L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

LDWF Announces Whooping Cranes Return to Louisiana

Release Date: 02/07/2011

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that it will be re-introducing the whooping crane to Louisiana later this month. The Department of Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) cleared the way for the crane's return with approval for an experimental population in southwest Louisiana.

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Adding the whooping crane to our diverse collection of bird species further demonstrates our state’s commitment to restoring and revitalizing our coastal regions. This announcement today is another step forward in growing and enriching our state’s wildlife species and preserving our one-of-a-kind Louisiana wetlands.”

The last record of a whooping crane in Louisiana dates back to 1950, when the last surviving whooping crane was removed from Vermilion Parish property that is now part of LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA). Habitat loss and unrestricted hunting led to population declines nationwide and on the North American continent in the last century. The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950. LDWF in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit plan to release the first group of ten non-migratory whooping cranes at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in February. 

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham said, “LDWF has proven through implementing recovery efforts for species like the American alligator and the brown pelican, our state’s expertise and willingness in implementing a long-term restoration plan for our most delicate wildlife.” 

The proposed designation of a non-migratory flock of whooping cranes for reintroduction to Louisiana was first published in the Federal Register on August 19, 2010. Public comments were received and two public hearings (Gueydan and Baton Rouge) were held to allow public comment. Comments were accepted through October 18, 2010 and were generally found to be supportive of the overall reintroduction effort.

The non-essential, experimental flock coming to Louisiana will carry that designation under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. This designation and its implementing regulation, as announced February 3 in the Federal Register, are developed to be more compatible with routine human activities in the reintroduction area. 

Whooping cranes are the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, first added to the list of endangered species on March 11, 1967. Louisiana’s reintroduction is part of a larger ongoing recovery effort led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners for this highly imperiled species, which was on the verge of extinction in the 1940s and even today has only about 400 individuals in the wild.

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 magnificent 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.

For more information on whooping cranes and the re-introduction of whooping cranes to Louisiana, please visit the LDWF’s website at www.wlf.la.gov or the Service’s website at http://www.fws.gov/southeast and the International Crane Foundation at: http://www.savingcranes.org/

For more information contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Rescheduled

Release Date: 02/02/2011

The regular Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, due to the threat of severe winter weather conditions.  The Feb. 8 meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, La.   The agenda remains unchanged from the original Feb. 3 meeting.

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Convicted Felon On Numerous Charges

Release Date: 02/02/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents with the Special Investigations Unit arrested a convicted felon for allegedly resisting arrest and numerous deer hunting violations on Jan. 27 in Iberville Parish.

Agents charged Kirkpatrick Juray Tasker, 28, of St. Gabriel, with flight from an officer, resisting arrest, felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, hunting deer during illegal hours, with an artificial light, from a moving a vehicle and from a public road and driving without a driver's license.

Later in the day, the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office (IBSO) charged Tasker with possession of a stolen firearm and felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after IBSO deputies raided his home with an existing search warrant. The IBSO also arrested four of Tasker's roommates on drug and stolen firearm charges. Tasker is also scheduled for court today, Feb. 2, 2011, for second-degree murder charges in Iberville Parish.

LDWF Senior Agent Robert Turner, Senior Agent Edward Ridgel and Lt. Jay Diez were working a night hunting complaint along La. Hwy. 75 in St. Gabriel when thy heard a gun shot coming from a white Ford Taurus around 1:30 a.m. Agents tried to stop the vehicle, but were led on a seven-mile high-speed pursuit that ended at Tasker's residence. Once at Tasker's residence, agents were able to subdue and arrest Tasker. Tasker was booked into the Iberville Parish Jail.

Agents found a spotlight and a 20-gauge shotgun in the car. Agents were also able to retrieve a freshly taken deer on top of the river levee close to the road where agents tried to stop Tasker's vehicle.

Agents have previously cited Tasker with failing to wear hunter's orange, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements and gross littering.

