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

Release Date: 06/15/2011

Agricultural and hunting leases up for competitive public bid summer 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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