LDWF News Release

Oil Well Road on Pearl River WMA Has Been Reopened

Release Date: 03/21/2014

March 21, 2014 – Oil Well Road on Pearl River Wildlife Management Area in southeastern St. Tammany Parish has been reopened.  Responding to requests from the public, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reviewed the road closure and determined it was not obtaining the benefit sought from the seasonal closure that had been in effect since 2002. 
Following completion of temporary road repairs March 20, the gate was opened to allow public use of the road.  WMA users are cautioned to follow speed limits posted on the WMA roads to prevent damage or injury to themselves or other users on the WMA.  Additional repairs are scheduled for Oil Well Road and other roads on the WMA this year once weather conditions allow and LDWF can mobilize equipment necessary to complete planned repairs.  Temporary closures will be enacted during the repair period.
For more information, please contact Christian Winslow at 985-543-4777 or cwinslow@wlf.la.gov.


New Rules for Natural and Scenic Rivers System Now in Effect

Release Date: 03/20/2014

New rules governing the Louisiana’s Natural and Scenic Rivers System, announced by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) in October 2013, become effective today, March 20, 2014.
Recommendations to amend the existing rules were made by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

The new rules include:

  • The use of a motor vehicle or other wheeled or tracked vehicle on a designated system stream is now prohibited, except for permitted uses and direct crossings by immediately adjacent landowners, lessees, and persons who have written permission from the landowner for non-commercial activities that do not significantly degrade the ecological integrity of the stream.
  • Natural and Scenic Rivers System regulations now conform with the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act relative to activities more than 100 feet from designated system streams that have potential to directly and significantly degrade the ecological integrity of a system stream may require a permit.
  • A permit is now required for a moored houseboat or floating camp, except when moored to a legally permitted piling, pier or bulkhead or moored to trees using connections that do not damage the trees and with written permission of the owner of the trees. Legally moored houseboats with a permit or letter of certification from the parish health unit, verifying an approved sewerage disposal system is on board, would also be excepted.

To review the revised Title 76, Part IX, Sections 105, 115 and 117, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/new-rule-changes .
The Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act of 1970 provides LDWF the authority to regulate those activities that may directly and significantly degrade the ecological integrity of a natural and scenic river. The Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System for the purpose of preserving, protecting, developing, reclaiming, and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regimes of certain free-flowing Louisiana streams. Today, there are approximately 3,000 miles of designated Natural and Scenic Rivers in the state.
For more information, contact Keith Cascio at 318-343-4045 or kcascio@wlf.la.gov, or Chris Davis at 225-765-2642 or rcdavis@wlf.la.gov .



Urban Fishing Opportunities Take to New Orleans City Park

Release Date: 03/18/2014

Mar. 17, 2014) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries wants kids to add fishing to their list of favorite outdoor activities, so with spring right around the corner, they are hosting two youth-targeted fishing events in New Orleans City Park: Youth Fishing Clinic, March 22 and the Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival, March 29.
Youth Fishing Clinic
Prior to the annual Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival, the Department will offer a free, Youth Fishing Clinic designed to teach youth basic fishing techniques and offer tips on how to fish City Park.  The clinic is scheduled for Saturday, March 22 from 8 a.m. to noon, and the first 50 individuals to register will receive an order of beignets from Morning Call and a rod and reel, courtesy of CCA Louisiana.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Old Casino Building, and all participating anglers must be 16 and younger and accompanied by an adult.  Participants should also bring their own gear.
Big Bass Rodeo & Fishtival
Held in the park since 1946, the Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival has grown into one of the most popular family fishing events in the country.  The event is scheduled for Saturday, March 29, and events kick off at 6:30 a.m.  Unlike high caliber bass fishing tournaments, this nonprofessional rodeo provides fishing categories and activities for all ages and is a great opportunity to teach novice anglers about the sport of fishing. 
The 2014 event also marks the introduction of a brand new fishing event, Boats on the Bayou, a division for non-motorized boats including kayaks and canoes.  This event takes place on Bayou St. John and is limited to the first 100 registrants.
“A key barrier to learning how to fish is a lack of fishing opportunities close to home,” explained LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “This event will provide New Orleans area residents with an opportunity to learn more about the great fishing that City Park has to offer – which we hope will hook them on a lasting appreciation for the sport.”
Fisheries staff will be on hand at the Fishtival to offer advice and assist anglers in learning how to fish.  Information will also be available detailing local fishing resources, fishing basics and fish identification.  Other exciting features include a mobile touch tank, fish tagging demonstrations and photo opportunities with Robbie the Redfish.
The Department will also introduce the LDWF Youth Fishing Program at the event.  You can compete in various activities to receive a Big Bass Rodeo patch (scouts only) or sticker.
Additional details and online registration can be found on the Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival website: http://www.neworleanscitypark.com/big-bass-fishing-rodeo-and-fishtival.  Registration fees range from $5 to $10, depending on the age of the angler.
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.


