LDWF News Release

Bayou Natchitoches, Fools Bay Bridge Projects Completed at Grassy Lake Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 05/12/2017

May 12, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has reopened Bayou Natchitoches and Fools Bay bridges on Grassy Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA), following replacement of the two spans.
The Bayou Natchitoches Bridge provides access between north and south Bayou Natchitoches roads. The Fools Bay Bridge provides access to the northern section of the WMA.
Grassy Lake WMA is located in northeastern Avoyelles Parish, approximately 12 miles northeast of Bordelonville. For more information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2767.
For more information, contact Tony Vidrine at 337-948-0255 or tvidrine@wlf.la.gov or Cody Haynes at jhaynes@wlf.la.gov.


LDWF Offers Volunteer Opportunity for Aquatic Enthusiasts

Release Date: 05/10/2017

LDWF Offers Volunteer Opportunity for Aquatic Enthusiasts

There is still time to register to become a volunteer with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Aquatic Volunteer Instructor Program. Join us on Wednesday, May 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the City Park Administration Building located at 1 Palm Drive in New Orleans for this free, instructional workshop.
At this hands-on workshop, participants will receive the training needed to become an aquatic volunteer instructor. Topics and activities include knot tying, casting skills, basic fishing techniques, proper fish identification, fisheries management and more. A binder of lesson plans, activity guides and educational materials for future use will be provided to those who attend. (Please note a $25 reservation fee is required to reserve your spot and will be refunded at the workshop).
Upon completion of the 8-hour workshop and background check, volunteers can participate in an equipment loaner kit program. Just as a library loans books, we can provide fishing rods with basic tackle, a knot tying kit, arts and crafts and more. The loaner kit program allows instructors to introduce budding anglers to fishing without having to purchase any equipment.
To find out more information or for other upcoming workshops, visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/ldwf-volunteer-programs. For questions about the Aquatic Volunteer Instructor Program, contact Alayna McGarry at (504) 286-4050 or at amcgarry@wlf.la.gov.

Rainy Weather Doesn’t Damper Family Fish Fest Celebration in Lake Charles

Release Date: 05/09/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) hosted yet another successful Family Fish Fest on Saturday, April 29 at Calcasieu Point Landing in Lake Charles. Despite challenging fishing conditions due to high winds and rain, over 80 anglers joined the department to compete in the family-friendly fishing competition. 
Winners include:
Little Anglers - Shore Division
Other Category: Alice Luke, first
Catfish Category: Abigail Luke, first; Mike Luke, second; McKenzie Augustine, third
Croaker Category: Whitt Moffet, first; Heath Brook, second
Crab Category: McKenzie Augustine, first
Adult Anglers - Shore Division
Other Category: Leshiquet Blake, first; Jeremy Augustine, second; James Simpson, third
Redfish Category: William Luke, first
Junior Anglers - Boat Division
Redfish Category: Drew Robertson, first

In addition to the many great prizes awarded during the competition, numerous lucky participants also took home raffle prizes courtesy of our sponsors including Coastal Conservation Association, Petro Bowl, Putt-Putt of Lake Charles, Press Start, Club Tabby, Elliott’s Cajun Snowballs, Cinemark Theater, Once Upon A Child, L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles, McNeese Cowboy Football, Texas Coffee Co. and Rotolo’s.
Lunch and refreshments were provided by Little Caesar’s Pizza, Coca Cola of Lake Charles, Starbuck’s Coffee and Industrial Refrigeration.

LDWF Family Fish Fest is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF).  The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fish resources.
For more information, contact Danica Williams at dwilliams@wlf.la.gov or (504) 628-7282. 

Agents Make Closed Season Shrimp Case

Release Date: 05/09/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two subjects for alleged closed season shrimping violations on May 4 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Marvin Smith, 58, of Venice, and Etienne Pellegal III, 56, of Boothville, for using skimmers to harvest shrimp during a closed shrimp season.

