LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issues Over $6,500 In Rewards To Tipsters

Release Date: 10/13/2011

 

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $6,500 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on Oct. 5 in Mansura.

The group approved and dispensed cash reward amounts for tipsters who reported wildlife violations that led to 26 subjects being apprehended in wildlife cases.  There were a total of 14 cases presented and 50 offenses associated with those cases.

Louisiana Department Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement LOGT Coordinator Sgt. Will Roberts provided LOGT members with information on each case and a recommendation for reward amounts.

“We depend on Operation Game Thief and these public tips to help break a lot of cases that might have otherwise gone unsolved,” Roberts said.  “Perfect examples of the public helping us get convictions are in the recent black bear and bald eagle cases.  The public contributed information that led to guilty pleas in both instances.”

LOGT awarded the two black bear tipsters a total of $800 and the bald eagle informant the maximum reward of $1,000.  Cory Ronsonet, 39, of New Iberia pleaded guilty for illegally taking a Louisiana black bear in federal court on Aug. 17.  Jeffrey Miles, 22, of West Monroe, pleaded guilty for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in federal court on Sept. 19 for shooting a bald eagle.

Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's new tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, citizens can anonymously text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.  Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.

To make a donation to the LOGT that can be used for cash rewards, please contact Sgt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

LOGT meets quarterly throughout the year to review cases and dispense rewards.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Secretary Enacts Two-Week Delay of Oyster Season to Allow for Ongoing NRDA Sampling

Release Date: 10/11/2011

 

October 11, 2011 – Today, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham made effective a delay of the 2011-2012 Oyster Season on certain public seed grounds for up to two weeks to allow for continued sampling as part of the BP Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).

Last week, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission gave authority to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham to postpone the season opening on public seed grounds for up to two weeks, from October 17 to October 31, 2011. An official authorization of that delay was issue today by the Department. 

Officials with LDWF continue to work with NRDA teams to ensure that sampling efforts are completed as quickly as possible. If sampling is completed before the end of the two-week delay period, Secretary Barham will open the season following a 72-hour public notice.

Sampling efforts of oysters on public seed grounds are ongoing as part of the NRDA process to assess injuries caused by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The NRDA sampling currently taking place is intended to collect a number of data sets, including oyster density, size frequency, biomass and sediment samples, in an effort to assess injuries to oysters as a result of the spill.

The 2011-2012 Oyster Season on public seed grounds was set to open October 17, 2011, with the exception of Calcasieu and Sabine lakes. No other changes have been made to the season opening dates established by the Commission at its September meeting.

The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (Department of Health and Hospitals’ harvest area 30) is scheduled to open at one-half hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person per vessel per day.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

 

For press inquiries, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or at 225-610-8660.

 

Two Whooping Cranes Found Dead in Jefferson Davis Parish

Release Date: 10/11/2011

LDWF Enforcement Division Identifies Two Juveniles as Suspects in Shooting

To request b-roll footage and photos of the whooping crane re-introduction, email aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Oct. 11, 2011 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents have identified two juveniles for their alleged role in the illegal shooting of two whooping cranes in Jefferson Davis Parish.

According to an eyewitness account, two juveniles stopped on Lyons Road in between Mouton and Guidry roads south of Jennings at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9.  The eyewitness said they shot from their truck and killed two whooping cranes.

LDWF agents and biologists were notified yesterday morning, Oct. 10, and retrieved the dead birds, which were a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program.  Agents were able to locate the suspected juveniles Monday night based on information from the eyewitness account.

"Losing two cranes, especially in such a thoughtless manner, is a huge setback in the department’s efforts to re-establish a whooping crane population in Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We take this careless crime very seriously.”

LDWF received 10 whooping cranes in February of this year from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Research Facility in Laurel, Md., and placed them in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This re-introduced population, which will be annually supplemented with future cohorts, marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USGS, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population and is protected under state law and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

"This is a profound setback to the many people and organizations who have worked so hard to bring this magnificent bird back to Louisiana," said Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967.  The reintroduction at White Lake WCA is part of an ongoing recovery effort coordinated by the USFWS.

Historically, both a resident and migratory population of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s.  Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north.  Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh.  The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America.  The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950.

The only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes migrates between Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.  Like those in the eastern migratory population, it remains vulnerable to extinction from continued loss of habitat or natural or man-made catastrophes.  Multiple efforts are underway to reduce this risk and bring this bird further along its path to recovery.  This includes increasing populations in the wild, ongoing efforts to establish a migratory population in the eastern United States, and establishing a resident population in Louisiana.

There are about 570 whooping cranes left in the world, only 400 in the wild. About 100 cranes are in the eastern migratory population.  For the 11th time in as many years, ultralight-led captive reared whooping cranes are learning their migration route to wintering sites in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.  Ten young whooping cranes began their journey on Oct. 9, 2011.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465, or Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115.

tip411 Complaint Leads to Closed Season Alligator Case

Release Date: 10/10/2011

 

 

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited a Basile subject for an alleged closed season alligator violation on Oct. 7, 2011.