New Informational Site Helps Buyers Understand the Sustainability of Gulf Seafood

Release Date: 03/14/2014

New Informational Site Helps Buyers Understand the Sustainability of Gulf Seafood

March 14, 2014 - Seafood buyers and other interested parties now have access to a one-stop-shop for the information they need to be confident that seafood harvested from Louisiana and other Gulf state fisheries is sustainable. Launching at Seafood Expo North America, GulfFishInfo.org, or Gulf FINFO, gathers information from fisheries experts from across the Gulf states and puts easy to understand, science-based facts about Gulf state fisheries at the public’s fingertips.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) collaborated with counterparts in the other Gulf states, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, and NOAA Fisheries to develop FINFO. FINFO provides a platform for these authorities to communicate how they conserve and manage fisheries in Gulf state waters and complements NOAA’s FishWatch.gov, which covers fisheries in federal waters.
“Working with the other fisheries management authorities in the Gulf, we’re able to provide the most comprehensive, accurate resource available on the sustainability of Gulf seafood,” stated LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “Seafood buyers increasingly require this information before making purchases—FINFO goes above and beyond to meet this need.”
FINFO profiles top Gulf fisheries, with information ranging from basics about species biology and habitat to how fisheries operate and how each state ensures these operations are sustainable. Through FINFO, users can quickly review the status of Gulf fisheries resources or dig deeper to understand the robust science and responsible management at work to ensure these resources are viable for generations to come. “FINFO does not have a list or rating system,” according to Barham. “FINFO tells the full story of the sustainability of Gulf seafood—how we take great care of our valuable fisheries resources through research, regulations, and responsible harvesting practices.”
FINFO uses education, rather than advocacy, to help seafood buyers appreciate the unique environment of the Gulf and demonstrate that Gulf seafood is not only world-famous but sustainable, too. “For decades, our biologists, managers, and fishing industry have worked hard to ensure Louisiana’s fisheries operate sustainably and continue to provide some of the best quality, best tasting seafood on the market,” stated LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “And now, through FINFO, we’re able to clearly explain this to the world.” 
LDWF is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For press inquiries, contact Katie Semon ksemon@wlf.la.gov or 571-217-0512.



Next Episode of Alive In America’s Delta to Explore Endangered Species in the Gulf of Mexico March 18

Release Date: 03/13/2014


March 13, 2014 -The northern waters of the Gulf of Mexico are extraordinarily rich and diverse but some of the marine, mammals and bird species are in danger of being lost forever. The next installment of LPB’s six-part series Alive! In America’s Delta,entitled Endangered in the Gulf, focuses on endangered Gulf species, the perils, success stories and how cutting edge technology is being used to monitor and protect them.

 “Through the show, we hope to encourage the people of Louisiana to become educated about and aware of threats to species, success stories on species recovery and the opportunity to promote species conservation,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham.

One highlight includes the resurgence of the Brown Pelican in Louisiana. Widespread use of the pesticide DDT led to the extinction of the Brown Pelican in the 1960s. After the insecticide was banned in the early 1970s, Louisiana wildlife officials brought in 1,200 young pelicans from Florida and three decades later the pelicans were making a comeback. In 2009, the magnificent bird was removed from the Endangered Species List.  “At a time when so many species of wildlife are threatened, we once in a while have an opportunity to celebrate an amazing success story,” explained Barham.

The episode also touches on imperiled habitat in the Gulf and the species that rely on it. Five of the world's seven endangered sea turtle species rely on habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. Other endangered marine species like the West Indian Manatee, the Gulf Sturgeon, and Sperm and Right Whales and birds such as the Piping Plover and the Least Tern make the Gulf their home.

Five species of sea turtles who reside in the Gulf are also in danger, but the Kemp’s Ridley turtle faces particular challenges. Though an array of projects are helping with sea turtle protection, wildlife officials say the number of deaths have risen in the last four years. With 15,000 identified species in the Gulf, Wildlife and Fisheries personnel say they need the public’s help in reporting injured animals to make sure they get the life-saving treatment they need.

While there have been some success stories, the preservation and protection of the endangered species in the Gulf will always be a work in progress particularly in light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Gulf is a resilient system, but one that needs growing attention if this vital resource for future generations is to be protected.

This program was produced for LPB by Christina Hendrick Melton. Rex Q. Fortenberry, Keith Crews, Gary Allen and Mark Carroll did the principal photography with Fortenberry editing the program. Mike Esnault composed the music.

