LDWF News

LDWF News Release

LDWF Closes Elmer's Island Due to TS Isaac

Release Date: 08/26/2012

Aug. 26, 2012 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announces the temporary closing of Elmer's Island, located on the southwestern tip of Jefferson Parish. The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued a hurricane watch for coastal areas of Louisiana. As a precautionary and preparedness  measure Elmer's Island will remain closed until further notice.

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 Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or 225-721-0489.

[CORRECTION] EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF SHRIMP SEASON IN PORTIONS OF INSIDE WATERS WITHIN LAFOURCHE AND TERREBONNE PARISHES

Release Date: 08/24/2012

Shrimp Closure map

[This announcement corrects information contained within an earlier news release.] 

August 24, 2012 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham, announced an emergency closure of the fall shrimp season in portions of inside waters within Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes beginning at 6:00 pm August 27 and ending at 6:00 pm September 10.

The closure includes state inside waters from the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island as delineated by the channel red buoy westward to the eastern shore of Bayou Lafourche.

Recent biological samples taken by Office of Fisheries biologists in that portion of state inside waters to close indicate that large numbers of small sublegal size shrimp are present in these waters and the season is being temporarily closed to allow sufficient time for these shrimp to grow to marketable sizes. All remaining state inside waters shall remain open to shrimping.

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 Martin Bourgeois at (985) 594-4130 or mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov. For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-2396 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

 

Three Men Charged with Hunting Violations

Release Date: 08/24/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three men for alleged hunting violations on Aug. 16 in Red River Parish.

Agents cited Tyler Goodwin, 21, of Ringgold, David Beard, 20, of Coushatta, and Jordan Northcutt, 22, of Hall Summit for hunting from a public road, hunting from a moving vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public road and hunting wild game quadrupeds during illegal hours.

Agents received an Operation Game Thief complaint concerning these three men.  The landowner witnessed them shining a spotlight on his property.  LDWF agents responded and caught up with their vehicle as they turned into a residence.

Agents found the men in possession of a .223 and .22 rifle and a freshly harvested rabbit.

The penalty for each offense brings a fine between $250 and $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

If someone witnesses or has information concerning a violation, they should call Operation Game Thief's toll-free 24-hour phone line or use the department's tip411 program.  The toll free number is 1-800-442-2511.

To use the tip411 program, tipsters 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.

The information is received by a Wildlife and Fisheries operator and immediately relayed to a wildlife agent who will investigate. If the information results in an arrest, the caller is eligible for a cash reward.

Since the program began, more than $280,000 in rewards has been paid. Information provided by OGT informants has resulted in the apprehension of more than 700 violators who were convicted on a multitude of state and federal charges.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Charles Dison and Senior Agent John Blalock.

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

2012-13 Dove Season Opening Day Shooting Hours Clarification

Release Date: 08/24/2012

Aug. 24, 2012 – Dove hunters are advised that the printed version of the 2012-13 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet contains an incorrect date referencing shooting hours for doves.

The shooting hours note on page 28 of the printed booklet indicates Sept. 3 is the exception to the standard “one-half hour before sunrise to sunset” dove hunting timeframe for approved dove hunting dates. That note should read: Mourning Dove: One-Half Hour before sunrise to sunset EXCEPT on Sept. 1, when shooting hours will be 12 p.m. (noon) to sunset. That correction has been made in the on-line version of the 2012-13 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet posted on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/regulations. For more information about Louisiana’s dove hunting season, contact Jeff Duguay at 225-765-2353 or jduguay@wlf.la.gov .

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Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board

Release Date: 08/23/2012

Finance Committee

The following is the agenda for the Finance Committee of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Meeting, the public is invited to attend.

Regular Meeting Agenda

August 28, 2012 9 a.m.

Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board

2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 310, New Orleans, La. 70122

I.  Call to order

II.  Financial Report through 6/30/2012

  A  LAMP

III.  Natural Resource Commodity Marketing Board Funding Study

IV.  Set Next Meeting

V.  Adjourn

This meeting is being held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by La. R.S. 42:11, et seq.

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Poachers Busted by Tip from Operation Game Thief

Release Date: 08/23/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited five men on alleged poaching violations in St. Charles Parish on Aug. 18.

Agents received a complaint from their Operation Game Thief (OGT) program of individuals cleaning freshly harvested migratory game birds and rabbits in their back yard.  The agents responded quickly to the residence where they made contact with the alleged suspects still cleaning the game.

Agents cited Rico Hernandez, 45, of Bridge City, Yoan Hernandez-Casanova, 27, of Bridge City, Juan Munoz, 25, of Metairie, Miguel Farradas, 33, of Davie, Fla., and Yandry Almeida, 27, of Cutler Bay, Fla., for violating state migratory game bird regulations and possessing rabbits during a closed season.

