Statewide Environmental Investigations

Statewide Environmental Investigations is part of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Habitat Section. Statewide Environmental Investigations is authorized under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act and is partially funded by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant.

Technical Assistance

Statewide Environmental Investigations' staff is responsible for reviewing and providing technical comments and mitigation recommendations on all permit applications from state and federal environmental regulatory agencies. Staff members review and comment on approximately 1,600 state and federal permit applications annually. Staff-generated comments and recommendations are designed to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate adverse impacts to Louisiana's fish and wildlife resources. By working with environmental regulatory agencies to incorporate these recommendations into plans or into permit conditions, fish and wildlife habitat losses are avoided, minimized, and/or fully compensated for. As a result, sustainable fish and wildlife communities are conserved.

Statewide Environmental Investigations' staff collaborates with numerous federal, state, and local environmental regulatory agencies, including, but not limited to,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and LDWF's Natural and Scenic Rivers Program. Additionally, staff provides technical assistance to the general public upon request.

Mitigation Banking

Statewide Environmental Investigations' staff also represent LDWF on two mitigation bank Interagency Review Teams (IRT) chaired separately by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' New Orleans District and Vicksburg District. The purpose of the IRT is to provide regulatory review, approval, and oversight of mitigation banks. Mitigation banks are wetlands, streams, or other aquatic resource areas that have been restored, established, enhanced, or preserved for the purpose of providing compensation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources. In addition to LDWF and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the IRTs are comprised of representatives from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries Service (New Orleans District only), and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (New Orleans District only).

Oyster Leasing Areas

Statewide Environmental Investigations also assists in protecting all private oyster grounds and their lessees. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, staff review and approve oyster lease assessments submitted by project applicants prior to the initiation of activities affecting state water bottoms under lease to private parties for oyster production.At the request of Statewide Environmental Investigations' staff, a project applicant can be required to modify the project if the proposed location unnecessarily impacts oyster reef habitat.

Contacts

Kyle Balkum, Biologist Program Manager - 225-765-2819 or kbalkum@wlf.la.gov
Keith Cascio, Biologist Manager - 318-343-4045 or kcascio@wlf.la.gov 
Chris Davis, Biologist - 225-765-2642 or rcdavis@wlf.la.gov 
Dave Butler, Permits Coordinator - 225-763-3595 or dbutler@wlf.la.gov