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 Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Test Results Confirm Pointe Coupee Bird Deaths Caused by Trauma

Release Date: 01/27/2011

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has confirmed with tests conducted by three independent labs that the bird deaths in Pointe Coupee Parish on Jan. 3 were caused by trauma.
 
The 500 birds found dead along a stretch of LA Hwy. 1 between New Roads and Morganza included red wing blackbirds, starlings, brown-headed cowbirds and grackles. Sample carcasses were sent to the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia in Athens, the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI, and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, IA.
 
LDWF preliminary evaluations on Jan. 3 indicated trauma as a factor. Lab testing was needed to rule out other possible causes.
 
Lab reports confirmed subcutaneous hemorrhages, internal organ rupture and broken bones in all birds. Additional tests for organophosphate and carbamate insecticides were negative, and none of the birds tested positive for Avian influenza, Newcastle disease, Eastern or Western equine encephalitis or West Nile virus.  
 
LDWF staff evaluations point to a combination of strong winds from a rapidly moving cold front and disturbance from either vehicular or train traffic that flushed the birds out of the roost trees located across LA Hwy. 1, near two converging power lines. The birds’ apparent flight through those lines resulted in collisions with the power lines and subsequent mortalities. Nearly all of the dead birds were found beneath the wires.
 
For more information, please contact Bo Boehringer, 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

Fall Inshore Shrimp Season to Close in Parts of Zone 1, Jan. 29 At Sunset

Release Date: 01/26/2011

The fall inshore shrimp season will close in parts of Shrimp Management Zone 1 at sunset on January 29, 2011. This closure accompanies a previous closure made by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in portions of Zone 1 on December 21, 2010. Not included in the new closure are Breton and Chandeleur sounds as described by the double-rig line (LA R.S.56:495.1.(A)2); those waters will remain open until 6:00 a.m., March 31.

All inshore shrimp harvesting was scheduled to close on December 21, but some waters were kept open due to a large quantity of marketable size shrimp. However, the remaining white shrimp populations in these waters are now averaging smaller than the minimum possession limit of 100 count per pound. Closing the season allows shrimp an opportunity to grow to larger and more valuable sizes.

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 please contact Olivia Watkins at (225)765-2396 or at owatkins@wlf.la.gov

Agenda Set for February Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Release Date: 01/26/2011

The next regular Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 3, 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 January 6, 2011
  3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
  4. To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/January
  5. To consider Notice of Intent on Methods of Payment for Commercial Licenses and Oyster Tags
  6. To consider Notice of Intent on 2011-13 Hunting Seasons
  7. To consider Notice of Intent on 2011-12 General & WMA Hunting Rules and Regulations
  8. To consider Notice of Intent on DMAP Program Reorganization
  9. To hear Waterfowl Season Zone Options for Public Comment
  10. To hear Presentation of Annual Stock Assessment Report for Striped Mullet
  11. To consider Declaration of Emergency to Close Certain State Waters to the use of Crab Traps for Purposes of Removing Derelict Crab Traps
  12. Set June 2011 Meeting Date
  13. Receive Public Comments
  14. Adjournment

White Lake Fishing Lottery Applications Available

Release Date: 01/24/2011

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now accepting applications for a lottery drawing for fishing permit access to the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) between March 15 and Aug. 15, 2011.

A total of 100 permits will be issued following the lottery drawing and winning applicants will be notified of their opportunity to purchase a permit for $40. White Lake WCA is located south of Gueydan in Vermilion Parish.

The area open for fishing will be limited to the Florence Canal and Oil Field Location canals off of the Florence Canal. There will be no fishing in any of the WCA’s marsh areas or in the main camp canal or other areas that are marked "NO FISHING." Successful applicants will be provided a map of the fishing area. Boats used by permitees will be limited to the use of motors with 40 horsepower or less. Additional rules and regulations are outlined in an attachment to the application.

Each completed application must include a non-refundable administrative fee of $5 in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Individuals will be allowed to submit only one application. Submission of more than one application by any one individual will result in disqualification of the applicant. Completed applications must be received by LDWF by close of business, 4:30 p.m. CST, on Feb. 17, 2011.

