LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Peason Ridge W.M.A. Closed for Hunting While the Fort Polk W.M.A. May Have Limited Areas Open for Hunting on Oct. 30-31

Release Date: 10/25/2010

Due to military training exercises, the Peason Ridge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be closed for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) scheduled Oct. 30-31 either sex hunt. The Fort Polk WMA may be open in limited areas for the Oct. 30-31 either sex hunt.

LDWF previously announced that all of Fort Polk WMA would be closed for this upcoming weekend hunt, but has now received word from the U.S. Army that training may not take up the entire WMA and there may be limited areas open to either sex hunting.

Hunters will have to check with local officials or check station maps immediately prior to the hunt to determine what, if any areas are open for either sex hunting on the Fort Polk WMA. Hunters can also check the following link for Fort Polk hunting information at http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/hunt2/hunt/default.htm .

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

2010-294

NOAA, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Audubon Nature Institute Return Sea Turtles to Gulf Waters

Release Date: 10/21/2010

Scientists from NOAA, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Audubon Nature Institute joined with Coast Guard Rear Admiral Roy A. Nash today to return 32 sea turtles to Gulf of Mexico waters offshore of Louisiana. This is the first release of rehabilitated sea turtles to the waters near where they were rescued from oil more than three months ago-after extensive analysis to determine that the area is clean and a safe habitat for the turtles.
 
“Today’s release would not have been possible if all the partners had not worked tirelessly during the oil spill to search for, rescue and rehabilitate the sea turtles,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We are able to release these turtles because they’re now healthy and we’re seeing recovery in the surface habitats of the Gulf of Mexico. They are being released within federal waters off the coast of Louisiana that earlier this month, NOAA reopened to fishing. This was another important sign of improvement in the health of the Gulf of Mexico.”
 
Scientists selected the release location, approximately 40 miles southwest of Grand Isle, La., after conducting thorough aerial and shipboard surveys earlier this week to locate clean sargassum algae habitat for the sea turtles. Young sea turtles, such as those released today, spend the early years of their lives swimming and feeding in large floating sargassum algae mats that form in convergence zones where currents meet. Sargassum mats provide protection for turtles from predators as well as a variety of prey for food, including small crabs, snails and other creatures.
 
“I am excited to see these turtles returned to the waters from which they had been rescued during the spill – they’re going home today,” said Rear Adm. Nash, deputy federal on-scene coordinator for the ongoing clean-up operations. “Today’s release is possible because of the efforts of many to rehabilitate the turtles, and to ensure the Gulf waters are ready for their return. This is an encouraging sign that the Gulf of Mexico is recovering.”
 
The 33 turtles released today included species of green, Kemp’s ridley, hawksbill and loggerhead sea turtles. Green, Kemp’s ridley and hawksbill sea turtles are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Loggerheads are currently listed as threatened.
 
“For our staff, today has been long-awaited. Returning sea turtles to waters off the Louisiana coast is evidence of the incredible partnership between our biologists and enforcement agents, and our partnerships with local and federal agencies. Not only did our staff dedicate long days for months on end to the search, rescue and recovery of sea turtles and mammals, but they were committed even when the required tasks went above and beyond their jobs,” said Randy Pausina, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries assistant secretary for the state’s office of fisheries. “Returning this group of sea turtles to their home waters is more than a great achievement for all of our dedicated staff, it is a sign that Louisiana is on the path towards recovery.”
 
The turtles released today were rescued by teams from NOAA, LDWF, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Riverhead Foundation and the In-Water Research Group. The turtles received extensive treatment and care, including cleaning and de-oiling, at the Audubon Nature Institute outside New Orleans.
 
"Six months ago, it was nearly impossible to imagine this day would ever come," said Ron Forman, president and CEO of the Audubon Nature Institute. "Audubon is privileged to have played a key role in this remarkable recovery. Words can't begin to describe how proud I am of our team and their incredible effort in rehabilitating nearly 200 turtles."
 
More than 500 live turtles were rescued during the Gulf oil spill and about 400 heavily oiled turtles were placed in rehabilitation. Those not placed in rehabilitation were immediately released in healthy surface habitats because they were lightly oiled and did not require rehabilitation, Today’s release brings to 270 the number of rehabilitated turtles that have been returned to the Gulf of Mexico. The turtles remaining in rehabilitation facilities will be released as they are given clean bills of health.
 
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov .

 

For more information, contact Olivia Watkins at or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-293

Fort Polk W.M.A. Closed To Hunting From Oct. 30-31

Release Date: 10/20/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is announcing that the Fort Polk Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be closed to hunting from Oct. 30-31 due to military training operations.

