LDWF News Release

LDWF, LSU AgCenter Issues Warning On Transporting Roseau Cane From Plaquemines Parish to Other Parts of State

Release Date: 04/19/2017

Brown Roseau cane that has been impacted by the scale.
The white spots on Roseau cane are small insects referred to as Phragmites Scale.

April 19, 2017 – Concern over a small insect, or scale, that has infected vast stands of Roseau cane in southern Plaquemines Parish has prompted a warning from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the LSU AgCenter not to transport or transplant Roseau cane into other parts of the state.
The scale, native from China or Japan, has been identified as Nipponaclerda biwakoensis, commonly referred to as Phragmites Scale or Roseau Cane Mealy Bug. It has had severe effects on the dominant vegetation of the Mississippi River Delta. The rate at which it seems to be expanding and the severity of its impacts is alarming, according to LDWF and LSU AgCenter biologists.
“Our message is very simple: Do not transport or transplant Roseau cane,’’ said Dr. Rodrigo Diaz, Assistant Professor in LSU’s Department of Entomology. “The scale that has invaded southern Plaquemines Parish could impact agriculture crops such as sugar cane and sorghum. It could have significant economic impacts to agriculture crops and native vegetation. So it is vital the cane not be moved.’’
“Boaters in lower Plaquemines Parish should avoid contact with the cane and wash their boats after each trip so that they do not inadvertently transport the scale to other areas of the state.’’
LDWF, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and LSU AgCenter biologists are working to find a solution to the infestation, which has impacted thousands of acres of Roseau cane since being discovered. LDWF staff indicated there are likely infestations as far north as Hospital Bay on the west side of the Mississippi River and across from Fort Jackson on the east side.
Roseau cane is a wetland grass that helps protect Louisiana’s bird foot delta. The severely impacted cane appears to be brown and mostly leafless, in contrast to the 10-foot tall robust leafy green cane normally seen this time of the year.
LDWF staff have found the scale on both stressed and apparently healthy cane. The public should not assume that just because the cane appears to be healthy that the scale is not present.
Biologists do not know much about the scale’s life cycle here in Louisiana as this is a new insect to the United States. It is anticipated that the damage to the Roseau cane should be most obvious in the late summer.


Louisiana Artificial Reef Program to Consider Proposals for Special Artificial Reef Sites

Release Date: 04/18/2017

At their April 10 meeting, the Louisiana Artificial Reef Council approved lifting the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program’s moratorium on new proposals to create Special Artificial Reef Sites (SARS). The Council originally enacted this moratorium in 2008.
The Council also approved revisions to the Louisiana Artificial Reef Plan’s Amendment II (the “SARS” Amendment), intended to improve the SARS proposal and approval process.
Amendment II and a flowchart detailing the SARS process can be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/artificialreefcouncilmeeting.
For more information, please contact Mike McDonough at (225) 763-5418 or mmcdonough@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF to Host 13th Annual Step Outside Day on May 13 at Sherburne Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 04/14/2017

April 14, 2017 – The 13th annual Step Outside Day, an outdoor education program hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), will be held May 13 at Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Lottie on the northern end of the Atchafalaya Basin from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The event, which is free, will take place next to scenic Big Alabama Bayou near Sherburne WMA headquarters.
Some of the events planned for Step Outside Day include pontoon boat rides, canoeing, target and trap shooting, fishing and archery. Children can take part in blue bird box building, turkey and duck calling. All equipment will be provided.
Exhibits on the Louisiana black bear, other wildlife and fish species and water safety will be available.
Refreshments and lunch will be provided as well as drawings for door prizes. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted.
The Sherburne WMA headquarters is located at 1132 Sherburne Road in Lottie. From U.S. Hwy. 190, take the Sherburne (Louisiana Hwy. 975) exit and drive south approximately three miles. The venue will be on the left near Big Alabama Bayou. From I-10, take the Whiskey Bay exit and drive north approximately 13 miles on Louisiana Hwy. 975. The venue will be on the right near Big Alabama Bayou.
For more information, contact Tony Vidrine at 337-948-0255 or tvidrine@wlf.la.gov or Cody Haynes at 337-948-0255 or jhaynes@wlf.la.gov.


