L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

LDWF Agents Issue 10 DWI's During Operation Dry Water Weekend

Release Date: 06/27/2011

 

In support of Operation Dry Water, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) arrested 10 boaters statewide for driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) from Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26.

In the northern part of the state agents arrested Michael Smith, 34, of Jonesville, on Bushley Bayou in Catahoula Parish on June 25; Eric Bates Jr., 22, of Bernice, on Corney Lake in Claiborne Parish on June 24; and Bryon Breedlove, 26, of Shreveport, on the Red River in Bossier Parish on June 26.

Agents arrested Lyle Laussade III, 22, of Ponchatoula, on the Tickfaw River on June 25; David Goodale, 43, of Walker, on the Tickfaw River on June 25; Brian Hernandez, 49, of Baton Rouge, on the Amite River/Diversion Canal on June 25; and Chad Panepinto, 27, of Hammond, on the Tickfaw River on June 26 in the eastern part of the state.

In the southern part of the state agents arrested Kevin Davis, 54, of Texas, on the Belle River in St. Martin Parish on June 25; Lance LeBlanc, 23, of Bourg, on the Intracoastal Canal in Terrebonne Parish; and Dwight Landry, 56, of Breaux Bridge, in Henderson Bay in St. Martin Parish on June 25.

"We take DWI enforcement on the water very serious since the leading cause of boating fatalities is alcohol," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "We want everybody on the water to have a good time, but to keep in mind that they need a designated driver just like on land."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 32 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2009.  Alcohol was again the leading primary cause of those boating fatal incidents leading to 24 percent of the fatalities.  Nationwide, statistics from 2009 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

LDWF agents issued 216 DWI citations to boat operators in 2009.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving LDWF, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

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

LDWF Sets 2011 Season for Gag Grouper

Release Date: 06/27/2011

June 27, 2011 – Today the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the 2011 season for the recreational harvest of gag grouper.  The season is set to begin on September 16, and will remain open until November 15, in both state and federal waters. 

The bag limit for gag grouper in Louisiana state waters is up to five gag grouper within a five grouper aggregate bag limit at a minimum size limit of 22 inches total length.  Federal regulations allow only two gag grouper within a four grouper aggregate bag limit with a minimum size of 22 inches total length.

The recreational gag grouper season is set based on rules issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service as recommended by the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council. 

Captain and crew of vessels operating as charter vessels have a bag limit of zero.  For further information on gag grouper regulations please visit http://www.gulfcouncil.org/fishing_regulations/index.php

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 contact Jason Adriance at jadriance@wlf.la.gov or (504)284-2032.  For press inquiries contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363.

LDWF To Hold Summer Camp For Kids 12 to 16 Years Old

Release Date: 06/27/2011

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is sponsoring a summer camp from July 18-22, 2011 for children 12 to 16 years old at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge.

The camp is completely free of charge and will allow participants to receive their official boater and hunter education certifications.  LDWF will also offer a fish identification class, fishing and canoeing in the ponds at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, skeet shooting, and other outdoor related classes and activities.

"We want to teach children, before they finish middle and high school, the fun and excitement of spending time outdoors,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “For a week, parents have the chance to let their kids become sportsmen and women in a safe, supervised environment.  Not only will they get valuable boater and hunter education certificates, but they will have the chance to get excited about spending less time with computers and video games, and more time enjoying the truly exciting activities Louisiana’s great outdoors has to offer.”

The Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are providing a daily lunch free of charge for the five-day summer camp.  Cabela's in Gonzales also donated a rod and reel combo set that each child will receive to fish with while at the camp and take home.

In addition to LDWF's instructor's, the Louisiana branch of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) will also have personnel on site and will give each student a CCA membership upon completion of the camp.

The camp is open to the first 20 children that register.  To register, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.  The camp is only open to children who do not have a boater or hunter education certificate.

Parents who register their children, may drop them off at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center located at 4142 North Flannery Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70814 between 7 and 8 a.m., and then pick their kids up between 4 and 5 p.m. each day.  Attendance every day of the week is mandatory in order to receive the boating and hunting education certifications.

Anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.

The hunter education course is mandatory for anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, who plans on purchasing a hunting license.  The hunter education curriculum includes sections on ethics and responsibility, wildlife management, firearms and ammunition, safety in the field, wildlife identification and wildlife conservation.  The major objectives of the hunter education programs are to reduce the number of hunting accidents, improve the image of hunting through ethical and responsible conduct and promote the shooting sports.

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

Shrimp Season to Close Saturday in Portion of Zone 2

Release Date: 06/22/2011

Shrimp Season Closure - Portion of Zone 2

 

June 22, 2011 – Today the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced the 2011 spring inshore shrimp season in a portion of Shrimp Management Zone 2 will close at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 25. 