The show premieres on Tuesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. followed by an encore showing of Delta Guardians at 8 p.m.  WLAE-TV in New Orleans will air Endangered in the Gulf on Friday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. 

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 Rene LeBreton at rlebreton@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8745.


Red-cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Cooperators Gather for Annual Meeting

Release Date: 03/12/2014

Red-cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Cooperators Gather for Annual Meeting

March 12, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) held the 3rd Annual Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) Safe Harbor Cooperators Meeting at the McGowan Brake Club Inc., near Bastrop, on Feb. 25.
Kent Anderson, president of the McGowan Brake Club Inc., hosted representatives from 13 safe harbor properties including, LDWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Alabama Natural Heritage Program.
Meeting participants viewed presentations on LDWF’s Deer Management Assistance Program, the status of the Louisiana pine snake listing, the West Louisiana Ecosystem Partnership, RCW and the ecosystem management at McGowan Brake Club Inc. and at Ouachita Partners ATP. A field tour was conducted on two safe harbor properties in Morehouse Parish.
Kent Anderson and David Cassels from BTG Pactual (representing Ouachita Partners ATP) were presented plaques by LDWF Secretary Robert Barham recognizing their efforts in co-hosting this year’s meeting.
LDWF received a USFWS, Section 10 permit, authorizing it to administer the RCW Safe Harbor Program in January of 2005. Multiple partners, including non-governmental organizations, private landowners, environmental consultants and state and federal agencies helped shaped the final document.
The RCW Safe Harbor Program is designed to encourage landowners to actively and voluntarily manage pine timberlands for the benefit of the RCW, while reducing the fear of having an endangered species on their property. Landowners agree to employ one or more of five voluntary habitat management strategies that have a net conservation benefit for the RCW. These management strategies include: forest management, hardwood midstory management, prescribed burning, RCW cavity management and RCW population management.
For information regarding enrolling in the RCW Safe Harbor Program, contact Eric Baka, RCW Safe Harbor Coordinator at 318-487-5885 or ebaka@wlf.la.gov.
*Photo caption: LDWF Secretary Robert Barham thanks co-hosts Kent Anderson and David Cassels at the 3rd Annual Red-cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Cooperators Meeting.



Gulf Council Hosts Public Hearings on Red Snapper Allocation

Release Date: 03/11/2014

(Mar. 11, 2014) – The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council will host a public hearing in Kenner, Louisiana this Thursday, March 13, to solicit comments on Gulf red snapper allocation. The meeting will be held at LaQuinta Inn and Suites at 2610 Williams Blvd., Kenner, LA at 6 p.m.

The Gulf Council is currently considering Reef Fish Amendment 28, which examines allocating red snapper resources between the commercial and recreational sectors. 

The current allocation of Gulf of Mexico red snapper, which is 51% commercial and 49% recreational, was established in 1990 through Reef Fish Amendment 1. This allocation was based on the historical average of red snapper landings by sector from 1979 through 1987. The red snapper stock in the Gulf of Mexico has been under a rebuilding plan since 1997, and in 2012, NOAA Fisheries declared that overfishing of the stock had ended.

The Gulf Council recently held listening sessions throughout the Gulf coast regarding recreational fisheries management.   Louisiana anglers showed up in greater numbers than all other Gulf States combined and overwhelmingly supported the Gulf Council revisiting outdated red snapper reallocations.

The Gulf Council is considering seven allocation alternatives. Their preferred alternative (#5) states that if the red snapper quota is less than or equal to 9.12 million pounds, the commercial and recreational red snapper allocations of 51% and 49% respectively, will be maintained. If the red snapper quota is greater than 9.12 million pounds, then 75% of the amount in excess of 9.12 million pounds will be allocated to the recreational sector and 25% to the commercial sector.

Comments on Reef Fish Amendment 28 will also be accepted online at http://bit.ly/MS14U0.

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 (504) 286-8733.