LDWF agents received an anonymous tip411 complaint concerning four alligators that were captured and being held in a container at a Basile address belonging to John Sonnier, 50, in Evangeline Parish.

After arriving at Sonnier's residence, LDWF Sgt. Scott Fontenot located four live alligators in a large black container on the property near the shop.  Sonnier admitted that his farm hands had captured the alligators and he had them placed into the container for approximately two weeks.

Sgt. Fontenot cited Sonnier for possessing alligators during a closed season.  The four alligators were seized and released live back into the wild.  Taking or possessing alligators during a closed season brings a $400 to $950 fine, up to 120 days in jail, or both plus court cost and forfeiture of anything seized.

LDWF launched the tip411 program a few weeks ago as a part of their Operation Game Thief 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.   CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.  Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.

Citizens can also call Operation Game Thief's Hotline at 1-800-442-2511.  The hotline and tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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CORRECTION: Oyster Season on Public Seed Ground will be delayed for up to Two Weeks to Allow for Ongoing NRDA Sampling

Release Date: 10/07/2011

October 6, 2011 – The opening of the 2011-2012 Oyster Season on certain public seed grounds will be delayed for up to two weeks to allow for continued sampling as part of the BP Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission today gave authority to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham to postpone the season opening on public seed grounds for up to two weeks, from October 17 to October 31, 2011. At the latest, the season would open at one half-hour before sunrise on October 31, 2011.

Officials with LDWF are working with NRDA teams to ensure that sampling efforts are completed as quickly as possible. If sampling is completed before the end of the two-week delay period, the Commission has given Secretary Barham authority to open the season following a 72-hour public notice.

Sampling efforts of oysters on public seed grounds are ongoing as part of the NRDA process to assess injuries caused by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The NRDA sampling currently taking place is intended to collect a number of data sets, including oyster density, size frequency,biomass and sediment samples,in an effort to assess injuries to oysters as a result of the spill.

The 2011-2012 Oyster Season on public seed grounds was set to open October 17, 2011, with the exception of Calcasieu and Sabine lakes. No other changes have been made to the season opening dates established by the Commission at its September meeting.

The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (Department of Health and Hospitals’ harvest area 30) is scheduled to open at one-half hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person per vessel per day.

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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or at 225-610-8660.

Louisiana Launches GulfSource.org, Single Source Website for Seafood, Water and Sediment Safety Test Results

Release Date: 10/07/2011

LDWF, LDHH, LDEQ and LDAF launch website with all tests results as part of the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan

October 7, 2011 – Louisiana officials announced today the launch of GulfSource.org, a site that makes public all of the seafood, water and sediment safety testing information conducted since the 2010 BP Oil Spill under the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan. The site, which allows users to scroll through all available samples or conduct specific searches by area, date or sample type, utilizes information from the Louisiana departments of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Health and Hospitals (LDHH), Environmental Quality (LDEQ), and Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).

“Though we’ve been testing seafood, water and sediment since April 30, 2010 in response to the BP oil spill, the information has been difficult to widely distribute to the public until the launch of GulfSource.org,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We hope the public will utilize GulfSource.org to find out what the safety test results in seafood from areas they fish or from waters they consume reveal. What is truly encouraging is that, to date, not a single sample has failed our safety tests. We now we have the tool to share those results with the general public. Rebuilding our seafood brand starts with rebuilding consumer confidence in our product. We hope GulfSource.org helps us accomplish that task.”

“The public should have easy access to food safety information and GulfSource.org is a great companion to the work we’re already doing with EatSafe.La.Gov,” DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said. “Transparency of critical health and safety information is a top priority at DHH, where we worked with our state agency partners to publish seafood testing results almost immediately after the BP disaster and throughout the following year. GulfSource takes that work to the next level and allows the world to see for itself that we have the most-tested seafood out there.”

 “Now it will be easier for people outside of Louisiana to know what we already know – the seafood is safe and as good as ever,” said DEQ Peggy Hatch. “The goal of the plan was to ensure seafood safety for all the people who enjoy the best seafood in the world. With the launch of this new website, anyone will be able to see the results. This is the culmination of a statewide effort from many agencies to develop and execute a sampling plan like none other.”

"Our office has a long history of ensuring the quality and safety of Louisiana food,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.  “It’s our duty to continue this obligation to our Louisiana seafood industry and the consumers and patrons that enjoy shrimp, crab and finfish."

Louisiana officials reached an agreement with BP to test seafood, sediment and water from across the Louisiana coast for traces of toxins called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and for dispersants called Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS).  The agreement funds the testing program, called the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan, up to $18 million for a total of three years ($6 million per year).

To date, none of the samples tested have showed levels of PAHs or dispersants near the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-established “level of concern.” In fact, of the samples that showed any minute traces of PAHs, none were above background levels (the levels found in seafood before the oil spill). Test results for dispersants are also available on GulfSource.org.

