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LDWF News Release

LDWF/LSU Research Indicates Feral Hogs Have Negative Impact on Water Quality in Some Central Louisiana Water Bodies

Release Date: 07/29/2016

July 29, 2016 – The proliferation of feral hogs in Louisiana has been well documented as have many of the negative impacts on wildlife.
 
But a research project by the LSU Agricultural Center’s School of Renewable Natural Resources in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries shows that feral hogs, recorded in all 64 parishes, are having a similarly detrimental effect on water quality on some water bodies in central Louisiana between Alexandria and Natchitoches.
 
The research, conducted from June 18-Sept. 1 in 2015, revealed that pathogens were extensive in sampled water bodies on private lands adjacent to Kisatchie National Forest and were regularly associated with feral hogs. The water at all 40 sites in the study contained one or more pathogens that were potentially unsafe for human or wildlife contact.
 
Of particular concern, of the 40 sites sampled, DNA fingerprinting positively matched 22 sites with high levels of E. coli in the water with fecal samples obtained from feral hogs both within and outside the areas sampled.
 
Additionally, salmonella was found at 38 of 40 sites. Both pathogens are considered harmful to both humans and wildlife. Associations were also noted between feral hog presence, heterotrophic bacteria counts (a measure of overall bacteria amount in the water) and microbes that could cause leptospirosis, yersinosis and Klebsiella pneumonia.
 
For wildlife, the diseases could have devastating effects. Leptospira spp. can cause kidney damage and loss of renal function in squirrels, raccoons and white-tailed deer.  Leptospira has caused abortions in white-tailed deer and many other mammals. Salmonella spp. can infect wild turkeys and other wild birds resulting in liver damage, severe diarrhea and death. Klebsiella spp. can cause sinusitis and pneumonia in wild birds and turkeys. Yersinia spp. can cause gastroenteritis in white-tailed deer and raccoons, and severe overwinter mortality has been observed in wild migratory birds.
 
Water quality in this region has suffered greatly on both privately and publicly owned land as the feral hog population has continued to expand, according to the report. Feral hogs are known carriers of more than 30 bacterial and viral diseases, including many pathogens than can be spread through contact with water.
 
“We learned through this study that there are some alarming pathogens in the water and feral hogs are implicated in the spread of these pathogens,’’ said Scott Durham, LDWF Director of Species Management. 
 
The impact to humans and wildlife in the region is particular cause for concern. Many recreational activities in these areas, including swimming, kayaking and hunting, could put humans in direct contact with these pathogens. Humans can become gravely ill from some of these diseases if misdiagnosed or untreated.
 
“Given the socio-cultural and economic importance of these species, loss of individuals, reduced condition and reduced fitness could have serious implications for human recreation and local economies,’’ the report said.
 
DNA fingerprinting indicated that feral hog family groups were moving or being moved great distances in the region, up to about 30 miles at a time.
 
Collaborative feral hog management between local landowners and public land managers is recommended in the study.
 
“This study provides incredibly significant findings, illuminating the real threat to wildlife populations and human health from this feral animal’s increasing presence across the state,’’ Durham said. “One way to help is to never transport feral hogs. In fact, it’s illegal to transport and release them. We need to develop ways to remove whole sounders (herds) of feral hogs, not just nickel and dime a few pigs at a time. You have to get rid of the whole sounder.’’
 
Click here to see the complete report.

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Agents Cite Men for Closed Season Shrimping In Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 07/29/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited two men for alleged shrimping violations on July 26 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Thuong Nguyen, 59, and Steven Nguyen, 27, both of Buras, for using skimmers in a closed season.

The agents were responding to complaints of illegal shrimping taking place in the Buras area.  During the stop agents seized and returned 75 pounds of shrimp to the water.

Using skimmers in a closed season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail plus forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Villerie Reggio and Agent Kyle Haydel.

Belle Chasse Man Cited for Illegal Shrimping

Release Date: 07/29/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited a Belle Chasse man for alleged shrimping violations on July 29 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Sang V. Pham 57, for using skimmers in a closed season.  Agents received complaints about a vessel illegally catching shrimp in Blind Bay.  Agents observed Pham with his skimmers in the water around 10:50 a.m.

Pham then pulled the skimmers up and the nets were closed with shrimp and bycatch inside the net.  Agents made contact with Pham and found him in possession of about 25 pounds of shrimp.

Using skimmers in a closed season brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail and forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Todd Laviolette and Lt. Louis Burnett.

LDWF Continues to Monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease in State’s White-tailed Deer Population, Takes Steps to Prevent its Introduction

Release Date: 07/29/2016

July 29, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries continues to monitor for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer in Louisiana and has stepped up preventative efforts as CWD has been discovered in Texas and Arkansas.
 
