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LDWF News Release

New Conservation Partnership Launches in Louisiana with the Release of 12 Endangered Whooping Cranes into the Wild

Release Date: 11/14/2017

Newly arrived whooping cranes at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.
Whooping cranes are examined by LDWF personnel upon their arrival at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.

(Grand Chenier, La.) – A group of 12 juvenile whooping cranes were released into the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday (Nov. 14) in Grand Chenier as part of an ongoing effort to protect the species from extinction. The juvenile cranes join 49 other whooping cranes that are a part of an experimental population being monitored by LDWF.
 
Supported by generous donors like Chevron, LDWF and Audubon Nature Institute have been longtime leaders in whooping crane conservation and recently expanded their partnership with the goal of developing a self-sustaining population of whooping cranes in Louisiana.  This partnership is an example of state agencies, non-profit organizations and private industry collaborating to leverage their strengths to achieve measurable conservation results and make a significant, historic impact on the future of this endangered species.
 
Of the 12 cranes, seven were reared at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, two were raised at Calgary Zoo in Canada and three were hatched from eggs collected from the wild in Wisconsin and reared at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans. All 12 cranes were brought to the Species Survival Center where they formed a “cohort,” the scientific term for a small group of cranes assembled to live and migrate together.
 
“The goal of a cohort is to socialize the animals together so they will thrive as a group in the wild. The young chicks are released without parents so the cohort will create a family for the birds to increase their chances of survival,” said Richard Dunn, Assistant Curator at the Species Survival Center.
 
These 12 cranes joined 11 juvenile whooping cranes from the International Crane Foundation which were released on November 9 on the nearby White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WLWCA).  The addition of these 23 cranes increases the flock to 72 whooping cranes living in the wild in Louisiana. Support of partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, International Crane Foundation, and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation have allowed LDWF and Audubon to expand their efforts in Louisiana.
 
Since 2011, Chevron has invested in LDWF’s Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project. In addition to continuing its contributions to LDWF, the company also awarded Audubon a grant to help fund improvements to the Species Survival Center’s whooping crane breeding pens. Chevron not only contributed financially to the initiative; their employees have also given volunteer hours to help construct the enhanced whooping crane enclosures.  
 
“At Chevron, we recognize the importance of protecting ecological diversity – the rich variety of wildlife on Earth, its ecosystems and species, and the ecological processes that support them,” said Leah Brown, Public Affairs Manager for Chevron's Gulf of Mexico Business Unit. “We’re proud to continue our long-standing collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Audubon Nature Institute on whooping crane restoration and repopulation.  Through awareness programs, educational efforts and volunteerism, we’re working to make ensure this endangered species is thriving for generations to come.”     
 
The Louisiana flock was developed in 2011 when 10 whooping cranes from the U. S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Facility in Maryland were released to WLWCA in Vermilion Parish to develop the non-migratory flock. This marked a significant conservation milestone with the first wild whooping cranes in Louisiana since 1950. In 2016, the first chick hatched in the wild in Louisiana since 1939—a significant sign of recovery for the species.
 
“We continue on the path to establishing a self-sustained whooping crane population in Louisiana so this magnificent bird can thrive for generations to come,’’ LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “We’ve made so many advances in our whooping crane program, including the first wild-hatched whooping crane in Louisiana in 2016. The arrival of this cohort is another important step in the restoration process. We are blessed to have many partners, including private landowners who have assisted us by working with our staff when the cranes roost on their property. We thank them for their help.’’
 
In early 2017, Audubon was asked to significantly increase the number of crane chicks raised at the rearing facility to supplement the migratory populations and the non-migratory whooping crane population in Louisiana. As one of only three whooping crane breeding facilities in the US, support of project partners is vital to the long-term success of the whooping crane population in Louisiana.
 
“The whooping crane is one of the species included in Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program, which focuses the collective expertise within accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their massive audiences to save species,” said Kyle Burks, Vice President & Managing of Audubon Zoo.  “With continued support, we can leverage the expansion of the crane breeding program into long-term growth of the population and share what we learn with other whooping crane programs.”
 
Anyone encountering a whooping crane is advised to observe the bird from a distance and to report the sighting to LDWF (http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/whooping-crane-reporting-form). Whooping cranes are large-bodied, white birds with a red head and black facial markings along. Birds measure a height of five feet and a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet that makes them very distinctive. In flight, whooping cranes display black wing tips, a fully extended neck, and legs which extend well beyond the tail.
 
Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving whooping cranes is advised to call the LDWF’s Enforcement Division at 1-800-442-2511 or use the tip411 program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge. Citizen Observer, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.  
 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
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 email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup
 
Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.
 

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Commercial Fishery For Gray Triggerfish In Louisiana Waters To Close

Release Date: 11/14/2017

The commercial fishery for gray triggerfish in Louisiana waters will close at 12:01 a.m. on November 18, 2017 and will remain closed until January 1, 2018.
 
