LDWF News Release

LDWF to Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday, September 23

Release Date: 09/15/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will host National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD) events on Saturday, Sept. 23 in four locations throughout the state including Baton Rouge, Haughton, Woodworth and West Monroe.  
All four of the events are free, and the number and types of exhibits vary depending on the location. All events will feature exhibits on LDWF management programs, Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club, Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana and supporting businesses from the local communities. Attendees will have a chance to try their skills at shooting, fishing and boating, as well as learn about wildlife with live animals.
Details for the four events are as follows:
Waddill Wildlife Refuge
4142 North Flannery Road
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70814
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
(225) 765-2927
The department will stock adult-sized channel catfish in the lake prior to the event, and anglers are urged to bring their own rod, reel and ice chest to keep their catch. Limited bait will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Bodcau Wildlife Management Area Shooting Range
168 Ben Durden Rd.
Haughton, Louisiana 71037
(318) 371-3050
LDWF Outdoor Education Center Shooting Range
661 Robinson Bridge Road
Woodworth, Louisiana 71485
8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
(318) 484-2276
Ouachita Parish Rifle Range
357 Sheriff Fewell Road
West Monroe, Louisiana 71292
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
(318) 343-4044
NHFD is a national event celebrated in all 50 states on the fourth Saturday in September. It was created in 1972 when Congress passed two bills establishing a specific day to celebrate the conservation contributions of the nation’s hunters and anglers. Over forty years later, the events are still going strong.
LDWF introduced its first NHFD event in 1982 at the Monroe district office. In the following years, three more locations were added in Baton Rouge, Minden and Woodworth.  Today, more than 10,000 people statewide attend the celebrations, making NHFD the biggest public event for the department.
The department would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support: Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, CCA Louisiana, Coca-Cola Baton Rouge, Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Fish Fry, Armstrong's Cricket Farm, CenturyLink, Ryan Auto Group, ENTERGY, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, Hixson Ford of Alexandria, WoodmenLife, Doggett Equipment Services, Burger King, Sayes Office Supply, Van Mol Tire and Equipment, Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association and many other local business who made in-kind and monetary donations to help make these events a continued success.
For more additional event information, visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/nhfd2017.

Ducks Unlimited Honors Employees of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge for Dedication to Marsh Management

Release Date: 09/14/2017

(l-r): DU’s Mickey McMillin, DU’s Jim Couch, LDWF’s Scooter Trosclair and DU CEO Dale Hall.

Sept. 14, 2017 - Ducks Unlimited (DU) honored present and past employees of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge for their commitment to wildlife and marsh management Wednesday (Sept. 13) at refuge headquarters in Grand Chenier.
In the last 30 years, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and DU have partnered on various projects leveraging governmental dollars alongside grants and private contributions. Many of these large-scale ecosystem restoration projects cost millions of dollars and would not be accomplished without public and private partnerships. Marsh restoration projects provide critical habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species, including migratory birds that depend on the refuge for stop-over habitat and resting areas along their migration routes.
Most famous for its alligator research, Rockefeller continues to perform valuable research and partner with universities throughout the world.
Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall honored refuge staff with a plaque for the long term partnership in Continental Conservation. DU de Mexico presented refuge manager Phillip “Scooter” Trosclair with a hand carved blue-winged teal signifying the primary waterfowl species that visits Mexico after leaving Rockefeller in the fall. The Ducks Unlimited Canada Order of Conservation was also presented to refuge staff, acknowledging efforts to enhance the future of wetlands and wildlife. This is only the ninth time this award has been given in this history of Duck’s Unlimited Canada.
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, which consists of 76,042 acres, is located in eastern Cameron and western Vermilion parishes. It borders the Gulf of Mexico for 26.5 miles and extends inland toward the Grand Chenier ridge, a stranded beach ridge, six miles from the Gulf. For more information on the refuge, go to ttp://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/rockefeller-wildlife-refuge or contact Gabe Giffin at 337-491-2000 or ggiffin@wlf.la.gov.


