Oil Spill

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Announces Further Recreational and Commercial Fishing Closure due to Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Release Date: 05/08/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today it will be closing recreational and commercial fishing in further areas of state waters as a precautionary response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

This action expands the previously announced emergency commercial and recreational fishing closure to include an area of the state's territorial sea west of the Mississippi River to Point au Fer and the beaches that border any of the closed areas.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham announced the closure of both recreational and commercial fishing in the state territorial seas, and the bordering beaches, extending from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River westward to the eastern portion of Atchafalaya Bay at Point au Fer at 91 degrees 20 minutes 44 seconds west longitude.  This closure will take place at 6 pm, tonight, May 9, 2010.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig accident has resulted in a significant release of oil into the offshore waters of Louisiana and the area of impact is expanding. Oil has the potential to impact fish and other aquatic life in portions of Louisiana's coastal waters.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is working closely with the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Governor's Office for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness as the situation unfolds. Updates on any further closures or changes in the status of areas closed will be posted at emergency.louisiana.gov.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos in from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep

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LDWF Grand Isle Research Lab Set as a Staging Ground for Oil Spill Response

Release Date: 05/08/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries research lab located at Grand Isle has been activated as a staging ground for south central Louisiana oil-spill related actions.  Twenty LDWF biologists and National Marine Fisheries biologists are stationed at the lab, along with more than 20 LDWF enforcement agents with six vessels are stationed for rescue, monitoring and recovery efforts.


"We are thrilled to open the doors of our state-of-the-art facility to all agencies involved in the oil-spill recovery efforts," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  "We are making every effort to mitigate the effects of the oil on Louisiana's wildlife and our diligent efforts to recover animals will help give these creatures the best chance."


LDWF fisheries biologists will conduct daily beach patrols for oil-affected marine mammals, sea turtles and birds.  These surveys will cover more than 25 miles of beach including Grand Terre, Grand Isle, Elmer's Island and Port Fourchon.


Upon discovery of oil-impacted wildlife, a team of four biologists will respond to the location to make an assessment of the animal.  Oiled marine mammals such as dolphins, manatees, whales and sea turtles are taken to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. Birds and other wildlife species are transported to the Oiled Wildlife Recon and Recovery Facility at Fort Jackson near Venice, LA where they are examined and triaged. 


In an effort to determine a cause of death, deceased wildlife are brought to the Grand Isle lab where biologists perform full necropsies.  Once all procedures are complete, LDWF biologists in coordination with NOAA, collect samples, document necessary data and finally secure specimen for further scientific research.


While staged at the Grand Isle fisheries research lab, biologists are also conducting daily offshore patrols surveying for distressed marine life and field surveys of local estuaries for oiled birds.


About the Grand Isle Fisheries Research Lab


The $23 million, state-of-the-art lab supports resource sampling and research work performed by Office of Fisheries staff, which drives the decision making process for management of the resources within the entire state.  Biologists based in Grand Isle study a variety of marine species including finfish, crab, shrimp and oysters and their associated habitat, which are all vital to the economy of Louisiana.


The following measures were taken to ensure that the facility is hurricane and flood proof:


Dredged material from construction of the marina was used to build the site up to 6 feet above sea level
The buildings are raised to 12 feet above the new grade which results in the finished floors being 18 feet above sea level
All elements at grade are designed to "wash out" during a high flood event
The buildings are constructed of concrete columns, beams, floors and walls to withstand  150+ MPH winds


The new facility will allow LDWF to continue to build on the cooperative working relationships with the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program.


Facility space is available in the visitors' lab to accommodate the research needs of any public group or visiting scientist and can provide meeting space for up to 100 people.


For more information contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or 225-610-2363.


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LDAF, LDWF Staging Assets for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Effort

Release Date: 05/07/2010

       


The Louisiana Departments of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) and Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) are bringing assets into the recovery zone to support the mission of biologists and rehab specialists as they work to save oiled bird species and mammals.


Resources have been positioned in Plaquemines Parish to accommodate the anticipated need for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts as oil moves into coastal marshes along the Louisiana coast.


"We are partnering again with Ag and Forestry to respond to a disaster of a different kind," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. "Dr. Strain has worked with us closely in hurricane response missions and the close partnership is at work once again."


LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the agency LDAF provided 3,000 animal crates to LDWF for use in Plaquemines Parish in the response effort to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The crates will house shorebirds, migratory birds and various marsh mammals impacted by the oil spill.


Reports on wildlife affected by the oil total four birds being treated at the Fort Jackson rehabilitation center in Buras. Two other birds have been found dead since the recovery mission began.


LDWF biologists, along with biologists from federal and contracted recovery specialists, are making daily trips into oil impacted marshland areas to recover distressed wildlife.


"The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry stands ready to assist in the oil spill response in any way," Strain said.


The crates, used for pet evacuation during hurricanes Gustav and Ike, were shipped from an animal evacuation facility at Dixon Correctional Institute near Zachary and the Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville. The LDAF is monitoring the oil spill's movement and studying the possible impact to domestic animals and agriculture.


For more information related to the oil spill, visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep


For more information contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.