Applications may be mailed to LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Attention: White Lake Fishing, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898. They can also be delivered to room 458 at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters, located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Persons interested in obtaining an application may call the department at 225-765-2806 or download a copy from the department’s Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov.

For more information, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-479-1894 or sweeneykw@bellsouth.net.

L.D.W.F. Partnership with N.R.C.S. Provides Assistance

Release Date: 01/21/2011

For Landowners in Southeast Louisiana’s Florida Parishes

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’(LDWF), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), has announced renewed funding for the Longleaf Pine Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) for the Florida Parishes for 2011. Initial applications are due by March 11, 2011 to be considered for first-round funding consideration.

LDWF and NRCS have entered into an agreement, under special provision of the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), through which USDA will pay up to 90 percent of the cost of establishing longleaf pine seedlings and the native vegetation associated with this forest-type. Applications will be ranked and those ranked highest will be selected for funding. Selected applicants will enter into a contract with NRCS to maintain the longleaf planting for at least 15 years. The Longleaf Pine CCPI program is being offered to landowners in Tangipahoa, Washington and St. Tammany Parishes.

Longleaf pine forests once covered vast areas of the southeastern U.S., from the Atlantic coastal plains of Virginia to the Gulf coastal plains of Texas, encompassing more than 90 million acres in North America. Longleaf pine forests produced a diversity of cultural, ecological, and social-economic values, making them one of the great coniferous forests of the world. Today, longleaf pine forest fragments scattered across the southeast represent only a small remnant of this great ecosystem. Less than three percent of the original acreage remains. Outside of the tropics, longleaf pine forests are some of the world’s most biologically diverse habitats. They continue to support many unique animals and plants.

Interested landowners in Tangipahoa, Washington and St. Tammany Parishes can contact the LDWF Private Lands Biologist in the Hammond Field Office, 985-543-4777 or their local NRCS District office to apply: Tangipahoa Parish, ph. 985-748-8751, ext. 3; Washington and St. Tammany Parishes, ph. 985-839-5688, ext. 3.

For more information contact John Robinette at jrobinette@wlf.la.gov or ph. 337-491-2576. 

Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet Next Tuesday

Release Date: 01/20/2011

The Louisiana Oyster Task Force will meet next Tuesday January 25 at 1 p.m. at the UNO Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in suite 210 in New Orleans, LA.
The agenda is as follows:

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of Nov 30, 2010 MINUTES
  3. Treasury Report
    1. Oyster Tag Sales
    2. LOTF Financial Report 
  4. Committee Reports
    1. Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee – (Buddy Pausina)
    2. Enforcement - (Keith Lacaze)
    3. Legislative - (Jakov Jurisic)
    4. Research – (John Supan)
    5. Coastal Restoration – (Dan Coulon)
    6. Marketing - (Dana Brocato)
    7. Health – (Glenn Cambre)
  5. Old Business
    1. Public Oyster Reef Evaluation – Patrick Banks
    2. BP Oil Spill Remediation
      1. Claims Process
      2. Public Reef Remediation
      3. Oyster Lease Remediation
    3. ISSC 2011 Board / VMC Meeting Report
    4. Oyster Lease Moratorium Update – Jerome Zeringue
  6. New Business
    1. Washington Walk on the Hill 
  7. Election of Officers
  8. Set Next Meeting
  9. Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.

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 Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or 225.610.2363. 

Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet Next Tuesday

Release Date: 01/20/2011

The Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board will meet Tuesday, January 25, 2011. The meeting will convene at 10:30 a.m. in Suite 200 of the University of New Orleans Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans. The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting is as follows:

  1. Approval of Minutes From August 27, 2010 Meeting
  2. Hearing of New Appeals
    1. Henry Martin
  3. Set next meeting date
  4. Adjourn

This board was established for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to hear and consider appeals of vessel permit denials. For more information, please contact Laura Deslatte at 225-610-2363 or ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov.

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