Mitchell, 23, of Hornbeck; Kenneth Robertson, 25, of Monroe; Mitchell Saunders, 24, of Hammond; Cody Soileau, 26, of Lake Charles; Charles Talbert, 30, of Sulphur; Jared Taylor, 26, of Norco; Adam Tieben, 27, of Lafayette; Dale Wheat Jr., 25, of Baton Rouge; and Chadwick Wood, 28, of Boyce.

During the graduation ceremony, Lowry received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class and the academic award for having the highest grades. Fontenot took home the physical training award for being the most fit. Lowry also won the overall award, which is a cumulative score from the firearms, academic and physical training categories.

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas. The academy also covers general law enforcement training equal to that of other state law enforcement officers.

The graduating agents fill vacancies in LDWF’s Enforcement Division and will be assigned to a field-training officer for their first six months of duty. Now part of the agency’s commissioned officer staff, the agents will join the ranks of those patrolling land and water to primarily detect game, fish and boating law violations. These duties require travel into Louisiana's forests, swamps, fields, streams, bayous, lakes, marshlands, the Gulf of Mexico and on the state roadway system.

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

Louisiana Man Passes Away in Two-Vessel Collision in Orleans Parish

Release Date: 02/16/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents responded to a fatal boating crash incident on Tuesday, Feb. 15 in Unknown Pass in Orleans Parish.

LDWF agents along with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) arrived on the scene at 2:30 p.m. of a two vessel collision involving a 20-foot Hydrosport captained by Ralph Grimaldi, 63, of Slidell, and an 18-foot Boston Whaler captained by Scott Jordan, 49, of Pearl River.

The USCG airlifted Grimaldi to the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse where he was not able to survive his injuries. LDWF agents transported Jordan to Orleans Parish Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel waiting on the shore. EMS personnel then took Jordan to the North Shore Ochsner Hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Grimaldi's vessel was also carrying two passengers who did not receive any major injuries.

LDWF agents are currently investigating the incident. Agents do not suspect alcohol or drugs at this time.

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

Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to Meet Wednesday Feb. 16

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011 – The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will meet tomorrow, February 16, 2011 at 1 p.m. at the UNO Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in Suite 210, in New Orleans.

The agenda for tomorrow’s meeting is as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call
  3. Approval of minutes from December 15, 2010
  4. Reports
    1. Guest Presentations
      1. Jeffry Zehnder- Zehnder Communications. Boston booth, new photography and social media update
      2. Mark Schexnayder-WLF- certification and traceability update. Disaster recovery grant programs update.
    2. Executive Directors Report
    3. Treasurers Report
      1. update on BP funds
  5. New Business
    1. Sub Committee discussion (Executive, Funding, Legislative, Education and Marketing).
    2. Boston Seafood Show
    3. Updates List of Events
    4. Samuel H. Green School and the edible garden
    5. School lunch programs
    6. Foodways Texas Symposium – Kim Chauvin
  6. Set Next Meeting
  7. Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.

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

State Rolls Out Nearly $8 Million to Seafood Dealers

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the Office of Community Development (OCD) - Disaster Recovery Unit, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), began distributing nearly $8 million last month for the Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Grant Program, a federally funded program aimed at aiding certain fisheries-related businesses that were affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

“Our fishing communities have spent the last five years battling back from disaster after disaster. Each time, they find a way to rebuild and get back to work. This program is an incredible opportunity to help our fishing communities continue to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We are grateful to our state and industry partners for helping us make distributing assistance funds a reality.”

The $8 million Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Grant Program was designed to assist certain fishery-related businesses that were in the industry in 2008 and currently remain in business. In order to qualify, businesses were required to provide supporting tax documentation and to be able to document a minimum $15,000 tangible loss or decline in business. Once grant qualifications were met, applicants became eligible for a grant of the amount of their loss, not to exceed $100,000.

“The fishing and seafood industry is a vital part of Louisiana’s economy, and the state is committed to helping local fishermen continue to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater. “The funds from the Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Program, along with the upcoming grants through the Commercial Fisheries Program, will help Louisiana’s fisherman and help boost seafood businesses.”

Louisiana also created a Commercial Fisherman Grant Program to assist Louisiana fishermen who held a commercial fishing license in 2008, are still licensed, and continue to recover from the impacts of hurricanes Gustav and Ike. It is anticipated this program will begin in early March.

"The Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority under the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry was already set up to help distribute relief funds for our agricultural producers," LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain said. "We were asked to help LDWF and LAFA was the perfect fund-distribution mechanism for the program. We got the money in the hands of seafood dealers quickly and efficiently."

Individuals who held both a Wholesale/Retail Dealer license and a Commercial Fishing license were only allowed to participate in one program.

Both programs are funded using Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) funds, which were set aside for aid to the fishing industry after it suffered more than $750 million in losses in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita Gustav and Ike. In total, Louisiana received more than $1 billion in CDBG funding for recovery from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, most of which the state has allocated directly to parishes for community recovery activities.

LDWF, OCD and LDAF hosted a series of outreach meetings during the spring of 2010 in coastal communities to provide more information to interested individuals.

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.

The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.

For more information from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, please contact Laura Deslatte at (225)610-2363 or at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov. For more information from the Office of Community Development, please contact Christina Stephens at (225) 603-3896 or Christina.stephens@la.gov. For more information from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, please contact Sam Irwin at (225) 922-1256 or sirwin@ldaf.state.la.us

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