The agents seized six whistling ducks and eight rabbits taken out of season. Agents also seized three guns which were in the possession of the suspects and believed to be used to illegally take the game.

State violations of migratory game bird regulations brings a fine between $400 and $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Possession of rabbits during a closed season carries a fine between $250 and $500 and up to 90 days in jail.  If convicted, the men also face civil restitution in the amount of $413.34.

If someone witnesses or has information concerning a violation, they should call Operation Game Thief's toll-free 24-hour phone line or use the department's tip411 program.  The toll free number is 1-800-442-2511.

To use the tip411 program, tipsters 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.

The information is received by a Wildlife and Fisheries operator and immediately relayed to a wildlife agent who will investigate. If the information results in an arrest, the caller is eligible for a cash reward. 

Since the program began, more than $280,000 in rewards has been paid. Information provided by OGT informants has resulted in the apprehension of more than 700 violators who were convicted on a multitude of state and federal charges.

Agents participating in the case were Senior Agent Austin Arteaga, Sgt. Kris Bourgeois, and St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Grimaldi.

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

Whooping Crane Teacher Workshops Implemented with Chevron Grant Funding

Release Date: 08/23/2012

“Give a Whoop” participants received a life-size whooping crane poster for classroom display. Photo by Jason Cohen.

  Aug. 23, 2012  -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recently held its first two whooping crane education “Give a Whoop” Workshops, as part of a grant provided by Chevron and facilitated by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission (LEEC).  

The workshops were held at LDWF’s White Lake Wetland Conservation Area in Gueydan on Aug. 2 and 7. The first workshop was offered to environmental educators throughout the state and the second was held as part of an in-service professional development day for the life science teachers of Calcasieu Parish.  

Louisiana educators of middle and high school students learned about the complexities and challenges of the reintroduction program, received how-to demonstrations on the classroom lesson activities and engaged in field work related to habitat identification and using GPS units. Participants also visited the crane pens via a boat ride through the remote marsh area.  

Workshop participants received a handheld GPS unit for classroom use, the lesson series of nine engaging, GLE-aligned lessons covering topics such as taxonomy, bird reproduction, ecosystems, adaptation, endangered species and other related items.  

The next whooping crane workshop will be held at the Louisiana Association of Teachers and Mathematics and the Louisiana Science Teachers Association (LATM/LSTA) conference on Nov. 12 in Shreveport. Additional workshops will follow.  

Contact Venise Ortego at 337-948-0255 or vortego@wlf.la.gov for information about future workshops.  For more information on the re-introduction of whooping cranes to Louisiana, please visit www.wlf.la.gov; or contact Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-7292. For photos, video footage and research documentation please visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.

L.D.W.F. Environmental Education Commission Announces 2012-13 EPA Region 6 School Sustainability Grants Program

Release Date: 08/23/2012

Aug. 23, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Environmental Education Commission (LEEC) has received an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant for $150,000 to assist educators, students and citizens in EPA Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) more fully appreciate the need to conserve our resources and understand that the choices we make today affect the world that we live in tomorrow. Two new funding opportunities and one workshop series will be made available with this EPA grant.

  The first funding opportunity, a School Sustainability Grants program, is currently accepting proposals. These grants are designed to encourage student learning via sustainability initiatives in K-12 schools. Proposals to be considered are those within a specific school campus that will engage students and result in a more sustainable facility. School administrators or fulltime classroom teachers affiliated with accredited public or non-public schools (K-12) in EPA Region 6 are eligible to apply on behalf of their school. Grant awards are not to exceed $5,000 and the grant application deadline is Oct. 1, 2012.  All applications will undergo an anonymous and competitive grant review process. For guidelines and additional information, go to http://www.cain.lsu.edu/node/68 .

Sustainability Initiative Project grants will be offered later in the year. They can be used to fund a variety of environmental initiatives including: volunteer opportunities, educator workshops, and other projects that have a fundamental EE component and clear sustainability message. Local education agencies, colleges, universities, state education or environmental agencies, or 501(C)(3) non-profit organizations will be eligible to apply for these mini-grants. 

Finally, Quantifying Debris, a workshop series for educators and their students, will be offered beginning in the summer of 2013 and will focus on the dynamics of marine debris. Teachers will participate in marine debris lessons and then travel to a stretch of beach where they will mark areas of concentrated debris via GPS units. They will pick up, sort, and weigh debris, determine recyclable content, develop statistics on trash types, infer sources of trash, etc. Attendees will receive up to 16 hours of professional development; they will also receive travel reimbursements and a classroom GPS unit. Teachers will return during the school year with their 6-12 grade students, who will participate in activities similar to those in the teacher workshop. Students will then design signage to be produced and displayed at marinas and boat launch facilities. These and other follow-up projects at school will encourage problem solving related to reducing trash in the environment.  