LDWF veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour said the disease, for which there is no cure, has not been found in Louisiana. However, it is important to be prepared in the event it does, and to take precautionary steps to minimize its introduction.
 
“We’ve been monitoring for CWD statewide for more than 10 years,” Deer Management Assistance Program coordinator Jimmy Ernst said, “and have checked 7,000-plus deer and have not discovered it. We are being proactive because it’s in our neighboring states (Texas and Arkansas) and its close enough that we need to be on guard.’’
 
An importation ban on carcasses of cervids harvested out-of-state was proposed by LDWF during the July Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting and is in the public comment period. The ban defines a cervid as animals of the family Cervidae including but not limited to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer and reindeer. 
 
The proposed ban would prohibit the importation of cervid carcasses except for deboned meat, antlers, clean skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls without tissue attached, capes, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts and cleaned cervid teeth.
 
This proposed ban is strictly for the purpose of reducing the likelihood that CWD will enter Louisiana through carcass importation.  Approved parts and deboned meat from other states must contain a possession tag with the hunter’s name, out-of-state license number (if required), address, species, date and location (county and state) of harvest.  Each state has different possession requirements for game once processed.  Always check with the appropriate state to ensure possession requirements are met.
 
To view the full notice of intent, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.
 
Public comment can be submitted in writing by mail to: Johnathan Bordelon, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email to jbordelon@wlf.la.gov until 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2016.
 
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk,  mule deer and white-tailed deer. It is infectious and always fatal. It’s part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease) of cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue which leads to salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.
 
CWD is caused by prions, which are proteins normally found in the body, which have mutated. These prions kill nerve cells and cause holes to develop in the brain tissue. They are spread through direct deer-to-deer contact or through contact with urine, feces, saliva and body parts of infected deer or infectious materials in the soil.
 
Decomposing body parts of dead, infected deer also contaminate the soil.  Plants growing in that soil can take up the prions. Deer feeding in areas with contaminated soil or plants can ingest the prions and become infected. The prions remain in the environment for years, and to date there is no practical method of decontaminating an infected area.
 
CWD is different from hemorrhagic disease (epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus and/ or bluetongue virus), which is a virus spread by bites from infected insects.
 
Deer infected with CWD can spread the disease even before symptoms develop. It can take one to two years for infected animals to become symptomatic. When symptoms appear they can include emaciation, lethargy, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, teeth grinding and drooping ears.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) there is no evidence that CWD can infect humans. However, the CDCP recommends caution when handling venison from infected regions and recommends not consuming meat from infected animals.
 
CWD has been documented in 23 states and two Canadian provinces.
 
Though Louisiana has yet to see a single case of CWD, Ernst and LaCour said the LDWF has developed a plan should the disease be found here.
 
Ernst said the LDWF will remain vigilant in testing and enacting preventative measures against CWD introduction into Louisiana.  Working with Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) to prevent importation of potential CWD infected animals into the state through the LDAF licensed deer pen program is a continuing effort of LDWF.
 
Live transport of animals into the state has been prohibited by LDWF since 1998 and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry placed a moratorium on cervid importation into their licensed facilities in 2012 due to the threat of CWD.
 
For more information, contact Johnathan Bordelon at jbordelon@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2344.
 
More information on CWD can be found on the following websites:
 
LDWF CWD FAQ page
 
http://cwd-info.org/
 
http://vet.uga.edu/population_health_files/briefs/2016_APR_SCWDS_Briefs_FINAL.pdf
 
https://www.qdma.com/articles/10-reasons-you-dont-want-cwd-in-your-woods
 
 
 

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Shrimp Season to Close August 1st in Mississippi Sound

Release Date: 07/28/2016

July 28, 2016 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that the 2016 spring inshore shrimp season will close at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 1st, in the remainder of state inside waters except for the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds.  This action closes shrimping in the open waters of the Mississippi Sound.

Effective with this closure, all state inside waters will be closed to shrimping except for the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double–rig line in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2.  All state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside shrimp line will remain open to shrimp harvesting until further notice.

Data collected in recent weeks by LDWF biologists indicate increased quantity, distribution and percentage of small, juvenile white shrimp within these waters. The decision to close these waters was made to protect these developing shrimp and provide opportunity for growth to larger and more marketable sizes. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will meet on August 4th to consider opening dates for the fall inshore shrimp season.

For a map detailing areas that will remain open, click here:
 

For more information, contact Jeff Marx at (337) 373-0032 or jmarx@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Schedules Drawdown for Henderson Lake

Release Date: 07/28/2016

(July 28, 2016)  The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is working with St. Martin Parish Government, the town of Henderson, and the US Army Corp of Engineers to conduct a drawdown on Henderson Lake in St. Martin Parish.  Drawdown gates are scheduled for opening by the St. Martin Parish government during the first week of August, 2016.  Water levels will be lowered 2 to 4 inches per day to the desired level of 3 feet below normal pool stage.  The drawdown gates are scheduled for closure on November 1, 2016 to allow the lake to refill for winter and early-spring recreational activities.