108 Fish Tagged in LASS Redfish Opener

Release Date: 03/11/2014

1st place. Sidney Cantelli and Bubby Lamy
1st place youth.Noah Crane


Slidell Partners Bubby Lamy and Sidney Cantelli Take Home Top Prize
(Mar. 11, 2014) - The Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Tournament opened its 2014 season on Saturday at Boudreaux's Marina in Cocodrie, La.  Participating anglers brought in 108 fish to be tagged and released as part of the Department's flourishing Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program.
Taking home over $4,000 and a first place finish were Bubby Lamy and Sidney Cantelli of Slidell, La., with a two-fish total weight of 16.78 pounds.
"We had a great time fishing the opening tournament," said Lamy.  "We had our first big fish within the first 30 minutes of our first stop.  We had to grind it out to get our second big fish, taking up most of the morning."
Five young anglers participated on Saturday in the youth-exclusive division, with one younger angler, Noah Crane, traveling all the way from Sandwich, Ill. to compete.  He hooked a 7.75 pound redfish, earning him the title of Top Finishing Youth and loads of bragging rights and stories to bring home to Illinois.  
Lamy and Cantelli are no strangers to the series, but this is their first time to finish at the top of the ranks.  Of the twenty-eight participating teams, top finishers included: Barnie and Steve White, second place; Jimmy Matherne and Kevin Davis, third place; Hugh and Zack LeBeouf, fourth place; Chad and Kevin Harvey, fifth place; Paul Smith and Kyle Mitternight, sixth place.  Joel Porretto and Nathan Lepre took home the smallest fish prize.
Sponsors for the 2014 series include Shimano, King Cooker, SeaTow New Orleans, Bomber Baits, Cabela's, Standard Mapping, Frabill, Work Sharp Knife Sharpeners and Coors Light.  A special thanks to Front 2 Back Boat Service for providing a meal to all of the competitiors.  
The LASS is hosted annually by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, the tournament's non-profit partner.  The LWFF 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.
Visit www.lasaltwaterseries.com for the 2014 schedule, registration and additional details.  The tournament's next stop is Calcasieu Point Landing in Lake Charles on April 5.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us atwww.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 or (225) 721-0489.



L.D.W.F. Announces 2014 Feral Hog Trapping Lottery on Wildlife Management Areas

Release Date: 03/10/2014

March 10, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for an experimental spring/summer feral hog trapping season on select wildlife management areas around the state.
The experimental season will run from May 1 to Aug. 31, 2014, on the following WMAs: Boeuf, Clear Creek, Jackson-Bienville, Manchac, Pearl River, Richard K. Yancey, Sherburne, Thistlethwaite and West Bay.
Applications will be accepted through April 4, 2014 and forms can be obtained via the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts . For those without web access, call 225-765-2346 to obtain an application. A non-refundable $5 administrative fee must be submitted with each application.
Lottery rules:

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Each selected applicant will be assigned to a specific unit on the WMA for the entire trapping period.
  • Traps will be corral type traps only. No snares will be allowed.
  • No live transport will be allowed.
  • Access allowances and restrictions will vary by area and by unit assigned, and will be specified on a permit issued to selected applicants.
  • Each selected applicant must attend a mandatory class prior to any activity on the WMA. This class will be scheduled by LDWF prior to the WMA feral hog trapping season and the selected applicants will be notified.
  • Selected applicant must possess a basic hunting license and WMA permit to participate.

The purpose of the experimental season is to reduce the feral hog numbers on the WMAs selected and subsequently reduce habitat destruction. Damage to wildlife management areas and private property in recent years has increased as the feral hog population in Louisiana has increased. Hog harvest by hunters on WMAs during fall-winter hunting seasons has not been successful in keeping hog populations under control.
To view a complete list of state WMAs, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma .
For more information: contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 ssmith@wlf.la.gov .



Reward Increased to $20,000 for Information on Whooping Cranes Shot in Jefferson Davis Parish

Release Date: 03/10/2014

March 10, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that the reward has been increased to $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting the two whooping cranes found in Jefferson Davis Parish on Feb. 7.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact LDWF’s Enforcement Division by calling 1-800-442-2511 or using the tip411 program.

To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play free of charge.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

Organizations contributing to the reward fund include the Humane Society of the U.S., Dr. Ben Burton, the Louisiana Operation Game Thief Program, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, Sara Simmonds, the Animal Welfare Institute, Operation Migration, Lake Charles Area Sportsmen, the International Crane Foundation, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Audubon Nature Institute, Zoo New England, King White, Lowry Park Zoo, Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, San Antonio Zoo, Joe Brooks and anonymous donors.

The whooping cranes were found near the corner of Compton Road and Radio Tower Road just north of Roanoke, about five miles north of Interstate 10. One bird was already dead when found and the second crane was transported to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge, operated on and subsequently had to be euthanized when it failed to respond to recovery efforts.

LDWF has been working to restore a wild whooping crane population in Louisiana. Fifty juvenile cranes, brought to Louisiana in four separate cohort groups, have been released at LDWF’s White Lake property near Gueydan since 2011. Prior to this incident, 33 of those birds were alive and well on the landscape in central and southwest Louisiana.  Some have been lost to predators, some to naturally occurring health problems, and five in total have been confirmed as killed or wounded by firearms.

To learn more about LDWF’s whooping crane re-population project, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.

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

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