LDWF to Host WETSHOP 2017 for Teachers July 9-14 at Grand Isle Research Lab

Release Date: 04/13/2017

April 13, 2017 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold WETSHOP 2017, a coastal awareness workshop for science, history and social studies teachers, July 9-14 at the LDWF Grand Isle Research Lab.
The focus of this six-day workshop will be to provide teachers with an in-depth look at issues related to wetland ecology and coastal land loss in Louisiana. Participating teachers will accrue 55 hours of instruction covering a wide variety of topics, including wetland ecology, fisheries management and coastal restoration. Teachers will also spend a portion of each day in the field learning about maritime forests, barrier island beach ecology, coastal restoration projects, bird life, marsh and swamp habitats and marine organisms. This year, participants will visit one of the largest coastal restoration projects in the world.
All participating teachers will receive standards based correlated wetland lessons and many other educational resources from numerous sponsoring agencies and organizations. Lodging and meals are provided once participants reach the workshop site. Upon completion of the workshop, each participant will receive a $250 stipend. An additional stipend is available during the Academic Year (AY) upon completion of a wetland stewardship project.
WETSHOP is sponsored by LDWF in partnership with the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) and the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation. WETSHOP is also a collaborative effort with partners that provide experts in the field for presentations and educational materials. These agencies/organizations include:  BTNEP, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Nature Conservancy, Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, Coastal Planning Protection and Restoration Act, Keep Louisiana Beautiful and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.
Teachers interested in WETSHOP 2017 can contact LDWF Biologist Supervisor Angela Capello at 318-623-4661 or acapello@wlf.la.gov.


Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet April 18

Release Date: 04/13/2017

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting
John Tesvich, Chairman
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 1 p.m.
2021 Lakeshore Dr., STE 210
New Orleans, LA 70122


I.Roll call and introduction of guests

II.Approval of March 17, 2017 Meeting Minutes and April 18, 2017 Agenda

III.Treasury Report

A.      Oyster Tag Sales

B.      LOTF Financial Report

·      Annual Financial Disclosure Filing Reminder

IV.Committee Reports

A.      Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee  (Mitch Jurisich)

B.      Enforcement (Captain Chad Hebert)

C.      Legislative (Jakov Jurisic)

D.     Research (Earl Melancon)

E.      Coastal Restoration (Dan Coulon)

F.      Marketing (LDWF)

G.      Health (Lance Broussard)

H.     Sustainability (LDWF)

I.        Professionalism (LDWF)

J.      Aquaculture (John Supan)

                      k.      Joint Task Force Working Group (Mitch Jurisich)

V.New Business

A.     To Consider Recommendations and Changes to the Oyster Lease Acquisition Program- Duncan Kemp

B.     To Consider the use of the Oyster Seed Grounds and Oyster Development Accounts to Close Mardi Gras Pass- Al Sunseri

VI.Public Comment

VII.Set Next Meeting


The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.  To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/404994494913383938


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.

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 rlebreton@wlf.la.gov at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.



LDWF’s Bodcau and Woodworth Shooting Ranges To Be Closed During Good Friday, Easter Sunday

Release Date: 04/13/2017

April 13, 2017 – The Bodcau and Woodworth Shooting Ranges will be closed Good Friday (April 14) and Easter Sunday (April 16) in observance of the holidays, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced. Both will be open Saturday (April 15) for normal business hours.
The Bodcau Shooting Range is located on the Bodcau Wildlife Management Area in Bossier and Webster parishes. The Woodworth Shooting Range is located in Rapides Parish.
For more information on these and other LDWF ranges go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/shooting-ranges.