This closing means that the LDWF scheduled either sex deer hunt on Oct. 30-31 on the WMA is cancelled. The Fort Polk WMA is scheduled to be re-opened for the bucks only season beginning on Nov. 1.

Please check the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov for any possible future hunting closings and openings.

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

2010-292

Pointe Coupee Men Cited for Hunting Violations

Release Date: 10/19/2010

 

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three Pointe Coupee Parish men on Oct. 14 for alleged hunting violations in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Agents cited Richard Plauche, 22, of Blanks, Robert Otremba, 21, of Livonia and Joseph Plauche, 17, of Blanks, for hunting wild quadrupeds during illegal hours and hunting from a moving vehicle.

Agents were working a complaint near Frisco when they heard a gun shot shortly after 10 p.m. After investigating the shot further, agents found a freshly killed rabbit in the bed of a pick up truck. After questioning the three men, the agents determined that the three men allegedly shot the rabbit from the moving pick up truck they were riding in.

Hunting wild quadrupeds during illegal hours and hunting from a moving vehicle each carry fines between $250 and $500, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court costs.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Cliff Ortis, Senior Agents Allan Marbury and Seth Gauthier.

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

2010-E60

Four New Orleans Men Cited for Federal Fisheries Violations

Release Date: 10/19/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited four New Orleans area residents for allegedly possessing over the legal daily bag limit of cobia on Oct. 15.

Agents found Toan Van Tran, 60, Thanh Van Tran, 28, and John Truong Vu, 28, all of New Orleans, and Anthony Anduc Nguyen, 45, of Gretna, fishing off the coast of Plaquemines Parish in federal waters, known as the Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ.

The LDWF Agents were on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol for the National Marine Fisheries Service when they observed the men fishing at a rig located in West Delta Block 44. During a fisheries compliance inspection, the men were found to be in joint possession of 13 cobias, as well as other species of offshore fish.

The daily bag limit for cobia is two fish per person with a minimum size limit of 33 inches.

The penalties for possessing over the limit of cobia is a fine between $100 and $350, or jail time up to 60 days, or both plus court costs. Agents seized the five cobia that were over the limit and donated them to the Ozanam Inn in New Orleans, an organization that feeds the area homeless.

The agents involved in the case were Sgt. Jason Russo and Agent Terrence Hicks.

For more information, contact Capt. Stephen McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov. 

2010-E59

Land Owned by Rice-Land Lumber Co. Serves as Safe Harbor for Woodpecker

Release Date: 10/15/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has enrolled 49,712 acres of land owned by Rice-Land Lumber Co. in the Louisiana Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) (RCW) Safe Harbor Program.

The Safe Harbor Management Agreement with Rice-Land Lumber, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rice University, established a baseline number of one RCW family group on the company's lands. Rice agreed to employ Larson & McGowin Inc. to manage the RCW on its land to contribute to the regional stability of the bird's populations in southwest Louisiana. 

"We welcome all private landowners who support the department's wildlife species preservation efforts and Rice-Land is to be commended for their commitment," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. 

Rice University has owned the lands enrolled, which includes acreage within Allen, Beauregard, Evangeline and Rapides parishes, for more than a century; timber harvest in the early 1900s funded development and construction of the university. This timberland has been managed by Larson & McGowin, Inc., for over a decade. "We are pleased to have the Safe Harbor Agreement in place which allows for continued forest management and promotes the recovery of the endangered RCW simultaneously," said Ron Long, interim vice president for investments and treasurer at Rice University. 

The RCW is a federally and state-listed endangered species that inhabits open pine forests greater than 60 years old. Rice-Land Lumber has agreed to intensively manage 219 acres in Beauregard Parish for nesting and foraging habitat and to perform prescribed burning. 

"The RCW Safe Harbor Program represents LDWF's commitment to work with private landowners who want to proactively manage for endangered species on their property," said Eric Baka, RCW Safe Harbor coordinator. "The Safe Harbor Program helps remove the perceived disincentives associated with endangered species management and rewards landowners for their actions."

LDWF received a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Section 10 permit, authorizing it to administer the RCW Safe Harbor Program in January 2005. Multiple partners helped shaped the final document, including nongovernmental organizations, private landowners, environmental consultants and state and federal agencies. The RCW Safe Harbor Program is designed to encourage landowners to actively and voluntarily manage pine timberlands for the benefit of the RCW while reducing the fear of having an endangered species on their property. Landowners agree to employ one or more of five voluntary habitat management strategies that have a net conservation benefit for the RCW. These strategies include forest management, hardwood midstory management, prescribed burning, RCW cavity management and RCW population management.