The decision was made by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet, following notification by NOAA Fisheries that the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will close for the commercial harvest of gray triggerfish from 12:01 a.m. November 18, 2017 until 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2018, and per a request from NOAA Fisheries.
 
Regulations for the gray triggerfish fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico include a commercial quota. Based on current commercial gray triggerfish landings, the 2017 commercial quota of 60,900 pounds is projected to be harvested by November 18, 2017.
 
After the closure, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, barter, trade, sale or attempts to purchase, barter, trade or sell gray triggerfish is prohibited until 12:01 a.m., January 1, 2018, the date set for the opening of the 2018 season. The prohibition on sale/purchase of gray triggerfish during the closure does not apply to those that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor provided appropriate records in accordance with R.S. 56:306.5 and 56:306.6 are properly maintained.
 
For more information contact Jason Adriance at 504/284-2032 (jadriance@wlf.la.gov)

DOTD Continues Drawdown on Vernon Lake for Repair Work

Release Date: 11/14/2017

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced the water level of Vernon Lake in Vernon Parish has reached the desired depth to assess damage that occurred during Hurricane Harvey. The drawdown was necessary to evaluate the condition of the dam.
 
The lake will be maintained at or near its current level until a full assessment of the damage is complete, designs are developed for the repairs, and the repairs are finalized.
 
The management gate will be operated to maintain the existing lake level; however, water levels will fluctuate during this period due to rainfall and the gate’s limited capacity to remove runoff. The dam remains stable at this time.
 
The timeframe for project completion and for the lake to return to pool stage is contingent on the results of the assessment. Updates will be provided throughout the process.
 
Anacoco Lake, located downstream of Vernon Lake, is near pool stage, and intentions are to keep the management gate closed and the lake near pool stage during the repair process.
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would also like to remind all property owners that any work to the shoreline or lake bottom of a state waterbody requires a permit from either the Division of Administration Office of State Lands or the US Army Corps of Engineers.
 
For information on permit requirements contact the Lake Charles LDWF office (337) 491-2575, the Office of State Lands (225) 342-4578 or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office (817) 886-1306.
 
For questions regarding the drawdown, contact Brad Sticker (318) 561-5280 or Jonathan Lachney (318) 561-5103 with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

LDWF Commercial Fishing Licenses To Be Available At Field Offices

Release Date: 11/13/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will offer new and renewals of commercial fishing licenses and motorboat registration from the following locations: 
  
Bourg Office

November 28-30, 2017
467 Texas Gulf Road
Bourg, LA
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

New Orleans Office
December 5-7, 2017
2021 Lakeshore Drive Suite 210
New Orleans, LA
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Lake Charles Office

December 12-14, 2017 
1213 North Lakeshore Drive
Lake Charles, La.
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  
Fishermen are reminded that acceptable forms of payment will include personal checks, cashier's checks, money orders and cash.  No credit cards. To avoid processing delays, those purchasing licenses are asked to bring their license renewal notices with them.  
  
 First-time applicants can apply by mail or in-person.  Renewals can be completed online at  www.wlf.la.gov . When applying in person you must provide the following: 

·       Resident applicants must provide proof of residency such as a Louisiana driver’s license, (held continuously for 12 months) voter’s registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.

·       Non-residents applicants must provide proof of residency from their domiciliary state, such as driver's license, voter's registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.

·       Applicants applying for a license in a business name must provide documentation showing proof of valid federal tax ID# assigned to business name and proof of authorized signature, or an occupational license will be required.

For commercial licenses inquiries, contact (225) 765-2898.

 

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 email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

LDWF, Louisiana Trappers and Alligator Hunters Association to Hold Free Trapping Workshops Dec. 2, Dec. 9

Release Date: 11/13/2017

Nov. 13, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Trappers and Alligator Hunters Association will hold free trapping workshops on Dec. 2 and Dec. 9. The Dec. 2 workshop will be held at Cypress Black Bayou Recreation Center in Benton and the Dec. 9 workshop at Palmetto State Park near Abbeville.
 
Workshop topics include state regulations, trapping equipment, trapping safety, best management practices, trap selection and setting and skinning.
 
Those interested in attending one of the workshops are encouraged to complete the free online trappers’ course by going to https://conservationlearning.org/login/index.php . The online course can be completed at any time.
 
The two workshops are designed to focus on the hands-on aspects of trapping while the online course provides background on best management practices, trapping equipment, trapping regulations and other topics.
 
To register for the workshops, please contact Jennifer Hogue at jhogue@wlf.la.gov or call 337-373-0032. Space is limited so register early. 

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Bodcau, Woodworth Shooting Ranges to be Closed Friday in Observance of Veterans Day

Release Date: 11/08/2017

Nov. 8, 2017 – The Bodcau and Woodworth shooting ranges will be closed Friday (Nov. 10) in observance of Veterans Day, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced. Both ranges will be open Saturday and Sunday with normal hours.
 
The Woodworth shooting range is located at 661 Robinson Bridge Road in Woodworth. For more information on the Woodworth shooting range, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/shooting-range/woodworth-shooting-range or call 318-484-2212.
 