Get Out and Fish! launches new community fishing site in Ragley, LA

Release Date: 09/14/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and South Beauregard Recreation District invite you to join them for an event on Saturday, October 21st at Purple Heart Memorial Park pond in Ragley, LA (intersection of Hwy 171 and Hwy 190). Prior to the event, the pond will be stocked with 800 pounds of adult channel catfish. In addition, there will be numerous fishing activities for the entire family including a mobile touch tank, a casting inflatable, and a chance to meet Robbie the Redfish. 

Event Schedule:

Registration:                         7:00 am – 10:00 am

Fishing/Weigh – In:              7:00 am – 11:00 am

Activities:                             9:00 am – 11:30 am

Lunch:                                 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Awards Ceremony:              11:30 am

Fishing competition categories include heaviest catfish and heaviest “other” fish.  Age divisions include Little Angler (ages 8 and under), Junior Angler (ages 9-15) and Adult Angler (ages 16 and older). You can pre-register for this event at www.wlf.la.gov/get-out-and-fish-1.

The event is free, and the first 100 youth registrants (age 15 and under) in attendance will receive a goody bag.  In addition, every participant will be entered into a raffle drawing to win prizes. Lunch will be provided by the South Beauregard Recreation District while supplies last.

Participants 16 & older must possess a valid Louisiana fishing license. If you would like to purchase a fishing license you can do so online at https://www.la.wildlifelicense.com. Don’t forget to bring your own gear, bait and tackle, and an ice chest to keep your fish.

The Get Out and Fish! Program seeks to increase the number of people with access to quality fishing. The program intends to recruit new anglers to the sport of fishing and promote outdoor activities for future generations.

This event is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.  The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fish resources.

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

For more information on Get Out and Fish! Program, contact Megan MacMenamin at mmacmenamin@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-2375.  

DOTD Announces Drawdown on Vernon Lake

Release Date: 09/13/2017

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced the drawdown of Vernon Lake in Vernon Parish to evaluate the condition of the dam following heavy rains associated with Hurricane Harvey.
In order to adequately assess the complete extent of the damage to the dam, the lake will need to be significantly lowered below pool stage. The extent and duration of the drawdown are not known at this time. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
Anacoco Lake, located downstream of Vernon Lake, is near pool stage. The intent is to maintain Anacoco Lake near pool stage while Vernon Lake is under the drawdown.
For more information regarding the drawdown, contact Brad Sticker at (318) 561-5280 or Jonathan Lachney at (318) 561-5103.

Louisiana's First USDA Agricultural Land Easement to Be Placed on 100-Year-Old Rice Farm

Release Date: 09/13/2017



National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Awards $500,000 grant to match federal funding and permanently protect Live Oak Farm in Vermillion Parish

VERMILION PARISH, La. (September 13, 2017) — The Conservation Fund has been awarded $500,000 through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Gulf Coast Conservation program to complete the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Land Easement project in Louisiana. This grant will be matched with funds from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program to acquire an easement that will permanently protect a portion of the 5,800-acre, family owned and operated Live Oak Farm, which has provided valuable agricultural and ecological resources for the community and native wildlife for the past century.

“We are pleased to see this project in Vermilion Parish get started as Louisiana’s first working agricultural protection easement under the USDA,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “Many states have participated in the USDA’s working lands protection programs for decades. It is beneficial that Louisiana is now utilizing this funding mechanism to directly support local farmers who are some of the greatest stewards of our natural assets.”

Located along the Vermilion River just north of the Intracoastal Waterway, Live Oak Farm is recognized as one of the southernmost remaining rice farms in Louisiana. In addition to rice, the farm produces cattle, crawfish and alligator. The farm is also a significant resource for migratory birds, with up to 70,000 waterfowl wintering on this acreage annually.