The Safe Harbor program allows landowners greater flexibility to manage their forest resources while benefiting the RCW through baseline shifts. Essentially the landowner increases its RCW population via the installation of recruitment clusters and reassigns baseline responsibilities with LDWF approval. This provision of the Safe Harbor Program allows for greater stability for RCW populations by aggregating previously demographically isolated groups. 

With the addition of the Rice lands, LDWF has 15 landowners enrolled in the RCW Safe Harbor Program, totaling 481,332 acres, with 101 baseline RCW groups and 2 above-baseline RCW groups. LDWF is currently working with numerous other landowners interested in enrolling in the Louisiana RCW Safe Harbor Program. 

Landowners interested in the Louisiana RCW Safe Harbor Program or information regarding RCW management can contact Eric Baka, RCW Safe Harbor coordinator, at ebaka@wlf.la.gov or 318-487-5890.

For more information, contact Eric Baka at 318-487-5890 or ebaka@wlf.la.gov.

2010-292 

L.D.W.F. Issues Advisory on Access to Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 10/15/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is alerting the public that access to Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) via Soda Lake Drive is no longer possible.

Primary access points into the WMA, located in Caddo Parish north of Shreveport, will remain LA Hwy. 169 on the northern end of the property and Dixie Blanchard Road on the southern end.

The cancellation of an access agreement by an adjacent private landowner has closed the Soda Lake Drive access point on the southwestern boundary of the WMA, as well as eliminating access to the trailhead for the ATV / UTV trail.

Until further notice, ATV use on Soda Lake WMA will be restricted to game retrieval purposes only. UTVs are not allowed. Consult WMA Regulations for details regarding ATV use for game retrieval.

For more information, contact Jeff Johnson at jjohnson@wlf.la.gov or 318-371-3050.

2010-291

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Enforcement Committee to Meet October 19

Release Date: 10/15/2010

The Louisiana Oyster Task Force Enforcement Committee is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 19, prior to the 1 p.m. Oyster Task Force Meeting, at the UNO Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210 in New Orleans.

Items for discussion include:

Possible legislation and current laws related to the enforcement of a standard sack measurement on board vessels and dockside.

For additional information, please contact Ashley Roth at (504) 286-8735 or aroth@wlf.la.gov.

2010-290

Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet October 19

Release Date: 10/15/2010

The Louisiana Oyster Task Force is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19 at the UNO Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210 in New Orleans.
The agenda is as follows:

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of August 27, 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)
  5. Old Business
    1. Public Oyster Reef Evaluation – Patrick Banks
    2. BP Oil Spill Update
      1. Claims Process
      2. Public Reef Damages
      3. Oyster Lease Damages
  6. New Business
    1. Relocation of Oyster Leases – Byron Encalade
    2. Oyster Lease Moratorium Update - DWF
    3. Damages to Public Seed Grounds by Coastal Permitting – DWF
    4. Burlap Bags-Buddy Pausina
    5. Oyster Lease Moratorium-Buddy Pausina
  7. Set Next Meeting
  8. Adjourn

For additional information, please contact Ashley Roth at (504) 286-8735 or aroth@wlf.la.gov.

2010-289

LDWF Announces Fishing to Resume in Portions of State Waters in the Barataria Basin

Release Date: 10/14/2010

Recreational Map
Commercial Map

Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in coordination with the FDA and NOAA, has ordered an emergency reopening of all fishing in portions of state waters within the Barataria Basin previously closed due to the BP oil spill. Following today’s action, 96 percent of all saltwater areas of the state are open to recreational and commercial fishing.

Commercial fishing will reopen immediately today, October 14, to the harvest of finfish, crabs and shrimp in portions of state waters between Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche. The openings also include the recreational harvest of shrimp and crabs.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham ordered these openings following the completion of comprehensive testing by the FDA. The FDA has advised that following extensive sensory testing and analytical chemistry results, the fish tissue samples tested from these previously closed areas are safe for consumption.

State inside and outside territorial waters will remain closed to commercial fishing until further notice in the following areas:

1) The Mississippi River delta south of the northern shore of Pass a Loutre and 29 degrees 12 minutes 40 seconds north latitude westward to the western shore of Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River

2) A portion of Barataria Bay north of Grand Isle east of the Barataria Waterway and west of 89 degrees 50 minutes 00 seconds west longitude between 29 degrees 30 minutes and 29 degrees 26 minutes north latitude

3) An area from near Quatre Bayou Pass westward including Grand Terre Island, to Barataria Pass as shown in the detail map will remain closed to commercial fishing until further notice.

While LDWF continues to work closely with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to ensure the safety of Louisiana’s seafood, these openings do not include the harvest of oysters, as this activity is regulated by DHH. 

For additional information, please contact Joey Shepard at (225) 765-2384 or jshepard@wlf.la.gov.

2010-288

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