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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Begins Wildlife Rehabilitation After Gulf Coast Oil Spill

Release Date: 05/07/2010


       


Biologists and enforcement agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) were on the water Friday, May 7, 2010, scouting for oiled wildlife and marine life.  Boats left Venice early Friday morning making regular trips throughout the day.


As the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill reaches land the crucial task of rescuing oiled wildlife begins.  Oiled marine mammals such as dolphins, manatees, and whales as well as sea turtles are taken to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans and other locations along the coast.  Birds and other wildlife species are transported to the Oiled Wildlife Recon & Recovery Facility at Fort Jackson near Venice, LA where they are examined and triaged.


"Most of the animals are dehydrated and malnourished by the time we get them," explains LDWF State Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. James LaCour, "so our first tasks are to rehydrate and feed them. Washing off the oil comes later.  Once the animal is stable, then we wash off the oil.  If we attempt to wash the animal first, we could worsen its condition or cause the animal to die because of its heightened stress level."


The rehabilitation facility at Fort Jackson is fully functional.  It warehouses transportation cages, provides triage, rehab areas and pens for animals that need a longer stay.  Some pens include ponds especially for birds. Once a bird is preening, eating and flying on its own, it is ready for release.


"It's sort of a "M.A.S.H." type set-up for the animals, with triage first, basic rehabilitation afterwards and then release." commented Dr. LaCour.   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determines the location of the release, which can be anywhere in the United States.


When asked what to expect in the coming days, Dr. LaCour says it all depends on the oil.  "If it hits the areas where the pelicans and osprey are nesting with young chicks, it could have drastic effects. We're taking it one day at a time."


In preparation for injured and oiled wildlife, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) delivered 3,000 animal crates to a warehouse near Fort Jackson for LDWFs use.  The crates, used for pet evacuation during hurricanes Gustav and Ike, were shipped from an animal evacuation facility at Dixon Correctional Institute near Zachary and the Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville.


For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov.  Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSE and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos in from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.


For more information contact Marianne Burke at mburke@wlf.la.gov or 225-315-6878.


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L.D.W.F. ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE CHANGES TO THE LOUISIANA SHRIMP SEASON

Release Date: 05/07/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced that the shrimp season in the territorial seas of the central coast of Louisiana - from Four  Bayou Pass to Freshwater Bayou  -- closes effective sunset, Saturday, May 8, 2010.

Effective with this action, all outside territorial waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line to Freshwater Bayou are closed to shrimp harvesting.

Secretary Barham also announced that LDWF will delay the opening of the inshore shrimp season in Zone 2 until further notice.

Secretary Barham also announced that the inshore waters of Zone 3, from the western shore of Vermilion Bay to the Louisiana/Texas state line are opened at sunset, Saturday, May 8, 2010.

Secretary Barham has made these decisions based on the potential effects from the Gulf oil spill and under the authority granted by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.

 For more information related to the oil spill, visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter @GOHSEP.

For more information contact Laura Deslatte at 225-610-2363 or ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov.

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L.D.W.F. AGENTS DISCOVER TWO DEAD SEABIRDS IN GRAND GOSIER AREA

Release Date: 05/05/2010


Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents discovered two dead gannets, possibly killed by the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill, on May 5th.  A determination has not been made on the cause of the birds deaths, but agents confirmed that the birds were covered in oil when found.


Sgt. Ray Champagne and Sr. Agent Aaron Hastings discovered the birds while patrolling closed fishing grounds near the Grand Gosier Islands off of Plaquemines Parish.  The agents relinquished the birds to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel in Venice who will be responsible for determining the cause of the deaths.


Gannets are large seabirds commonly found in Louisianas coastal areas.


For more information please contact Michael Carloss at mcarloss@wlf.la.gov


For more information related to the oil spill, visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.


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L.D.W.F. SECRETARY ANNOUNCES EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF PORTION OF TERRITORIAL SEAS TO SHRIMP HARVESTING

Release Date: 05/05/2010

BATON ROUGE - Today LDWF Secretary Robert Barham issued an emergency closure of shrimp harvesting in territorial seas from the south pass of the Mississippi River to the eastern shore of Four Bayous Pass, effective at 6PM, May 6, 2010. Latest projections from NOAA indicate that this area may be vulnerable to oil in the coming days.
 
"We are constantly monitoring and conducting field surveys to ensure all Louisiana's water that may be impacted by this oil are closed to harvesting. We are prepared and ready to do what it takes to protect Louisianas fishermen and seafood consumers," said LDWF Secretary Barham.
 
Vessels fishing offshore will be allowed to pass through the closed area when returning to dock.
 
For more information related to the oil spill, visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov.  Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP  and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos in from the state's response efforts at www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep .

For more information contact Laura Deslatte at 225.610.2363 or ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov.

2010-134

L.D.W.F. ENFORCEMENT DIVISION ASSISTING WITH OIL SPILL RESPONSE

Release Date: 05/05/2010


 


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division deployed their forward mobile command center to the Breton Sound Marina in St. Bernard Parish this week to support department operations regarding the oil spill in the gulf.


