General

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Temple-Inland Agrees to State Request to Support Sampling of Private Water Wells and Seafood

Release Date: 08/19/2011

LDWf Enforcement Mobile Command

August 19, 2011 — The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) are working with local officials in Washington and St. Tammany parishes to conduct a new round of precautionary testing of a sample of private water wells along the Pearl River. Temple Inland agreed to support the state’s request to begin precautionary testing earlier today.

Initial testing of drinking water from public water systems by DHH and of the river water impacted by the discharge by DEQ showed non-detect levels of volatile organic contaminants, as well as acceptable levels for other types of potential contaminants. The new testing is being done out of an abundance of caution.

For private well sampling, DHH is working with local officials and engineers in Washington and St. Tammany parishes to identify a sample of 10 registered private water wells in each parish to test. Those samples are being collected today and tomorrow and will be analyzed over the weekend by DHH’s lab in Metairie, which also analyzed the public water system samples taken earlier this week. Results are expected back by Monday and Tuesday.

More information about private water well safety and testing can be found at www.privatewaterandsewage.dhh.la.gov.

Seafood testing also set to begin

DHH and LDWF will also begin testing seafood from areas that could have been or will be impacted by the “Black Liquor” that was formed after the Temple-Island discharge. Temple Inland agreed to support DHH’s water testing efforts earlier today.

LDWF began pulling live samples of crab, shrimp and finfish following a protocol similar to the one used during last year’s BP oil spill, and will provide those samples to DHH to be tested. LDWF fisheries biologists are sampling at multiple locations, including in the upper, middle and lower Pearl River, two control sites, and sites in the Rigolets at the mouth of the Pearl River and in Mud Lake.

Because of the nature of potential contaminants from the mill, DHH will conduct more complex testing that requires specialized equipment and specially trained personnel. Results are expected by the middle to end of next week.

DHH, which oversees safety of the state’s oyster areas, has been monitoring Oyster Areas 1, 2 and 3, which could get water from the Pearl River for signs of the “Black Liquor.” Samples already pulled from those areas routinely will be used to conduct baseline testing so that if the discharge material gets to the area, DHH will be able to do additional testing to ensure the safety of the oysters in those areas.

Temple-Inland, which has admitted responsibility for the incident that led to a large fish kill, agreed to the state’s request to pay for the precautionary random testing of private water wells and seafood.

Incident Command Centers in St. Tammany and Washington Parishes

Incident command centers for LDWF and DEQ have been set up in Washington and St. Tammany parishes to assist in the response. LDWF Mobile Command is located in Washington Parish just south of Bogalusa at Pools Bluff off of Hwy 21 in Washington Parish on the Pearl River. This is a high-profile location from where cleanup vessels and other vessels are launching. DEQ is sending a command post to this same location as water sampling along the Pearl River continues. The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and DEQ have command posts set up in St. Tammany Parish at the Crawford Landing boat ramp.

Water quality back to normal in some areas

Water samples throughout the Pearl River from the discharge point at Temple-Inland Bogalusa Mill to below Pools Bluff show the water quality is back to normal. These are areas that are above the plume. Information from a DEQ over-flight today shows a dramatic improvement in water quality since yesterday. As the plume dissipates it gets harder to identify. Preliminary in-depth water quality samples taken on Aug. 14 at the discharge point returned from the lab today and show there were no chemicals of concern released from the Inland-Temple Mill outfall. Dozens of daily samples have been taken in the Pearl River since August 13. Recent assessments show water quality levels in Pearl River, from Washington Parish to the end of the river, are not lethal to fish.

Further Information Available

People with questions about the incident can call the DEQ hotline number is 225-342-1234 or 1-888-763-5424. The DEQ Regional Office number is 504-736-7701. The LDWF 24-hour hotline for reporting further fish kill impacts is 1-800-442-2511. For health questions people can call the Louisiana Poison Center, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-222-1222. Media inquiries should go to 225-219-3964 or 225-329-9743.

Sherburne W.M.A. Again Accessible from US Hwy. 190

Release Date: 08/18/2011

Aug. 18, 2011 -- Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is again accessible via US Hwy. 190 now that LA 975 has been reopened.