“The Conservation Fund expects to not only build on this leading commitment from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to deliver a successful outcome in Vermilion Parish, but also seeks a longer term mechanism to complete subsequent working lands protection projects across Louisiana,” said Ray Herndon, Director of the Central Gulf & Lower Mississippi River Region for The Conservation Fund. “We have assembled an exceptional group of partners to support both this initial effort and the bigger picture of identifying and securing dedicated funding for working lands protection across the state.”

“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is pleased to join NRCS and The Conservation Fund in protecting working lands in Louisiana,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO, NFWF. “Creative partnerships that leverage resources are critical to advancing conservation on the Gulf Coast.”

These USDA-NRCS Agricultural Land Easement funds—never previously utilized in Louisiana—will help deliver the permanent protection of priority working lands and high-quality wildlife habitats, while keeping them in private ownership. This approach to conservation aligns water quality benefits, habitat protection outcomes, and economic resiliency for Louisiana’s farmers. The Regional Conservation Partnership and Agricultural Land Easement programs were created by the U.S. Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill. The project is supported by Louisiana’s U.S. Congressional delegation representing Vermilion Parish—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, U.S. Senator John Neely Kennedy and U.S. Representative Clay Higgins.

“This project in Vermilion Parish is the first of its kind in our state, and stands to become a model for agricultural land preservation efforts across Louisiana,” said U.S. Representative Clay Higgins. “Being able to maintain active and economically viable farms while also promoting conservation efforts that benefit wildlife habitats is a win-win for our state. I’m looking forward to a successful implementation at the Live Oak Farm so that we can model and expand our conservation efforts.”

The management at Live Oak Farm is also directly contributing to improved water quality for the Vermilion River, currently classified as an impaired waterway. The producers have invested in a tail water recovery system on their rice fields, which captures suspended nutrients and sediments on site, ensuring less pollution downstream. Through this project, the producers will be able to continue implementing infrastructure that benefits water quality in the Gulf Coast region.

“Louisiana NRCS is very pleased that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, through this award, has recognized the importance of permanently protecting private agricultural lands in coastal Louisiana,” said Kevin Norton, Louisiana State Conservationist for NRCS. “NRCS, along with our partners, has sought to deliver the Agricultural Land Easement program here in Louisiana for many years, and, with this NFWF funding commitment and the partnership with The Conservation Fund and private landowners, we now have an opportunity to protect and preserve this important agricultural landscape.”

Vermilion Parish has seen a significant decrease in acreage designated as rice fields over the last 20 years. This trend represents a substantial threat to the migratory birds that rely heavily on flooded rice fields for wintering habitat. These flooded rice fields compensate for the loss of wetlands resulting from coastal erosion by providing critical resting and feeding habitat for Louisiana’s migratory birds. The working land easement at Live Oak Farm will protect and preserve the agricultural use of the site as well as its function as high-quality coastal habitat.

“Private lands are critical to adequately provide high-quality habitat to the wildlife of Louisiana,” states Jack Montoucet, Secretary of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). “The permanent protection, combined with exceptional management practices, on these private lands, complements LDWF’s efforts to provide adequate habitat to Louisiana’s wildlife populations. This partnership is to be commended, because LDWF cannot achieve its habitat conservation objectives without the complimentary stewardship of private landowners.”

With early support from the Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation, and additional commitments from the Land Trust for Louisiana, the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Foundation, and Ducks Unlimited, the existing partnership intends to deliver on a longstanding objective to support agricultural producers while providing the highest quality habitat for wildlife.