The grants program focus is changing longstanding practices which are commonly accepted within the community.  Sustainability initiatives, such as the ones to be funded with this grant, are designed to counteract the current trend to use, purchase, and waste at a rate that outpaces resource growth.  

For more information, contact Venise Ortego, LDWF Environmental Education Coordinator, ph. 337-948-0255 or vortego@wlf.la.gov.

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Alligator Violations on the Rise in Louisiana

Release Date: 08/22/2012

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division has seen a steady rise in alligator violations since 2009.

According to LDWF violation statistics, Enforcement Division agents have issued 98 alligator related violations in 2012 already.  LDWF issued 60 total alligator related citations in 2007 and 2008, 69 in 2009 and 2010, and 80 in 2011.

“The increase of alligator citations is of concern and the department is doing their best to catch these violators,” said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.

The popularity in outdoor reality TV shows seems to be one of the reasons why there have been more alligator violations in the last couple of years.

“In some of our cases the subjects have admitted to watching a reality TV show and then wanting to replicate what they watched,” said Col. Vidrine.  “While these shows offer a high level of entertainment, they do not offer a lot of information on how to legally harvest an alligator.”

The majority of the alligator violations are classified as possession of an alligator during a closed season, failing to possess a license and possession of an alligator without a license.  Also, most of the increases in violations are occurring in the Saint Mary, Saint Martin, Assumption, Saint James, Saint John, LaFourche and Terrebonne parishes going from two violations in 2010 to 42 violations so far in 2012.   For illegally possessing an alligator, poachers can get up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail for the first offense.

LDWF issues alligator harvest tags for property containing sufficient alligator habitat capable of sustaining an alligator harvest.  A resident alligator hunter must either own this approved land or have permission to hunt alligators on land that is classified as wetland habitat in order to qualify for alligator harvest tags.  Alligator hunters apply for alligator tags prior to the season.  To apply for tags, hunters must submit an application prior to the season found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-hunting.

The alligator season is split into an east zone that runs from the last Wednesday of August for 30 days and the west zone that goes from the first Wednesday of September for 30 days.  A resident alligator hunting license costs $25.

“With the upcoming opening of alligator season, hunters are reminded to utilize their tags only on the approved property and that all alligators caught on their lines must be harvested and immediately tagged,” said Noel Kinler, LDWF’s alligator program manager.

Currently there are an estimated 1.5 million alligators in Louisiana.  Since 1972, over 870,000 wild alligators have been harvested.

“The department’s Alligator Program has been very successful in managing the alligator resource from near extinction to a healthy sustainable population,” said Col. Vidrine.  “These regulations are put in place for a reason and have worked for over 40 years since their inception in 1972.”

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands or public lands/lakes can harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.  Non-residents can only harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.  A guide must be an alligator hunter possessing tags.  An alligator sport hunter license cost is $25 for Louisiana residents and $150 for non-residents.

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands may be able to harvest alligators on public lands or lakes.  These public lands/lakes are managed by many different entities ranging from local parish governments to federal governmental agencies.  Methods in which alligator hunters are chosen for these areas include bidding and lotteries.

The lottery alligator harvest program provides the opportunity for over 300 resident alligator hunters to harvest approximately 800 alligators on almost 40 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA)/public lakes located throughout the state.

Lottery alligator harvest applications become available mid to late May of each year and lists all available WMAs/public lakes.  For more information on LDWF’s Alligator Program, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-program.

Anyone wanting to report alligator 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.

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

Chicot Lake Drawdown Scheduled

Release Date: 08/21/2012

Aug. 21, 2012 – The water control structure on Chicot Lake near Ville Platte, La., will be opened soon after Labor Day to allow for a lake drawdown.  The action is part of an integrated management plan developed to control submerged vegetation. 

In addition to the drawdown, the Department will continue herbicide applications, and triploid (sterile) grass carp will be introduced this winter.

Drawdowns on Chicot Lake will be conducted annually to mimic natural water fluctuation.  The target level for this year’s drawdown is two feet below pool stage.  Future drawdowns will be three foot below pool stage.

The lake will not be closed to fishing during the drawdown, but caution is advised of boaters during the low water period as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions. 

For further information regarding the drawdown, contact Jody David, LDWF Biologist Manager, at (337) 948-0255 or at jdavid@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.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov(225) 765-2396.

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