LDWF Enforcement Division agents manning the forward command center will issue daily missions in the Venice and Hopedale areas, issue daily field reports of agent activity and respond to emergency situations.  Agents will continue to patrol the fishing closure areas and monitor the loading, deploying and tending of boom materials.


"We have the assets and agents in strategic places to support the local fishermen laying boom and respond to search and rescue missions should the conditions get dangerous," Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Law Enforcement Division.  "We are also assisting the state in retrieving and transporting oiled wildlife to cleanup areas."


While on patrol, agents will report any oil found in the water or on land and endangered wildlife and aquatic creatures to the mobile forward command center.  Enforcement is also patrolling the oil spill and fishing closure area by air with their amphibious plane.


Starting tomorrow May 7, 10 biologists with the LDWF Coastal and Nongame Resources Division will pair up with Enforcement Division agents to ride along during patrols to retrieve any oiled wildlife.


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


2010-135

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LOUISIANA WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES COMMISSION TAKES ACTION TO ESTABLISH SEASON OPENINGS AND CLOSURES (AMENDED)

Release Date: 05/05/2010

Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission received briefings on the latest impact of the oil spill in the Gulf, which resulted from the Deepwater Horizon drilling accident.  Based on this update and other biological data, the commission took the following action on fishing closures and openings. 

Continued fishing closures

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission issued a declaration of emergency at todays meeting, continuing the closure of both recreational and commercial fishing in some coastal areas east of the Mississippi River.

"Today's actions by the commission help ensure that Louisianians are safe from any ill-effects from this oil spill," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  "We are continuing to monitor the spill and work with our state partners to ensure all Louisiana waters are safe for fishing."

Barham announced the initial closure of both recreational and commercial fishing on April 30 in cooperation with the Department of Health and Hospitals who announced a concurrent closure of certain oyster harvesting areas.  The closed fishing area includes coastal waters east of the Mississippi River, excluding the coastal boundaries of Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas. 

Louisiana spring shrimp season to open

The opening dates of the 2010 Louisiana spring shrimp season were announced at todays meeting. The commission set the spring shrimp season dates based on the authority provided in statute. The commission also took into consideration the recent developments and predicted trajectory from the Deepwater Horizon incident.  LDWF Secretary Barham was also granted the authority to adjust these season dates based upon biological and technical data.

The 2010 Louisiana shrimp season will open as follows:

  • Shrimp Management Zone 2 beginning at the eastern shore of South Pass at the Mississippi River westward to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to open at 6 AM, May 10, 2010.
  • Portions of the Calcasieu ship channel and the Sabine River ship channel within Zone 3 shall open at 6 AM, May 10, 2010
  • The remaining portion of Shrimp Management Zone 3 will open at 6 AM, May 31, 2010

The Commission also granted authority to the LDWF secretary to open the spring shrimp season both inside and outside state waters within Shrimp Management Zone 1 when the current LDWF precautionary fisheries closure within these waters is suspended.

The Commission gave Barham authority to delay the opening of the 2010 spring inshore shrimp season if biological and technical data indicate the presence of significant numbers of small-sized brown shrimp.  It also gave authority to close any portion of Louisiana's inside waters to protect small white shrimp if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so, or enforcement problems develop.

LDWF management recommendations for spring inshore opening dates utilize criteria which project the date when a minimum of 50 percent of the inshore brown shrimp population sampled reach sizes of 100 count (per pound) or larger.  Last year, Louisiana shrimp landings totaled 110.3 million pounds (all species combined/heads-on weight) and were valued at $113 million dockside.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos in from the state's response efforts at www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

For more information contact Laura Deslatte at 225.610.2363 or ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov

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LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES TRAINS EMPLOYEES FOR ONSHORE CLEANUP

Release Date: 05/04/2010

 


BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) began a series of training classes on Tuesday, May 4, for employees involved with the onshore cleanup operations resulting from the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on April 20, 2010. Employees attended a four-hour "Post Emergency Spilled Oil Cleanup Gulf Coast Training" course at LDWF headquarters in Baton Rouge.


The training courses teach techniques and safety precautions when involved in petroleum cleanup of weathered or "low hazard" oil. Weathered oil is petroleum exposed to the elements that no longer presents a breathing hazard. Cleanup crews are required to wear appropriate safety clothing but not required to wear breathing apparatus. The training is strictly for onshore clean up and covers all areas of recovery from oiled wildlife species to habitat and beach debris removal.


"This training will prepare our employees for the vital work that will need to be done to restore wildlife habitat in oil-impacted areas," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. "Rescuing wildlife species affected by oil is a delicate process, but we will be ready."


LDWF will offer at least three courses this week for employees involved with wildlife and habitat clean up and possibly more courses in the future. Employees taking the course must pass a certification test to participate in the oil spill response and are only certified for the specific response efforts resulting from this oil spill. Approximately 90 LDWF employees are scheduled for training this week.


The course is taught by Jeff Brady of Safety Ahead, Gonzales, LA and contracted through British Petroleum. Safety Ahead has offered safety training for 17 years.


The state of Louisiana's Joint Information Center for media inquiries can also be reached at (225) 358-5361 and <JIC@la.gov>. For more information related to the oil spill, visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.


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