Photos: https://goo.gl/kjMUaz

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect nearly 8 million acres of land. www.conservationfund.org

Pass-a-Loutre WMA Users Should Be Aware Of Sawdust Bend Dredge Project This Fall and Winter

Release Date: 09/11/2017

Pass-a-Loutre WMA Users Should Be Aware Of Sawdust Bend Dredge Project This Fall and Winter

Sept. 11, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising hunters and fishermen destined for Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to be aware of an ongoing dredge project on the WMA.
The Sawdust Bend Dredge Disposal Project will take place prior to the beginning of teal season (Friday, Sept. 15) and continue beyond duck hunting season, which closes at sunset Jan. 21. The Willow Tree Cut canal within the project area will be impassable as a dredge pipe will be at or near the surface of the water at the western end of this canal (see map for the affected areas).
Pass-a-Loutre WMA, which encompasses 115,000 acres, is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River, approximately 10 miles south of Venice in southern Plaquemines Parish. Access is by boat only. For more information, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2786. 
For more information, contact LDWF biologist manager Vaughan McDonald at vmcdonald@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2708.


New Limited Access Areas on Atchafalaya Delta WMA Are In Effect Through Jan. 31

Release Date: 09/11/2017

Sept. 11, 2017 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding users of Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area (WMA) that new limited access areas (LAA) are in effect through Jan. 31.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission voted to expand the areas on the Atchafalaya Delta WMA during its April meeting.
Operation of internal combustion engines inside LAA boundaries is prohibited from Sept. 1-Jan. 31. However, hunters and fishermen may access and navigate LAA via use of paddles, push poles or electric trolling motors. Any vessel with a movable outdrive system may enter an LAA 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. Access is allowed within the large active passes within the LAA. 
Boundaries of the LAA are marked with signs on the Main Delta of the WMA. However, the Wax Lake Delta LAA are marked by a combination of signs or GPS coordinates. Users of Atchafalaya Delta WMA are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these areas prior to their visit. To view maps of the LAA and passes that can be accessed go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/32639 .
For more information, contact Lance Campbell at 337-373-0032 or ljcampbell@wlf.la.gov.


LDWF, Partners Ask Public to Limit Transport of Roseau Cane, Report Die Off

Release Date: 09/08/2017

The scale infecting stands of Roseau cane in coastal Louisiana.
LDWF, Partners Ask Public to Limit Transport of Roseau Cane, Report Die Off

Sept. 7, 2017 - Due to an expansive Roseau cane die off in some of Louisiana’s coastal parishes, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), along with several of its partners, are asking for the public’s assistance to limit transport of Roseau cane and report suspected die offs.
In addition to LDWF, the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) are requesting aid from the public.
The Roseau cane scale, a non-native tiny insect that consumes the plant, may be contributing to the die off that has been found in 11 Louisiana coastal parishes, including Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Jefferson, Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. Mary, St. Charles, Orleans, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa and in southern Mississippi. Waterfowl hunters and fishermen are encouraged to do the following:
·             Do not transport Roseau cane.
·             Do not tie boats up to Roseau cane.
·             Remove all Roseau cane debris from boats prior to leaving local marinas.
·             Wash and drain boats at or near marinas with soapy water.
These measures will limit the spread of the scale or other vectors that could be the source of the die off. The public is also encouraged to report areas of stressed cane and the presence of the Roseau cane scale.  A short web based survey is the best way to report those observations. To participate in the survey, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PhragmitesSurvey .
The survey is short and asks for the location of the Roseau cane as well as a picture of the infected Roseau cane and scale (if present).
Roseau cane is a tall wetland grass that helps protect the Mississippi River’s bird foot delta and Louisiana’s coastal region. Unlike some marsh vegetation, Roseau cane stands up well to tropical storm events. It is one of the most erosion-resistant marsh plants along the Louisiana coast.  The spread of the scale could have severe impacts on the health of our coastal marshes as well as valuable agricultural crops throughout the state. For more information on Roseau cane, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/roseau-cane-scale-delta .
For more information, contact LDWF biologist director Todd Baker at tbaker@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2814.


LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season

Release Date: 09/07/2017

LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season
LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season
LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season

Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2017-2018 oyster season based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry.
The following dates were set for the upcoming oyster season:

  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017 – Calcasieu Lake: West Cove only
  • Monday, November 13, 2017 - all Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River, north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH Shellfish Harvest Areas 1-4), Bay Long/American Bay sacking-only area, Sister Lake, and the Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds will open at one half-hour before sunrise
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - the following areas will close to seed harvest on November 13 but remain open as sacking-only areas: all Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River, north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH areas 1-4) and Sister Lake 

During the 2017-2018 open oyster season, the following provisions will be in effect:
1.    Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the      public oyster seed grounds and reservations described above shall:
a.     Be limited to a daily take and possession limit not to exceed 50 sacks of oysters per vessel, except for in the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation where the limit shall not exceed 35 sacks per vessel, and except for in the West Cove portion of Calcasieu Lake where the limit shall not exceed 7 sacks per person per vessel per day. A sack of oysters for the purposes of this declaration of emergency shall be defined as the size described in R.S. 56:440. If sacks smaller than the size described in R.S. 56:440 are used, the daily harvest and possession limit shall be based on the number of sacks harvested. The daily take and possession limit will not apply to vessels harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes. The possession limit will not apply to vessels operating under a valid Oyster Cargo Vessel Permit, and these vessels cannot harvest oysters.
b.     Be limited to either harvesting market oysters for direct sale (sacking) or harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes on any one day and is specifically prohibited from doing both.
2.    If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the Public Oyster Seed Grounds, Reservations, or areas described above, all oysters contained on that vessel will be deemed to have been taken from said seed ground, reservation, or area from the time harvest begins until all oysters are offloaded dockside.
3.    Prior to leaving Public Seed Grounds or Reservations with oysters harvested from said seed ground or reservation for market purposes: all oysters must be sacked, the number of sacks shall be recorded in a log book, and each sack shall be properly tagged.
4.    All vessels located in Public Seed Grounds or Reservations during those times between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise must have all oyster scrapers unshackled.
5.    In Calcasieu Lake, oyster scrapers are prohibited on vessels actively harvesting oysters.
The following areas will remain closed for the entire 2017-18 oyster season:

  • the area east of the Mississippi River as described in LAC 76:VII:511, south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH Shellfish Harvest Areas 5,6,7,8), excluding the American Bay area defined above;
  • the Bay Gardene, Hackberry Bay, and Bay Junop Public Oyster Public Oyster Seed Reservations as described in R.S. 56:434;
  • the Little Lake Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:521;
  • the Barataria Bay, Deep Lake, Lake Chien, Lake Felicity, Lake Tambour, and Lake Mechant Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:517;
  • the east side of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area;
  • the Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area as described in R.S. 56:435.1. 

Closure dates, adjustments in sack limits and/or sacking-only areas will be determined by LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open public areas if substantial oyster resources are located. 
Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

LWF Commission to Modify Black Bass Regulations on Caney Creek Reservoir

Release Date: 09/07/2017

Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission considered a Notice of Intent (NOI) to modify rules and regulations for black bass on Caney Creek Reservoir in Jackson Parish to be consistent with statewide regulations for the species.
The proposed change will remove the 15 to 19 inch protected slot limit, and 8 fish daily take and replace it with statewide black bass regulations of 10 fish daily, with no minimum length limit. The possession limit will be the same as the daily take on water and twice the daily take off water.
The protected slot limit was initially adopted as part of an effort to increase the production of trophy bass. Following a 3-year comprehensive assessment, LDWF biologists determined length limit regulations have little impact upon the fishery, primarily due to the high rate of voluntary catch-and-release fishing by Caney bass anglers. The removal of these regulations will enhance recreational opportunities and simplify regulations for area anglers.
Black bass is the most sought after freshwater gamefish species in the United States.
The full notice of intent is available here.
Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Jeff Sibley, District 1 Biologist Manager, 9961 Hwy. 80, Minden, LA 71055 or via email to jsibley@wlf.la.gov prior to November 20, 2017.

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