The drawdown is part of an integrated management plan to control nuisance aquatic plants, primarily hydrilla, water hyacinth, and giant salvinia.  The drawdown will also improve sport fish habitat by drying and compacting bottom sediments, which allows for improved fish reproduction conditions.

The drawdown will expose shallow flats that are located throughout the lake to air and sunlight. These shallow areas are some of the most problematic locations for invasive aquatic plants. 

Although the lake will not be closed to fishing, caution is advised of boaters during the low water period as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions, in particular cypress stumps throughout the lake.

This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and to improve the Henderson Lake sport fishery.   

The current LDWF Lake Henderson Management Plan can be viewed at:   http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/waterbody-management-plans-inland   

For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Brac Salyers, LDWF Biologist Manager, at bsalyers@wlf.la.gov or (337) 373-0032. 

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.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

 

LDWF to Hold Wildlife Rehabilitation Training Class in Baton Rouge on Sept. 10

Release Date: 07/28/2016

July 28, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold a Wildlife Rehabilitation Basic Skills Class on Sept. 10 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge.
 
The class, hosted by Wings of Hope Wildlife Sanctuary, is the only certification course recognized by LDWF and is for individuals who would like to become wildlife rehabilitators. The basic skills class fulfills one of the requirements for obtaining an LDWF wildlife rehabilitation license and is free.
 
The class will be taught by experienced wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians and wildlife professionals.
 
To register for the class, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife-rehab-training-signup . Registration deadline is Sept. 6. For more information, contact LDWF permits coordinator Melissa Collins at 225-763-8584 or at mcollins@wlf.la.gov.
 
Anyone interested in pursuing an LDWF wildlife rehabilitation license should contact Collins.

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False River Watershed Council Hosts Open House

Release Date: 07/27/2016

The False River Watershed Council invites you to an open house event to provide information and updates on the False River restoration project.
 
Who:  False River Watershed Council, including representatives from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury, local legislators, other state agencies and private citizens
 
What:  Open house meeting to discuss False River restoration project
 
When:  Tuesday, August 2, 2016, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
 
Where:  Cottonport Community Center
                 208 East Main Street
                 New Roads, LA
 
Meeting topics include:

  •   Phase II – North Flat dredging project
  •   M1 and M2 project reports/updates
  •   2016-17 drawdown information
  •   Best management practices for riverbank stablilization and reduction of erosion on private property
  •   Creating habitat in the lake and around lakefront property

Gray Triggerfish State and Federal Fishing Season Will Remain Closed Through December 31, 2016

Release Date: 07/23/2016

July 23, 2016 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the season for the recreational harvest of gray triggerfish will remain closed in Louisiana waters.  The recreational season was originally scheduled to re-open on August 1, after the June 1st – July 30th seasonal closure.

NOAA Fisheries has determined that the annual recreational catch target of 177,123 pounds has already been harvested, and the closure is necessary to prevent further harvest.  NOAA Fisheries announced that the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, currently closed to recreational harvest of gray triggerfish, will not reopen on August 1as normally scheduled.

During the closure, recreational harvest or possession of gray triggerfish is prohibited in state and federal waters.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in previously promulgated (LAC 76.VII.335.G.5) rules to change or modify the opening and closing dates for any recreational reef fish season in Louisiana waters when notified by NOAA Fisheries.  

 

For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance @wlf.la.gov. 

Recreational Greater Amberjack State and Federal Fishing Season Will Remain Closed Through December 31, 2016

Release Date: 07/22/2016

July 22, 2016 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that the recreational greater amberjack season will remain closed in Louisiana waters.  The recreational season was originally scheduled to re-open on August 1, after the June 1 - July 30 seasonal closure.

NOAA Fisheries has determined that the annual recreational catch target of 1,034,442 pounds has already been harvested, and the closure is necessary to prevent further harvest.  NOAA Fisheries has determined that the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will not reopen as scheduled on August 1. 

During the closure, recreational harvest or possession of greater amberjack is prohibited in state and federal waters.  This closure is necessary to protect the greater amberjack resource. The greater amberjack population is considered overfished (the population is too low) and limiting harvest is necessary for the population to recover.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in previously promulgated (LAC 76.VII.335.G.5) rules to change or modify the opening and closing dates for any recreational reef fish season in Louisiana waters when notified by NOAA Fisheries.  

 

For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance @wlf.la.gov.  For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-2396 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

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