LA 975 had been closed due to flood impacts from spring floodwater. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development recently completed necessary repairs and determined the road safe for vehicular traffic.

Big Alabama Road, within the WMA, is the only remaining interior roadway closed.  LDWF will provide notification once repairs to Big Alabama Road have been completed.  Sherburne WMA includes acreage in St. Martin, Pointe Coupee and Iberville Parishes.

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/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, contact Johnathan Bordelon at jbordelon@wlf.la.gov or Tony Vidrine at tvidrine@wlf.la.gov or call LDWF’s Opelousas field office at 337-948-0255.

Final Qualifying Louisiana Saltwater Series Tournament Scheduled This Weekend

Release Date: 08/17/2011

 

Aug. 18, 2011 –The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) anticipates a crowd at its final qualifying Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Tournament this weekend at Moran’s Marina in Port Fourchon, La. on August 20, 2011.  The series is dedicated to catch-and-release saltwater angling through a series of agency-sponsored fishing tournaments.

The series was developed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation to promote conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources and targets one of Louisiana’s most valuable sport fish, redfish.  

The grassroots-based tournament provides anglers with the opportunity to give back to the resource.  Contestants vie for cash prizes and test their skill while enjoying the thrill of the competitive sport. 

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.

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. 

The 2011 series is comprised of six fishing events and a championship. Tournament locations are scheduled across the coast.  The tournament will close with its Championship on October 7 and 8 at The Delta Marina in Empire, La.

Online registration for the tournament will close on Thursday, August 18 at noon, but those interested in participating can register at Moran’s Marina from 4:30 to 5:30 a.m., the morning of the event.  Only cash or checks will be accepted for payment of registration fees the morning of the event.

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.W.F.C. Provides Dates for Deer Hunting with Dogs in Kisatchie National Forest

Release Date: 08/17/2011

KNF Officials Must Survey Public for Opinions and Render Decision to Finalize

Aug. 17, 2011 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC), in a special meeting to consider changing already established still hunting dates to allow for deer hunting with dogs in Kisatchie National Forest (KNF), today approved a motion for a nine day period in December for that activity. KNF officials at the meeting explained and answered questions regarding the US Forest Service process.
 
“Because the federal ban on deer hunting with dogs on Kisatchie has been reversed, the commission felt the issue should be reconsidered in fairness to those hunters who choose to hunt deer with dogs,” said Stephen Sagrera, LWFC chairman.
 
The dates approved by the Commission, Dec. 17 through 25, would pertain to the Catahoula, Winn and Kisatchie Ranger Districts and the Evangeline Unit of the Calcasieu Ranger District.
 
“The Forest Service will proceed with addressing those deficiencies identified in the previous process and will include opportunities for the public to comment and participate,” said Michael Balboni, KNF Forest Supervisor.  “The goal is to make a new decision this fall.”
 
Commission action, taken as a declaration of emergency, was necessary since the 2011-12 deer hunting dates recommended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) had been finalized following the public comment period provided from February through May of 2011. LDWF had not included deer hunting with dog dates as part of the proposed 2011-12 deer hunting season due to a decision announced by KNF officials in the fall of 2010 that deer hunting with dogs would no longer be allowed on KNF property.
 
US Forest Service officials in Washington, D.C., reversed the regional decision to discontinue deer hunting with dogs indicating that the rationale used to make that decision was not sound. That information was presented to the Commission at their Aug. 4 regular monthly meeting, prompting a reconsideration of the 2011-12 deer hunting dates already in place.
 
If deer hunting with dogs on KNF proceeds on the dates approved by the Commission today, the permitting process for that activity, as established by LDWF in 2010, will again be required for all hunters during the Dec. 17 – 25 portion of the deer season on KNF.
 
For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov  or Jim Caldwell at 318-473-7168 or jcaldwell@fs.fed.us.