The Bodcau shooting range is located at 168 Ben Durden Road in Benton. For more information on the Bodcau shooting range, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/bodcau-wma or call 318-326-3225.
 
Information on all LDWF shooting ranges can be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/shooting-ranges .

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South Bosco ATV/UTV Trail Opened at Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 11/06/2017

Nov. 6, 2017 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has opened the South Bosco ATV/UTV trail to the public at Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This new trail will provide access to more than 2,700 acres of WMA property referred to as the South Bosco Tract, which was acquired and included in the WMA in 2015.
 
Russell Sage WMA consists of 38,213 acres and is located in Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland and Caldwell parishes. It is situated approximately seven miles east of Monroe and ten miles west of Rayville. The WMA can be accessed via U.S. Highway 80 and 165, Louisiana Highway 15 and Interstate 20. There are 13 self-clearing permit stations located at major entrances to the WMA.
 
For information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2777 or contact Mitch McGee at 318-343-4044 or mmcgee@wlf.la.gov.
 

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Construction Completed on Floating Docks at Grand Lac Boat Launch at Spring Bayou WMA

Release Date: 11/03/2017

New floating docks at Grand Lac boat launch.

Nov. 3, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has completed construction of floating docks at the Grand Lac Boat Launch at Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The project replaced the damaged wooden docks.
 
The launch is located on Grand Lac, which is on the northwestern portion of the WMA at the end of Dr. Michel Road.
 
The 12,506 acre WMA is located in Avoyelles Parish. Fishing is excellent and popular during the spring and summer. Common species are largemouth bass, various pan fish and catfish. Spring Bayou WMA is located two miles east of Marksville of Louisiana Highway 115 and 452.
 
For more information, contact Tony Vidrine at tvidrine@wlf.la.gov or 337-948-0255.

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Gov. Edwards pledges support for commission, wildlife and fisheries

Release Date: 11/02/2017

BATON ROUGE, La.  – Gov. John Bel Edwards praised the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for its maintenance of the “Sportsman’s Paradise” on Thursday.

Appearing for the first time at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting, Edwards called LDWF “Ambassadors of The State” for the way it is handling the state’s fishing and hunting programs.

 He described his visit to the commission meeting as a chance to show his appreciation for the work of the commission and LDWF.

“I want to thank you all for the work that you do,” he said, then directed special praise for the work done by the LDWF Enforcement agents and the dangerous situations involved in their day-to-day operations. He said they along with department biologists “sacrifice a lot to do what they do for Louisiana.”

He said he supported the recent effort by LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet to push for more fishing opportunities for Louisiana anglers to catch red snapper. He said that sometimes there are disagreements on the red snapper subject. “It’s okay with me,” he said. “…We are not always going to agree.”

The governor urged the Commissioners to send questions or concerns they may have to his office, adding that “I want to continue working with all of you.” 

Tim Taylor Wins 2018 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Competition

Release Date: 11/02/2017

The 2018 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition winner.

Nov. 2, 2017 - Tim Taylor of Mount Arlington, N.J., was selected the winner of the 2018 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The annual contest picks the artwork that will be used on what is called the Louisiana Duck Stamp.
 
Taylor finished fourth in the Federal Duck Stamp Contest in 2014 and 10th in 2007. He won the 2010-11 California Duck Stamp contest and was second the previous year. Taylor’s entry features a pair of canvasbacks flying in a cloud filled sky.
 
Garrett Jacobs of Orlando, Fla., was the runner-up for the second year in a row, and Tony Bernard, the 2015 and 2008 Louisiana Duck Stamp winner, was third.
 
“This year we received 15 entries, which was down from the recent past but overall the entries were much higher quality,’’ said Larry Reynold’s, the LDWF Waterfowl Program Manager. “The winning entry is an amazing piece of artwork. The detail is amazing. It’s going to make a great stamp because of the contrast between the bird and the background. The judging was as clear as it could be. The winning entry got the top score from all five judges in the first round and was the  unanimous first place choice in the second.’’
 
Judges for this year’s contest included Jeff Gleason, the Gulf of Mexico Bird Conservation Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Lacombe; Barry Wilson, the Coordinator of the Gulf Coast Joint Venture of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan from Lafayette; R.C. Davis, an artist from Amite who won the 1998 Louisiana Duck Stamp Contest, Murrell Butler, a wildlife artist from St. Francisville and the 1988 Artist of the Year for the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Ellis Guilbeau, Louisiana State Chairman for Duck’s Unlimited from Carencro.
 
The Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program was established in 1988 by the Louisiana Legislature to generate revenue for conservation and enhancement of state wetlands, benefitting migratory waterfowl overwintering in Louisiana. The program has generated almost $13 million for wetlands conservation in Louisiana since 1989.
 
The 2018 stamp will go on sale June 1, 2018. The artist will retain the original artwork and will have reproduction rights to the image for prints and other commodities after LDWF has used the image to produce the stamps.
 
For more information, contact Larry Reynolds at lreynolds@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-0456.

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