This shrimp season closure includes state inside waters from the western shore of Bayou Lafourche westward to the eastern shore of the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island as delineated by the Channel Red Buoy line, with the exception of the following waters north of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line:

•             Those inshore waters south of 29 degrees 13 minutes 00 seconds north latitude from 90 degrees 18 minutes 00 seconds west longitude westward to 90 degrees 34 minutes 00 seconds west longitude

•             Those inshore waters south of 29 degrees 06 minutes 00 seconds north latitude from 90 degrees 34 minutes 00 seconds west longitude westward to 90 degrees 46 minutes 00 seconds west longitude.

Data collected in recent weeks by LDWF biologists indicates increased quantity, distribution and percentage of small juvenile white shrimp within this portion of Zone 2.  The decision to close this area was made in an effort to protect these developing shrimp.

Shrimp Management Zones 1 and 3, as well as all state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside shrimp line, will remain open to shrimp harvesting until further notice with the exception of those areas still closed to recreational and commercial fishing due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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 on this contact Marty Bourgeois at mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or (225)765-2401.  For press inquiries please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363.

LDWF Enforcement Division Cooperating In Operation Dry Water June 24-26

Release Date: 06/22/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 24-26 with increased patrols for operating or driving a boat while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement and boating safety.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.

"We want people to be safe and have fun while boating recreationally," commented Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF’s state Boating Law Administrator.  "But alcohol use has become the leading contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents.  We recommend that boaters avoid drinking alcoholic beverages at all times, and we will have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs on our waters."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 32 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2009.  Alcohol was again the leading primary cause of those boating fatal incidents leading to 24 percent of the fatalities.  Nationwide, statistics from 2009 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.  In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

LDWF agents issued 216 DWI citations to boat operators in 2009.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

“There will be arrests this weekend and some boaters will face the consequences of operating a boat while impaired," added Lt. Col. Mayne.  "But we'd much rather arrest someone than to have to tell their friends and family they're never coming back."

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

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

LDWF Schedules Drawdown for Lake Bruin in Tensas Parish

Release Date: 06/21/2011

 

 

June 21, 2011 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in conjunction with the Lake Bruin Recreation and Water Conservation District, will drawdown Lake Bruin in Tensas Parish beginning September 6, 2011.

The water level will be lowered 4 1/2 feet below pool stage and will remain lowered until December 15, 2011.  The drawdown is being conducted to allow for replacement of a disabled water control structure, vegetation control in the Brushy Lake area, fisheries improvement and also to allow homeowners to conduct shoreline and property maintenance. 

All homeowners are advised to take appropriate prepartory measures as boat access into the lake will be limited. 

For further information regarding the drawdown, contact Ryan Daniel, LDWF Biologist Manager, at (318) 343-4044 or Gary Smith, President of the Lake Bruin Recreation and Water Conservation District, at (318) 766-4252.

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, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-5113. 

Crab Task Force Scheduled to Meet June 23, 2011

Release Date: 06/21/2011

 

The Louisiana Crab Task Force will meet Thursday, June 23 at 4:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. The agenda for Thursday’s meeting in the Louisiana Room is as follows:

  1. Call to order Roll call
  2. Approval of minutes/agenda
  3. Receive public comments
  4. Senior Commercial Fisherman’s License
  5. Whitespot disease (general information and discussion) 
  6. Reports of blue crab mortalities and laboratory findings
  7. Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for crab fishermen
  8. Impacts of freshwater flooding on the blue crab resource
  9. Exports of live blue crabs (opportunities and regulations)
  10. Status of Derelict Crab Trap Removal and Crab Promotion and Marketing Accounts
  11. Blue crab processing and solid waste disposal
  12. Update on MSC Certification of the blue crab fishery
  13. Indirect effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on the blue crab industry
  14. Task force vacancies and recruitment efforts
  15. Travel reimbursement for task force members
  16. H-2B visas and labor issues
  17. Status of HB 584
  18. Crab education day planning
  19. Other Business
  20. Next Meeting / Agenda
  21. Adjournment

For more meeting information, contact Carl Britt at (985)882-0027 or cbritt@wlf.la.gov.  For press inquiries contact Laura Wooderson at (225)610-2363 or lwooderson@wlf.la.gov.

Local Anglers Take Home Top Prize at Louisiana Saltwater Series Fishing Tournament

Release Date: 06/21/2011

(Left to right) Tournament Director Dwayne Mills, Kory Matherne, Jason LeBlanc, Becky Chaney.

 

June 21, 2011 –Last Saturday, the second annual Louisiana Saltwater Series made its third stop on the tournament trail at Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix, La., with 44 boats entered and over $7,000 awarded in cash prizes.