Agents observed the men actively shrimping in the Yellow Cotton Bay area around 11:21 a.m. on May 4.  The Louisiana spring inshore shrimp season was currently closed at the time of the stop.

Agents seized 1,291 pounds of shrimp and sold them at the dock for the highest bid.

Using skimmers during a closed shrimp season carries a fine up to $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Additionally, if convicted the men could be sentenced to harvest shrimp only from a vessel with an approved vessel monitoring system monitored by LDWF.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Jason Gernados, Senior Agent William Bartlett, Agent Jonathan Boudreaux and Agent Anthony Corner.

LDWF to Hold Public Hearing May 22 in Baton Rouge on Amendments to Proposed Notice of Intent for 2017-18 Hunting Season Rules

Release Date: 05/09/2017

May 9, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold a public hearing May 22 (Monday) at 10 a.m. in Baton Rouge to receive public comment on two amendments adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) at its April meeting regarding the proposed 2017-18 Hunting Season Rules and Regulations.
The meeting will be held in the Louisiana Room of the LDWF headquarters building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge.
The LWFC voted to adopt two amendments to the proposed notice of intent for the 2017-18 hunting seasons, rules and regulations during its monthly meeting on April 6. 
The commission voted to move a portion of Deer Area 8 into Deer Area 3 in portions of Allen, Beauregard and Vernon parishes and to expand the limited access areas on the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area.
The amendments read, in part:
·              Change that portion in Allen Parish east of Louisiana Highway 113 from the parish line to U.S. Highway 190, north of U.S. Highway 190 eastward to Kinder, west of U.S. Highway 165 northward to Louisiana Highway 10 at Oakdale and south of Louisiana Highway 10 from Oakdale westward to parish line, and in Beauregard Parish that portion east of Louisiana Highway 113, and in Vernon Parish that portion east of Louisiana Highway 113 from the parish line northward to Pitkin and south of Louisiana Highway 10 from Pitkin southward to the parish line; to become a portion of Deer Area 3, with the same seasons as Deer Area 3, Except to include allowing hunting with or without dogs during the last segment of the Firearms Deer Season (Dec. 3, 2017-Jan. 8, 2018) within this new portion of Deer Area 3.
·              To expand the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Limited Access Areas on the Main Delta and Wax Delta approximately 25 percent. Access would be allowed within the active passes within those areas but once out of the passes, it reverts to limited access. 
(To see maps of the affected areas in the amendments please click on the corresponding links: Main Delta, Wax Delta, current deer area map, amended and proposed deer area map.)
Deer Area 3 season dates will now reflect still hunt only and with or without dog season dates with only the portion of former Deer Area 8 being open for with or without dogs. There will be no impacts to user groups beyond the change in Deer Area designation. 
The expansion of limited access areas on Atchafalaya Delta WMA will increase from approximately 5.5 percentage of the huntable acreage on the Main Delta and 7.1 percent on the Wax Delta to 25 percent on both deltas. Operation of internal combustion engines inside the limited access areas boundaries is prohibited from Sept. 1-Jan. 31.
However, hunters and fishermen may access and navigate limited access areas via use of paddles, push poles or electric trolling motors. Any vessel with a movable outdrive system may enter a limited access area as long as the boat’s internal combustion engine is trimmed up out of the water in an inoperable position. Vessels with fixed propellers must adhere to the no operation rule. See maps for accessible passes adjacent to limited access areas.
To view the full notices of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items .
For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov .


Three Louisiana Schools Honored as 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Release Date: 05/04/2017

May 4, 2016 – Two Louisiana schools and one postsecondary institution have been selected as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and U.S. Department of Education Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee, including Belle Chasse Academy in Belle Chasse, Mayfair Laboratory School in Baton Rouge and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The schools were nominated for the award by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education.
The press office of the U.S. Department of Education made the announcement on Thursday (May 4).
Across the country, 45 schools, nine districts and nine postsecondary institutions were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness and provide effective environmental and sustainability education.
“I commend each school, district and institution of higher education for their efforts to create a healthy learning environment for students, faculty and staff,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “These schools have done exemplary work to help prepare the rising generation for the careers and challenges of the 21st century.” 
Belle Chasse Academy built a year-round hydroponic greenhouse for students to grow and sell produce to local Plaquemines Parish restaurants and farmers, reinforcing the link between income generation and sustainability efforts. The school’s 18 ground-bed victory garden yields local, organic produce served as a part of the Harvest of the Month program to every student. Adjacent to the victory garden is the kindergarten-eighth grade integrated math garden, equipped with a unique shaped bed for each grade level and designed as an outdoor classroom immersion learning tool for all math levels.
Mayfair has made great strides to reduce resource consumption. Since 2014, the school has reduced energy consumption by 20 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. For its efforts, Mayfair has twice earned EPA’s Energy Star award. Rain barrels catch water which is used for what little irrigation is needed, as they have selected plant varieties that are native to Louisiana and are drought tolerant.
LSU’s Campus Sustainability Office manages solid waste and recycling for the university, measures and tracks energy and water usage and works with academic partners to ensure a connection between operations and education at LSU. One example is the partnership between the Environmental Management Systems degree program (part of the College of Agriculture) and Campus Sustainability. Each semester students from the environmental management classes volunteer time to help with campus sustainability-related projects, such as game day recycling cleanup.
Honorees were confirmed from a pool of candidates nominated and exhaustively reviewed by 29 state education authority implementation teams, including 28 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity. They include 45 schools, including one charter, six non-public, and five magnet schools. Twenty-eight of the nominated schools (44 percent) are classified as disadvantaged. A total of nine postsecondary institutions were nominated that include three career and technical community colleges.
A list of all honorees can be found here, viewed on a map here and read in the 2017 Highlights Report. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.
Nominations for Louisiana were submitted by Brian Gautreau, Green Schools Coordinator at LDWF. He can be reached at 225-765-2864 or bgautreau@wlf.la.gov


LWFC Approves Resolution Adding Wham Brake Tract to Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 05/04/2017

LWFC Approves Resolution Adding Wham Brake Tract to Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area

May 4, 2017 – The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved a resolution to add the Wham Brake Reservoir Tract to Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area (WMA) during its monthly meeting Thursday in Baton Rouge.
Wham Brake, approximately 4,950 acres, is located in Ouachita and Morehouse parishes. Wham Brake was constructed in the 1950s on International Paper land through a joint effort with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. 
International Paper donated Wham Brake to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in 2012. With the addition of Wham Brake, Russell Sage WMA, located in Ouachita, Morehouse and Richland parishes, will now encompass almost 40,000 acres.
According to the resolution, Wham Brake, “shall be used exclusively for wildlife management purposes and, as such, is perpetually dedicated to the protection, conservation, and management of wildlife and their habitat, and such public recreation as hunting and trapping, which is consistent with these purposes.’’
LDWF has been working with conservation partners since the acquisition of Wham Brake, developing an updated and improved water control system.  The new system will allow improved water drawdowns on the site to more appropriately manage waterfowl forage production.
Russell Sage WMA is located approximately seven miles east of Monroe and 10 miles west of Rayville. Access is provided via U.S. Highway 80, Louisiana Highway 15 and Interstate 20. For more information on Russell Sage WMA go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2777 or contact the LDWF Monroe Field Office at 318-343-4044.


Spring Shrimp Season Set to Open on Monday

Release Date: 05/04/2017


Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the opening dates of the 2017 Louisiana spring shrimp season based on data provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and public comments.

The opening dates for the 2017 Louisiana spring shrimp season are as follows:

·       The portion of state inside waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to open at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 15.

·       The portion of state inside waters from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to Freshwater Bayou to open at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 8.

·       The portion of state inside waters from Freshwater Bayou to the Louisiana/Texas state line to open at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 15.