LDWF Schedules Drawdown for Lake Bistineau

Release Date: 04/12/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has scheduled a drawdown of Lake Bistineau in Webster, Bossier, and Bienville parishes for giant salvinia control, organic reduction and fish habitat improvement. The water control structure is scheduled to open on May 1, 2017.
Giant salvinia is growing rapidly. Despite LDWF contractors treating over 5,000 acres since February 20, 2017, significant coverage is still present. The department estimates the plant covers 3,349 acres of the lake based on an aerial survey conducted on March 23, 2017.
The drawdown is designed to reduce the further expansion of salvinia as summertime temperatures promote maximum growth. Spray efforts are ongoing in areas of the lake that will not dewater during the drawdown. Intensive herbicide applications will continue during the drawdown in an effort to further reduce salvinia on the lake.
The lake should dewater at a rate of 4 to 6 inches per day and will be lowered to a maximum drawdown level of 8 feet below normal pool stage. The Lake Bistineau control gates are scheduled for closure on November 30, 2017, to allow the lake to refill for winter and early-spring recreational activities.
During the drawdown, an estimated 10,000 acres of water will remain in the lake. Boaters can access the lake from the following public boat launches: Port of Bistineau Launch, Bossier Public Launch, Grice’s and Bayou Dorcheat Public Launch. Boaters are advised to use caution during the low water period, as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance of underwater obstructions. 
This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and to improve the Lake Bistineau sport fishery. An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects similar to a natural overflow lake system.
The current LDWF Lake Bistineau Management Plan can be viewed at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/waterbody-management-plans-inland
For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Jeff Sibley, LDWF Biologist Manager, at jsibley@wlf.la.gov or (318) 371-3066. 


Agenda for Feral Hog Management Advisory Task Force Meeting

Release Date: 04/12/2017

Louisiana Feral Hog Management Advisory Task Force
Meeting Agenda
13 Apri12017
2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes from 12 January 2017 Meeting
IV. Introduction of Guests
V. Feedback from Annual Report submitted 1 February 2017
     A. Feedback from LDWF - Scott Durham
     B. Feedback from legislature - statement from Cole Garrett
     C. Feedback from LDAF - TBD
VI. Update and agency positions on Kaput (feral hog toxicant)
     A. LDAF representative - Kevin Wofford
     B. LDWF representative - Dr. Jim LaCour
VII. New Business
VIII. Public Comments
IX. Announcement of next meeting date - 13 July 2017
X. Adjournment



Happy Hatch Day: First Whooping Crane Hatched in Louisiana Since 1939 Turns 1 Year Old

Release Date: 04/12/2017

A photo from April 2016 of the first whooping crane chick hatched in Louisiana since 1939.
The first whooping crane chick hatched in Louisiana's wild since 1939 turned 1 year old April 11, 2017.