WEEKLY eNEWS: Upcoming Events, Grants, Volunteer Opportunities, Resources

LEEC's Weekly eNews: A Compilation of Environmental Education News from Across Louisiana

UPCOMING EVENTS:

CC Lockwood will be LIVE in LPB’s Studios on August 17th
CC Lockwood has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to the Atchafalaya Basin. On Wednesday, August 17th, Louisiana Public Broadcasting will have Lockwood in the studios to comment on two programs about the Atchafalaya Basin that he was involved with.
          At 7PM, LPB will air Atchafalaya: America’s Largest River Basin Swamp, a remastered 16-mm movie that Lockwood produced in the 70s. This movie caught the attention of National Geographic and helped to turn the tide of future development of the basin.
          At 8PM, LPB presents Atchafalaya Swamp Revisited, a co-production of The Bill Rodman Production Shoppe and LPB. The program details Lockwood’s return to America's largest swamp wilderness, thirty years after his acclaimed Atchafalaya book and National Geographic article. Surprisingly, Lockwood found that the swamp's most interesting and threatened species had vanished.
Tune in to hear Lockwood’s account of his longtime love affair with this important Louisiana landmark. The programs will air live on LPB's state network of stations and will stream live on the internet at lpb.org/live.http://lpb.org/live

NSTA Express: Challenge Your Students to Become Energy Efficient (Deadline: October 7)
NSTA and the U.S. Department of Energy today opened registration for America’s Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC)—a nationwide student contest to help families save money by saving energy at home. AHEEC will engage students in elementary and middle schools to make smarter energy choices that reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and put money back in their parents’ pockets. Official registration for the Challenge begins today and ends October 7, 2011. Students, teachers, and principals are encouraged to register to participate at HomeEnergyChallenge.org. Participation in America’s Home Energy Education Challenge will be broken into two parts, the Home Energy Challenge and the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage students to learn about science and home energy savings. Visit the website for more details and updates or view the press release to learn more.

Keep the Sea Free of Debris ART CONTEST (Deadline: October 21)
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to host the annual Keep the Sea Free of Debris! Art Contest. We would like to know how marine debris impacts you and what you are doing about it. The winning artwork will be showcased in a NOAA Marine Debris Program 2013 calendar that will help in raising awareness about the global problem of marine debris. Additionally, the winners will be featured on the Program’s website and in their weekly newsletter, which reaches over 200,000 people each month! The next art contest open on September 16, 2011 and close October 21. This is to allow more time for judging and planning for a more robust 2013 calendar. Please visit http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/outreach/artcontest.html for details, entry form, and more information (will be posted on Sept. 16)!

Restoring & Protecting the Gulf Coast: Electronic FieldTrip-Register Today
Through funding provided by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Louisiana Public Broadcasting is streaming a live electronic field trip for middle and high school students, especially those in Gulf Coast states, as well as the public. The field trip will stream on September 7th at 10 a.m. Central (11 am Eastern). The field trip, “Think Again: Restoring and Protecting the Gulf Coast” (lasts about 20 minutes) will explore the economic value and damage to the region, strategies to restore and protect this critical area, and ways that students can help. Following the video students will be able to pose their questions live to a panel of experts in LPB’s studio. The Q&A period will last about 25 minutes. Pre-registration, which is required, and further information is available at lpb.org/thinkagain. A mini video will be online soon to help prepare students for the trip and to stimulate questions. Questions must be submitted in advance directly from the same site or to edtv@lpb.org. (Participants are urged to log in by 10 a.m. The field trip will begin promptly at 10:05.)


GRANTS

FY 2012 Conservation & Restoration Partnership Fund Request for Proposals (Deadline: September 16)
          This year the Conservation and Restoration Partnership Fund has dedicated $1 million to provide matching funds for projects aimed at coastal conservation and restoration. The State will use this funding to take advantage of grants, donations, and other private/public partnership opportunities to support the implementation of high priority coastal restoration projects. This will allow the State to further leverage its funds to achieve its coastal restoration goals.
          Proposals for coastal conservation and restoration projects that would benefit from additional funding are requested. Proposals should include a brief description of the project purpose, features, conceptual design, project area map and description of how it contributes to the criteria listed below. Proposals should be no more than two pages in length (i.e., one page description and one page map). Please submit proposals and/or direct questions about the program or project proposals by September 16, 2011 via mail, email, or fax to: Stuart Brown, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, 450 Laurel St., 12th Floor, Baton Rouge, LA 70801; phone: (225) 342-4596; fax: (225) 342-9417; stuart.brown@la.gov