GulfSource.org allows the general public full access to information on how testing is conducted, specifically where it is conducted, and when and what the results from the lab analyses show. 

For more information, visit GulfSource.org.                                        

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-8660.

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L.W.F.C. Finalizes 2012 Turkey Hunting Season Dates, Regulations

Release Date: 10/06/2011

Oct. 6, 2011 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission today adopted the season dates and regulations for the 2012 turkey hunting season, as recommended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

The change in the turkey season framework approved by the Commission provides for a uniform statewide opening  on the fourth Saturday in March.  In 2012, the season will open March 24 in three designated areas with varying end of season dates as follows:  Area A, March 24 to April 22; Area B, March 24 to April 15; and Area C, March 24 to April 8.

Special private land youth hunts for those 17 years of age and younger and hunts for wheelchair confined hunters would take place on March 17-18, 2012 in all areas. The daily bag limit would remain one gobbler, and the season limit would be two gobblers.

Details for the 2012 turkey season, including dates for LDWF Wildlife Management Areas and special lottery hunts, are available on line at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/turkey within the Sept. 2011 amended Notices of Intent presented to the Commission. Those details will be reflected in the printed 2012 Louisiana Turkey Regulations that will be available prior to the season. 

For more information, contact Jimmy Stafford at 225-765-2361 or jstafford@wlf.la.gov.

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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

 

Oyster Season on Public Seed Ground will be delayed for up to Two Weeks to Allow for Ongoing NRDA Sampling

Release Date: 10/06/2011

October 6, 2011 – The opening of the 2011-2012 Oyster Season on certain public seed grounds will be delayed for up to two weeks to allow for continued sampling as part of the BP Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission today gave authority to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham to postpone the season opening on public seed grounds for up to two weeks, from October 17 to October 31, 2011. At the latest, the season would open at one half-hour before sunrise on November 1, 2011.

Officials with LDWF are working with NRDA teams to ensure that sampling efforts are completed as quickly as possible. If sampling is completed before the end of the two-week delay period, the Commission has given Secretary Barham authority to open the season following a 72-hour public notice.

Sampling efforts of oysters on public seed grounds are ongoing as part of the NRDA process to assess injuries caused by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The NRDA sampling currently taking place is intended to collect a number of data sets, including oyster density, size frequency,biomass and sediment samples,in an effort to assess injuries to oysters as a result of the spill.

The 2011-2012 Oyster Season on public seed grounds was set to open October 17, 2011, with the exception of Calcasieu and Sabine lakes. No other changes have been made to the season opening dates established by the Commission at its September meeting.

The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (Department of Health and Hospitals’ harvest area 30) is scheduled to open at one-half hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person per vessel per day.

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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or at 225-610-8660.

Amended Agenda For October Commission Meeting

Release Date: 10/04/2011

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, October 6, 2011, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

 1.  Roll Call

 2.  Approval of Minutes of September 1, 2011

 3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

 4.  To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/September

 5.  To consider 2012 Turkey Hunting Areas, Seasons and Bag Limits: Consideration of  Conditionally Adopted Amendments to Notice of Intent and Consideration of Amended Notice of Intent

 6.  To consider General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations: Consideration of  Conditionally Adopted Amendments to Notice of Intent and Consideration Amended Notice of Intent

 7.  To consider Declaration of Emergency on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill

 8.  To consider Declaration of Emergency to Give Secretary Authority to Delay Opening of the 2011-2012 Season on the Public Oyster Seed Grounds

 9.  Set February 2012 Meeting Date

10. Receive Public Comments

11. Executive Session to Discuss Prospective Litigation relative to return of Artificial Reef Fund Monies

12.  Adjournment

 

Price Lake Road on Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to Close Temporarily for Bridge Construction

Release Date: 10/04/2011

Oct. 4, 2011-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising all visitors to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge that Price Lake Road, a primary access point for public outdoor recreation on the western end of the refuge, will be closed Oct. 10 for approximately two weeks.

This road closure is necessary due to construction of a bridge across Price Lake Canal to provide access to a well location for permitted oil and gas exploration by Chevron. Construction activities will temporarily block vehicular access to fishing, crabbing and shrimping areas along the road.

The refuge, in coastal Cameron and Vermilion parishes, has a strong mineral management program that minimizes impacts associated with development and is compatible with wildlife and fisheries management activities on the refuge. Revenue derived from oil and gas activities is used to manage the property.  

All other canals and public access areas on the refuge will offer alternative entry points for public access from official sunrise to sunset. Other areas available for public access include the East End Boat Launch/Joseph Harbor Canal and East End Locks Rd., both located just over three miles east of the refuge headquarters building, as well as Rollover Landing which features a private boat ramp with launch fee along the eastern boundary near Pecan Island. 

For more information about Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, contact Tom Hess at 337-491-2593 or thess@wlf.la.gov.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

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