April 12, 2017 – It’s been one year since the hatching of a Whooping Crane chick in Louisiana, which marked the first time since 1939 of such an occurrence. To the delight of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists, the female bird is doing well.
The crane, hatched on April 11, 2016, makes its home in the crawfish and rice fields of Jefferson Davis Parish in southwest Louisiana. Its parents evicted the crane about two months ago but it lives not far from where they have re-nested this spring near the same spot where the chick hatched.
Under the direction of LDWF, the state is in the seventh year of a project to restore the majestic Whooping Crane, which can reach up to 5 feet in height and has a 7-8 foot wingspan. A total of 102 birds have been released in Louisiana since the project began in 2010 with 57 currently alive.
Whooping Cranes in Louisiana are designated as a non-essential, experimental population (NEP) under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. This designation and its implementing regulation were developed to be more compatible with routine human activities, such as rice and crawfish farming, in the reintroduction area. The Whooping Crane is protected under the federal Endangered Species and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts and by Louisiana state law.
The initial cohort of birds received in 2011 marked the first presence of Whooping Cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.
LDWF has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Service, the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the International Crane Foundation to return the species to the state. Project funding comes from LDWF Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge funds, State Wildlife Grants Program and private/corporate donations, which are facilitated by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, along with additional partners. Chevron has been a major corporate donor in the program. 
LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski, who oversees the Whooping Crane project, said last year’s hatching was an important milestone in the endeavor. But the crane’s survival to its first year was a pleasant surprise, she said.
“The chick faced challenges in her first year,’’ Zimorski said. “A wing injury was a big concern for us. And being on her own, after separating from her parents, was another potentially risky time. But she’s doing well.
“The parents of this chick sent her off on her own because they were ready to nest again. And she’s adjusted. She’s in an area that provides excellent habitat and foraging opportunity. We’ve been extremely pleased with her progress.’’
The chick was one of two that hatched last spring to the same male and female. The other, however, died a month after hatching. Zimorski said that is common with Whooping Cranes as only one usually survives.
Anyone encountering a Whooping Crane is advised to observe the bird from a distance and to report their sighting to LDWF (http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/whooping-crane-reporting-form).
Once abundant in Louisiana in the 1800s, the species dwindled to two in 1945 and had disappeared by 1950 from the state.
Whooping Cranes are large-bodied, white birds similar to White Ibis, White Pelicans, and Wood Storks, all of which must be distinguished from legally-hunted Snow Geese. However, a red head and black facial markings along with a height of five feet and a wingspan of 7-8 feet make them very distinctive. In flight, Whooping Cranes display black wing tips and fully extended neck and legs, which extend well beyond the tail.

Juvenile Whooping Cranes are primarily white with some cinnamon-brown feathers remaining on their body, primarily on their head and neck. Their wing tips are black like an adult, but they lack the red head.

Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving harassment or shooting of Whooping Cranes is advised to report that information to LDWF’s Enforcement Division by calling 1-800-442-2511 or using 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.
Success of the Whooping Crane project is made possible through private and corporate donations. If you would like to support the Louisiana whooping crane project by making a tax deductible donation please contact Kell McInnis at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation at (225) 765-5100 or kmcinnis@wlf.la.gov or visit the foundation’s website at: http://lawff.org .
Additional information on LDWF’s Whooping Crane project is available at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes or on the LDWF Whooping Crane Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lawhoopingcranes/?fref=ts). For more information, contact Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-9400, ext. 4.


Gulf Council motion could lead to La.’s control over red snapper fisheries

Release Date: 04/10/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had a motion passed at the recent meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) that could eventually allow Louisiana the ability to manage the recreational red snapper fishery in federal waters in addition to state waters.

“This motion is a victory for all anglers fishing from Louisiana ports. If this amendment is approved, federal waters will no longer be off limits for large portions of the season,” said Jack Montoucet, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

“The motion is in keeping with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ long-held support of state management of red snapper for the recreational angling community.”

“LA Creel is an integral part of our scientific data collection program and the cornerstone for passage of this motion,” Montoucet said. “Louisiana anglers will be rewarded for their efforts in making LA Creel one of the best data collection programs in the country.”

LA Creel is the harvest data program designed and implemented by LDWF to closely track the amount of fish caught by recreational anglers in Louisiana. It has been widely recognized by other states and the National Marine Fisheries Service as the best in the gulf and enables LDWF to manage fishing seasons in near real time.

The Gulf Council passed by an 11-5 vote the motion to begin the amendment to allow Louisiana the new powers at its April 6 meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

The Gulf Council will deliberate on the new amendment over the next year to refine the “Louisiana only” plan. Under this amendment, Louisiana would act as pilot for the other Gulf states. The amendment would only allow Louisiana control of the recreational red snapper fishery in federal waters adjacent to the state for three years (2019 through 2021). If the pilot is successful, a similar program could be implemented Gulf-wide. 

This action includes both the private angling and for-hire components of the recreational fishery.

The LDWF thanks the private anglers and for-hire fishermen who have taken the time to express their opinions at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meetings.  

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