Gulf of Mexico Regional Partnerships Request for Proposals (RFP) 2011 (Deadline: September 30)
          On, August 16, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency), announced the release of the “Gulf of Mexico Regional Partnerships RFP 2011”. The RFP is posted on the Gulf of Mexico Program’s website at: http://www.epa.gov/gmpo/, and at: http://www.epa.gov/gmpo/pdf/gm-regional-partnerships-rfp-2011.pdf. The RFP is also posted at Grants.gov at: http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=vg0hTLxdmRG7rJCJ11Gd8ScC3jhbtRc3RLhK1mmG7GwN2MKshxCx!-2068522047?oppId=115073&mode=VIEW
          Applicants can download individual grant application forms from EPA’s Office of Grants and Debarment website at: http://www.epa.gov/ogd/AppKit/application.htm. Proposals must be received by the Agency Contact by hard copy through the mail or commercial delivery service or through electronic submission to: http://www.grants.gov. The Agency Contact is Gerry Martin, martin.gerry@epa.gov, 228-688-1281. The address for hard copy submission is: EPA/Gulf of Mexico Program Office, ATTN: Gerry Martin, Mail Code: EPA/GMPO, Building 1100, Room 232, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529. The deadline for submissions is 5:00 P.M. Central Standard Time (CST), Friday, September 30, 2011.
          This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals for projects that improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico by addressing improved water quality and public health, priority coastal habitat conservation and restoration, more effective coastal environmental education, improved ecosystems integration and assessment, strategic nutrient reductions and coastal community resilience. Projects must actively involve stakeholders and focus on one of the six priority issue areas contained in the announcement; and/or the goals and objectives of the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program (acres restored, impaired stream/river segments removed and water quality improved.)
          The total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity is approximately $3,000,000. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 10 - 50 cooperative agreement(s) from this announcement, subject to availability of funds, the quality of proposals received and other applicable considerations.

State Farm Youth Advisory Board Member Applications Open (Deadline: October 3)
Applications are now available for new Board members for the State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB).  It is an amazing opportunity for a young person to grow as a leader, help out communities, and network with other youth from across the U.S. and Canada. Represent yourself and your community as a member of a diverse group of 30 youth, aged 17-20. The board is charged with managing and distributing $5 million per year in service-learning grants. As a member of the YAB, you will be provided an amazing personal developmental opportunity, as well as the opportunity to make a long-lasting impact in communities YOU care about, providing solutions to today’s pertinent issues. Apply now for the YAB by going to http://statefarmyab.com/apply/the-board/

Project Ignition Grants Available for Students to Address Teen Driver Safety (Deadline: November 15)
Public high schools in the United States and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick are invited to apply for the 2011-2012 grants. Twenty-five schools will be chosen to receive $2,000 grants to implement their campaigns from January to April of this school year. Ten of these schools will be selected to receive an additional $5,000 to support their participation in a significant national conference or event. These ten schools will also be given the opportunity to receive an additional $2,500 to go deeper with their campaigns during the following school year. Visit http://www.sfprojectignition.com/ for more information.


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Fourchon Maritime Forest Ridge Planting (August 24-25, 9 am –4 pm)
Join the BTNEP Volunteer Team as we vegetate critical habitat by planting over 7,000 marsh grasses! Forested Maritime Ridges provide critical habitat and storm protection to communities throughout coastal Louisiana. Efforts will involve planting marsh grasses and dune species on a restored maritime ridge that was constructed to restore habitat and protect Port Fourchon from storm surge. BTNEP and our partners are again asking for your support to help vegetate the ridge. All planting equipment (gloves, shovels, dibbles, etc.) will be provided. Volunteers should be prepared for heat and sunny weather and dress appropriately. Closed toe shoes only. Lunch and drinks will be provided to all volunteers. To register, please complete the form below and fax it to the BTNEP program office at 985.447.0870; or email the form to matt@btnep.org. Please check the BTNEP volunteer website or facebook page for updates and weather announcements as the event date approaches: http://volunteer.btnep.org