The series was developed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation to promote conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources and targets one of Louisiana’s most valuable sport fish, redfish.  

Taking home first place overall were Jason LeBlanc and Kory Matherne, of Marrero, with a two fish total weight of 16.57 pounds.

A total of 109 redfish were tagged and released during Saturday’s event.  The results of the tagging will aid conservation efforts for redfish in the future, helping to ensure healthy populations and a successful recreational fishing industry.

Visit www.lasaltwaterseries.com for more information, including event photographs and a complete listing of results. Each series includes two-man teams with a $200 entry fee for each event. For teams consisting of three members, only two of the members may be 16 or older.  The tournament is a 100 percent payout series.

Mark your calendars for our next tournament on July 23 at The Dock and Dockside Bait and Tackle in Slidell.  The Disney Radio Road Crew will be on-site to entertain kids of all ages with interactive, hands-on, music and contest-filled events, so be sure to bring the entire family. 

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 more information contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-5113.

Louisiana Boaters Can Take Free Boating Safety Course at Home

Release Date: 06/21/2011

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now offering a new online boating safety course provided by the BoatUS Foundation.  The course can be found at www.BoatUS.org or www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

The new online course is approved by LDWF and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and allows Louisiana boaters to get their safe boating certification at no cost in the comfort of their own home.

"The department wants to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to get their boating safety certification," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "Since the course is free and people can take it at home, we want to encourage everybody to give it a try even those that don't need their certification.  This free online course will teach new boaters how to become safer on the water and old boaters some new tips."

Louisiana boaters born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 40,000 boaters during that time.

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating incidents that result in fatalities than states that have no boating education program.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

With the free online course, those looking to get certified now have three options to choose from: the traditional classroom course taught in one day, the free online course from BoatUS.org and an online course for a small fee from boat-ed.com.

The free online course and exam is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.

“We’ve loaded the course with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters, sailors and anglers an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. “It includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as visual distress signals, how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent and extinguish fires aboard your boat, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out.”

Upon successful completion of the course, boaters print out their own certificate of completion as proof of boater education.

About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. To make a tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation.

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

L.D.W.F. to Accept Public Bids for Premier Waterfowl Hunting Leases at White Lake

Release Date: 06/15/2011

Agricultural and hunting leases up for competitive public bid summer 2011

June 15, 2011 – Hunting and agricultural leases on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area will be open for competitive public bid in mid-summer 2011, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Nearly 35,000 acres of the 71,000-acre property will be available as existing leases expire.

“While we are very grateful to our current leaseholders who have all been good stewards of the land, we have a responsibility to the citizens of Louisiana to allow all who would like a hunting or agricultural lease the opportunity to bid on it,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “Opening these leases up for competitive public bid ensures that the state will get fair market value for this land, as well as responsible tenants.”

Public waterfowl hunts and lease revenues offset LDWF’s operational costs to maintain the White Lake WCA acreage and facilities which exceed $1 million annually. The department is also facing erosion abatement costs along the Intracoastal Waterway that must be addressed.

The bid packets detailing land use stipulations and minimum per acre lease costs will be available July 17. Interested parties will have access to bid details online via the LDWF website or by mail upon request. Completed bid packages must be returned to LDWF by close of business on August 17. Following review of all bids submitted, winning bids will be announced in September.

To review the parcels and acreage totals that will be available during the bid process or request more information, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/white-lake-leases on the LDWF website. Anyone without access to the LDWF website can call 225-765-2812 or send a letter of request to:

White Lake Wetlands WCA Bid Process 2011
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
P. O. Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000

LDWF is currently working to secure an assessment of local leases values, which will aid in establishment of minimum bid values. Agricultural practices will also have to be maintained by those awarded leases in September. The term for all new leases will be 10 years with annual lease payments required.

LDWF’s public waterfowl hunts, including the annual youth hunt, lottery hunts and corporate hunts, will still be offered by the department on the White Lake property as they have been since 2005. Plans have been made to expand public hunting opportunities beginning this fall.

LDWF began management of White Lake Preserve in 2005 as part of a transition agreement entered into between White Lake Preservation, Inc., and the state of Louisiana, and approved by BP America Production.

The property, near Gueydan in Vermilion Parish, was donated to the state in 2002 by BP and the transfer of management authority was mandated by legislation passed during the 2004 session. The original donation framework granted management control to White Lake Preservation, Inc., a non-profit charitable entity overseen by a designated board. Legislative action, approved in Act 613, placed property management decision-making under the control of LDWF and a 10-member advisory board appointed by the governor.

To request a lease packet or inquire about the stipulations of the competitive bid process, please contact Buddy Baker at 225-765-2812 or bbaker@wlf.la.gov. For all media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

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