LDWF biologists monitored hydrological parameters and conducted over 500 trawl samples throughout the state’s estuarine and nearshore waters over the last five weeks to develop management recommendations for spring inshore opening dates. The Department provided projections of the dates when a minimum of 50 percent of the inshore brown shrimp population sampled reach sizes of 100 count per pound or larger. 

The Commission granted authority to the Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to delay these opening dates if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so, and; to close any portion of Louisiana's inside waters to protect small juvenile white shrimp if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so, or enforcement problems develop. The Secretary is further granted the authority to open any area, or re-open any previously closed area, and to open and close special shrimp seasons in any portion of state waters. 

For a map detailing these openings click here: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/commercial-shrimp

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


Release Date: 05/04/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced the closure of the commercial fishery for large coastal sharks in Louisiana waters effective May 4 at 11:30 p.m. This closure is concurrent with the National Marine Fisheries Service’s closure of commercial fishing for large coastal sharks in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The season is currently closed in state waters, due to the annual seasonal closure of recreational and commercial shark harvest.  The season is scheduled to reopen in state and federal waters on January 1, 2018.
During the closed season, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, exchange, barter, trade, sale or attempt to purchase, exchange, barter, trade or sell large coastal sharks or their fins is prohibited.
Vessels that have been issued or that possess a federal shark research permit may continue to operate under the conditions of that permit, which includes the presence of designated NOAA Fisheries observers aboard the vessel for the duration of the trip until the quota for the federal shark research fishery is achieved.
LDWF reminds all recreational anglers and commercial harvesters that Louisiana waters are closed for the harvest of all sharks from April through June. The season for the commercial harvest of small coastal sharks in Louisiana waters will resume on July 1, 2017, after the seasonal closure ends.

May 2017 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Agenda

Release Date: 05/01/2017

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 1:30 PM on Thursday, May 4, 2017, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.


The following items will be discussed:

1.     Call to Order

2.     Pledge of Allegiance

3.     Roll Call

4.     Adoption of April 06, 2017 Commission Meeting Minutes

5.     Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

6.     Enforcement Reports April, 2017 – Captain Edward Skena

7.     Presentation of Enforcement Awards to Agents and Civilians – Captain Edward Skena

8.     Receive and Consider Legislative Update – Cole Garrett, Attorney / Legislative Liaison

9.     Consider a Resolution to Add Property to Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area – Alvin Landry, Land Attorney

10.  Consider a Resolution to Reaffirm the Bussey Brake Wildlife Management Area – Alvin Landry, Land Attorney

11.  Receive Update on Roseau Cane Mealy Bug infestation in lower Plaquemines Parish – Todd Baker, Biologist Director, Coastal and Non-game Resources Division

12.  Consider a Notice of Intent to Amend the Experimental Fisheries Program – Jason Froeba, Biologist Administrator, Office of Fisheries

13.  Consider a Declaration of Emergency on Setting the Opening Dates of the 2017 Spring Inshore Shrimp Season – Jeff Marx, Biologist and Shrimp Program Manager

14.  Receive Louisiana Recreational Use Restoration Update – Craig Gothreaux, Biologist, Artificial Reef Program

15.  Receive Presentation on the lifting of the moratorium on new Special Artificial Reef (SAR) proposals by the Louisiana Artificial Reef Council (LARC) – Mike McDonough, Biologist, Artificial Reef Program

16.  Receive Update on Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s April Meeting – Myron Fischer, Biologist, Office of Fisheries

17.  Receive a Report on the Gulf Council LA-Only Recreational Red Snapper Amendment – Patrick Banks, Assistant Secretary, Office of Fisheries

18.  Receive an Update on the Federally-Permitted Charter Boat Electronic Log Book (ELB) Pilot Program – Myron Fischer, Biologist, Office of Fisheries

19.  Set September, 2017 Commission Meeting Date

20.  Receive Public Comments

21.  Adjournment 

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com.  To attend this meeting via webinar visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5932743024508870657

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to the contact at the top of this announcement at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date. 

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