RESOURCES

American Museum Natural History Fall Courses
For those of you looking for credits this Fall, registration is open for two sessions of Seminars on Science from the American Museum of Natural History. The courses are ONLINE and can be taken for up to 4 graduate credits each. Courses run September - October OR October – November. You can sign up now at learn.amnh.org. Courses include: Evolution; Earth: Inside and Out; The Ocean System; The Solar System, Genetics, Genomics, Genethics; The Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds, Space, Time and Motion, and more. Since the courses are fully web-based, there is no need to come to the museum at any time and all courses are led by both an experienced classroom teacher and a PhD scientist in the field. For more information about the program or the courses, contact Katie Rasmussen or Julie Contino at seminfo@amnh.org or 800-649-6715.

Khan Academy – Watch. Practice. Learn almost anything for free.
http://www.khanacademy.org/
With a library of over 2,400 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 125 practice exercises, The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology.

Be A Beetle Buster
This fun, inquiry-based program will help you empower your students to play a central role in saving your community’s trees. Through flexible, standards-based units — one for Upper Elementary and After-School/Summer Programs, and one for Middle School and High School — you can achieve your teaching goals while challenging your students to make a difference in their community. The lessons are easy to teach. Each one includes Advance Prep sections and Supplemental Resources to “jumpstart” the activity. Lessons are engaging and relevant. You’ll find Introductory, Guided Inquiry, and Take Action aspects that will enable your students to engage and “show what they know.” The Beetle Busters downloadable components are designed to use with your students both during the school year and for after-school and summer programs: http://www.beetlebusters.info/beABeetleBuster_educators.php. Extend your Beetle Busters program with the following engaging resources: try the game to catch Asian Longhorned Beetles by scrolling down to the “Freeze & Collect” game...challenging!
 

New links to LEEC Resources Page:
http://www.epa.gov/teachers/
http://blog.epa.gov/greeningtheapple/
While some of these sites are state specific, some are for general educational use.

Visit the Louisiana Unified Coastal Community (LUCC) Calendar at http://lacoast.gov/calendar/
The goal of LUCC is to drive Web users to one location to find out about all wetland outreach activities including symposiums, conferences, meetings, educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities and the related support materials. This is an interactive Web based calendar that all wetland related national and state agencies and approved NGOs can post information to. The Web calendar will also provide local governments and other organizations that work with these agencies a place to post wetland activities. LUCC was the vision of the Louisiana Sea Grant. LUCC is hosted on the LaCoast.gov Web site. Currently the LaCoast.gov site gets 1,000,000 hits per month, the goal is to provide users with a “one-stop” location for Louisiana’s wetland activities.
 



Louisiana Environmental Education Commission – www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec
Venise Ortego, Environmental Education Coordinator, 337-948-0255, vortego@wlf.la.gov
Juliet Raffray, Environmental Education Assistant Coordinator, 225-765-0124, jraffray@wlf.la.gov

New Iberia Man Pleads Guilty for Taking Louisiana Black Bear

Release Date: 08/17/2011

 

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division investigation of an illegally taken black bear has resulted in a guilty plea of a New Iberia man in Federal Western District Court in Lafayette on Aug. 17.

Cory R. Ronsonet, 39, pled guilty before Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Hanna for one count of violating the endangered species act for illegally taking a Louisiana black bear.  A pre-sentence investigation is in progress to help determine penalties.  Ronsonet could receive up to $100,000 dollars in fines and up to one-year imprisonment.

LDWF initiated the investigation during the 2008-09 hunting season after receiving a public tip that a black bear had been shot and the bear was skinned and stored in a fashion to mount it in the future.  Agents then found a black bear skin and its decapitated head on May 19, 2011 off of Daniel Lane near a subdivision in New Iberia.  During the investigation, Ronsonet admitted to LDWF Enforcement Division agents on May 31, 2011 of taking the black bear in question.

"This is a perfect example of the public and law enforcement working together to help solve a case.  The agents did a great job of pursuing the perpetrator for over a year and bringing justice to this case," said Col. Winton Vidrine, Chief of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "Due to the nature of a federal investigation, enforcement officials were not able to provide any details about the investigation until this point."

LDWF Senior Agent David Boudreaux was the lead investigator on the case and was assisted by Sgts. James Rhodes, Mitch Darby, Brian Theriot and Senior Agent Jason Romero.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Special Agent Phillip Siragusa also assisted with the investigation.

The bear had been a part of LDWF's black bear program and was first tagged in 2000 when it was estimated to be six years old.  The passive integrated transponder implanted during the initial capture was left in the hide when the bear was skinned and provided positive identification.  LDWF had never received a nuisance call about this older male bear that lived mostly in the Weeks Island area of lower Iberia Parish.

The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992.  Citizens are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Agencies Continue Investigation of Fish Kill in Pearl River

Release Date: 08/17/2011

August 17, 2011 – State, local and federal agencies continue to respond to a fish kill in the Pearl River that originated near Bogalusa in Washington Parish. This fish kill was reported on Saturday and the slug of black water believed to have caused or contributed to the fish kills has moved south through St. Tammany Parish.

In response to the event, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has deployed its Mobile Command Unit to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Pearl River Wildlife Management Area to serve as unified command area to support local emergency management and other state agencies in this response effort.  GOHSEP has also activated its Crisis Action Team. LDWF and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) continue to monitor the water in Pearl River. Water sampling results for dissolved oxygen and pH show the river is returning to normal water quality.

Officials from DEQ worked with its counterparts in Mississippi to have the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District increase the discharge from the Ross Barnett Reservoir to increase the flow in the Pearl River, according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The increased flow in the river will increase the amount of fresh water in the river and help increase the low oxygen currently in the river.

LDWF fisheries biologists continue to survey the Pearl River, beginning in Pools Bluff Sill south to the Rigolets. On Tuesday, August 16, LDWF staff surveyed 36 miles of the West Pearl River from Holmes Bayou to the Rigolets.

The total number of dead fish and mussels is still being compiled; information from each day’s surveillance will be assembled for a total count at the end of the event. The final total estimates will include those from DEQ and Mississippi DEQ. To date, 24 species of fish have been identified as part of the fish kill, including paddlefish, American eels, catfish, bass, bluegill and shad. Two species of freshwater mussels have also been identified in the fish kill.

Also included in the kill are Gulf sturgeon -- a species listed as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. As of August 16, 19 Gulf sturgeon were collected by LDWF. Specimens are being handed over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as part of their investigation. LDWF fisheries biologists and enforcement agents are assisting USFWS in the investigation. 

The Department of Health and Hospitals recommends the following precautions, if you encounter or come into contact with (are exposed to) a fish kill:

• Stay out of the affected waters – If you were exposed to these waters, then bathe well with soap and water. Use antiseptics on any open cut or wound.
• Do not eat, handle, or collect any fish or shellfish from the affected waters.
• Do not let pets wade or swim in, drink, or eat fish from the affected waters.
• Seek medical advice if you experience illness that may be related to exposures to a fish kill, such as skin irritation or infection, upset stomach, sore throat, or breathing difficulty. 

The investigation into the cause of the fish kill continues.

The agencies involved have put together the following list of frequently asked questions to assist local officials and the public:


Pearl River
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Where do we call with complaints/information?
A.   The DEQ hotline number is 225-342-1234 or 1-888-763-5424. The DEQ Regional Office number is 504-736-7701.  The LDWF 24-hour hotline for reporting further fish kill impacts is 1-800-442-2511. If someone has questions about coming into contact with “black water,” the number for the Louisiana Poison Center, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is 1-800-222-1222. Media inquiries should go to 225-219-3964 or 225-329-9743.

Q. Is my drinking water safe?
A. Yes. No public water systems take water from the Pearl River, so there is no risk to drinking water from community water systems. Additionally, out of an abundance of caution, DHH sampled three public water systems along the Pearl River for volatile organic contaminants (VOCs) to confirm that the ground water supply was not impacted by the discharge incident. The samples showed no increase in VOCs and no VOCs above contaminant levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Q. What about private well water?
A. Private wells should be constructed in a way that does not take water from the river, so they should not be impacted. Additional testing of public water systems shows no VOCs above the level of concern in groundwater. People who are concerned should have their wells tested and/or treated.

Q.  Are there any human health risks from the substance that was discharged into the river?
A.  Fish kills occur for several reasons. The most common cause of death in a fish kill is a sudden shortage or absence of oxygen in the water. This does not pose a major human health risk. If a hazardous substance is involved, more caution will be required. Testing is currently underway by public safety officials. In the meantime, DHH recommends the following precautions, if you encounter or come in contact with (are exposed to) a fish kill:

• Stay out of the affected waters – If you went into these waters, then bathe well with soap and water. Use antiseptics on any open cut or wound.
• Do not eat, handle, or collect any fish or shellfish from the affected waters.
• Do not let pets wade or swim in, drink, or eat fish from the affected waters.
• Seek medical advice if you experience illness that may be related to contact with the water or dead fish and might include skin irritation or infection, GI upset, sore throat, or breathing difficulty. 

Q. Are any waterways closed as a result of this incident?
A. No. The Pearl River is a federally designated waterway; only the U.S. Coast Guard may issue a closure for this river and it has not done so at this time.

Q. What is the “Black Water” that is referred to in this incident?
A. We believe that the black water originated from an upset condition in the wastewater treatment system at the Temple Inland facility in Bogalusa.  However, we are in the middle of investigating the existing facts of the matter and are awaiting the results of analytical tests.  This material is what is commonly known in the paper industry as black liquor.  This material has a very high level of organic material that quickly reduces the available dissolved oxygen in the water.  Fish and other aquatic life actually suffocate when trapped in this water. 

Q. Who is responsible for this incident?
A. An investigation is ongoing by Louisiana, Mississippi and Federal officials to determine the cause or causes that lead to the fish kill. Again, we believe that the black water originated from an upset condition in the wastewater treatment system at the Temple Inland facility in Bogalusa.  However, the investigation continues as agencies continue to gather data.

Q. When the responsible party is found what happens to them?
A. The various agencies involved will each take the appropriate enforcement action based on the facts each uncovered during the investigation

Q. What are the terms DO and pH?
A. DO stands for dissolved oxygen.  It is a key factor in a healthy ecosystem and sufficient dissolved oxygen is necessary for fish to ‘breathe’. While the level of DO varies widely depending on the water body, a level of 5-7 parts per million would be normally expected in the upper reaches of the Pearl River. Additionally, pH is a chemical description for the acid/base condition of water.  It is based on a 0-14 scale with 6-8 considered generally to be normal.

Q. When will the river be back to normal?
A. The facility has been shut down since Saturday.  As such, there is no flow of effluent from the facility.  The material has flowed down the river to the Rigolets.  Subsequently, the water at the source of the discharge has already recovered.  DEQ has specialized personnel that will be on scene tomorrow that will examine the hydrology (movement, distribution, and quality of water) of the river.  After that examination we may better be able to determine when the water quality of the river will be back to normal. Water monitoring in the river shows the DO and pH levels are getting back to normal.

Q. Who is going to clean up the dead fish?
A. Temple Inland is hiring contractors and local fishermen to clean up the floating dead fish.  Citizens should leave the clean up to the contractors since federal and state law requires certain information be collected in these types and numbers of fish collected in these incidents. The estimated cleanup time if four to five days, but no timeframe is set because of the number of fish to be recovered may increase.

Q. Where will the dead fish go?
A. The fish will be disposed in a manner that meets local state, and federal laws.

Q. What kinds of fish are included in the fish kill?
A. As of now, LDWF biologists have identified 24 different species of fish in the fish kill. Some of those species are the paddlefish, the American eel, catfish, bluegill, bass and shad. Two species of freshwater mussels were also impacted by the fish kill.

Q. Were Gulf sturgeon, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, impacted by the fish kill?
A. Yes, 19 Gulf sturgeon (as of August 16) have been collected by LDWF officials and are in the custody of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for further investigation.

Q. Is the responsible party going to be shut down?
A. The facility suspected of the source of the discharge is currently not in operation.  They will not resume operations until we have assurance that they can do so safely.  Also, agencies are working with the company to assure that preventative measures are taken to prevent recurrence. 

Q. When did the fish start dying?
A. The investigation of the exact chain of events is still ongoing.  We were notified of the incident on Saturday, and the fish appeared at that time to have been dead for several days.

Q. How far did the pollution spread?
A. The investigation is ongoing; however DEQ believes the main mass of “Black Water” travelled down the West Pearl to the Rigolets.

 

For more information, contact Rodney Mallett at (225) 219-3964

2011 White Lake W.C.A. Youth Waterfowl Hunts Announced

Release Date: 08/16/2011

Aug. 16, 2011-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for the 2011 youth waterfowl lottery hunts on White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) in Vermilion Parish.

There is no charge for the LDWF-sponsored hunts on Nov. 5 and 6, provided as a quality experience for young waterfowl hunters. The participants in the hunts will be determined by a lottery drawing.

Applications for the lottery should be submitted to LDWF before close of business on Sept. 15, 2011. One applicant will be selected based on the Office of Wildlife’s seven field office geographic coverage areas plus one participant selected from the state at large.

Applicants must be 15 years of age and younger.  Selected hunters must be accompanied in the blind by a parent or guardian, though the youth will be the only one permitted to possess a firearm.

Applications may be obtained by contacting any of LDWF's field offices or by visiting the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts .  Completed applications may be delivered in person to Room 458 of the LDWF Building in Baton Rouge, or by mail.  The mailing address is: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Attention: White Lake Youth Waterfowl Hunt at P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

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/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information on White Lake WCA youth waterfowl hunts, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-479-1894 or sweeneykw@bellsouth.net .

Louisiana Crab Task Force to Meeting

Release Date: 08/15/2011

August 15, 2011 - The next meeting of the Louisiana Crab Task Force will be on Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. in the Louisiana Room of the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building in Baton Rouge, LA. 

Agenda items will include:  2012 Abandoned Crab Trap Program recommendations; a presentation by Lee Buckner, “Returns above Specified Costs: A Case Study of Lake Pontchartrain Basin Crab Fishing Trips from 2008-2010”; “Louisiana Wild” seafood certification program; LSPMB Marketing Strategy questions for the Blue Crab Industry; Crab peelings to Crab pellets; 2011 Crab Education Day planning; Blue Crab Marketing and Promotion Efforts.

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 Carl Britt at cbritt@wlf.la.gov or (985)882-0027.  For press inquiries please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363.

Louisiana Shrimp Task Force to Meet in Baton Rouge

Release Date: 08/15/2011

Louisiana Shrimp Task Force to Meet in Baton Rouge

August 15, 2011 – On Thursday, August 18, at 10:00 a.m., the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force will meet in Baton Rouge at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters in the fourth floor conference room. 

The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

        I.         Call to Order

        II.      Roll Call

        III.     Approval of 5.10.11 Meeting Minutes

        IV.     Introduction of New Member, Matt O’Brien, Dock Processor

        V.      Review and Approve Letter to Congressional Delegates Regarding Feinberg Issue

        VI.    Response from Senator Landrieu’s Office on Letter Regarding RESTORE Act

       VII.    Update on TED Issue

      VIII.    Update on Marketing Strategy from LSPMB

        IX.    Discussion on Increasing Shrimp Industry Funds to LSPMB

         X.    Discussion of Inside/Outside Boundaries

         XI.   Sustainability Update

        XII.   LouisianaWild Caught Certification Program Update – Joey Shepard

       XIII.   Shrimp Management Update – Marty Bourgeois

       XIV.    Public Comment

        XV.    Set Next Meeting Date

       XVI.   Closing Remarks

      XVII.   Adjourn

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.

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.

This meeting is open to the public.

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

 

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