LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Up to $3,000 in Reward Money Offered for Information in Whooping Crane Shooting

Release Date: 05/17/2013

May 17, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials are looking for leads regarding a whooping crane that was found shot to death in Red River Parish.

The whooping crane was found and recovered from the bank of the Red River about two miles northwest of Loggy Bayou on April 16.  After a necropsy of the crane, it was determined that the bird was shot with a 6.5mm/.264 caliber projectile.

Investigators believe the bird was shot between April 10 and 14.  The whooping crane was a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program and was fitted with a GPS tracking device.  The last tracking point of the crane moving was on April 10 near where she was eventually found dead on April 16.  The last tracking point received was on April 14 at the location she was found.

This whooping crane was released in Louisiana on March 14, 2011.

LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the USFWS are each offering up to $1,000 in rewards for a total of up to $3,000 in rewards for any information about this illegal shooting that leads to an arrest.  To report any information regarding this whooping crane shooting, please call 1-800-442-2511.

“Anytime we lose one of these cranes it sets us back in our efforts to restore the whooping crane population back to its historic levels in Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “These were once native birds to Louisiana and the department would like to see these cranes thrive again in the future with a sustainable population.”

USFWS Office of Law Enforcement for the Southeast Region Special Agent in Charge Luis Santiago said, "The shooting of this whooping crane is an insult to all law abiding hunters.  We ask the public to please share any information that will lead us to the shooter.”

LDWF has released 40 whooping cranes since 2011 and currently have 25 whooping cranes they are tracking.  This is the third whooping crane that has been found shot with the previous two having been shot in Jefferson Davis Parish in October of 2011.

The re-introduced whooping cranes came from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and they were placed in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This re-introduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the USFWS, USGS, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967.

Historically, both a resident and migratory population of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s.  Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north.  Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh.  The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America.  The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950.

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.  Multiple efforts are underway to bring this 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.

There are about 600 whooping cranes left in the world with 421 of those cranes living in the wild.

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

LDWF Announces Series of Wetland Management Workshops

Release Date: 05/17/2013

May 17, 2013 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Technical Services Section will present Wetland Management Workshops in May and June at three locations throughout Louisiana’s Mississippi Alluvial Valley Region.  The target audience for these events will be landowners managing shallow water impoundments for waterfowl and wetland birds. 

The Thursday evening workshops are scheduled from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the following locations:

May 30 -- Poverty Point Reservoir Visitor Center

1500 Poverty Point Parkway, Delhi, La.

June 13 -- Concordia Parish Sherriff’s Office Community Room

26356 Hwy. 15, Ferriday, La.

June 27 -- Avoyelles Parish School Board Meeting Room

221 Tunica Drive West, Marksville, La.

Each workshop will cover fundamentals associated with management of wetland impoundments for waterfowl and wetland birds. Topics will include timing of drawdowns, beneficial and invasive plant species, maintenance practices and a brief discussion on timber management in bottomland hardwood reforestation projects. Speakers will include LDWF technical services biologists, waterfowl and forestry program staff, and representatives from the USDA-NRCS. Experienced wetland managers will be on hand to discuss your particular situation.

Over the last 20 years, thousands of acres of wetland impoundments have been constructed, both independently and with the assistance of government cost share programs.  Some landowners are finding that, without management, these wetland units do not remain productive over extended periods of time.  There are certain management practices that must be utilized to maximize use by wetland birds.  Landowners managing Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) properties should find this opportunity particularly beneficial. 

LDWF technical services biologists are available to provide technical assistance to support the efforts of Louisiana landowners. LDWF 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 the workshops, contact John Hanks at 318-343-4044 or jhanks@wlf.la.gov .

 

 

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Louisiana Safe Boating Week Set For May 18-24

Release Date: 05/16/2013

To view boating safety videos about proper personal flotation device (PFD) wear for youths and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/enforcement.

May 16, 2013 -- Louisiana is once again participating in the national "Safe Boating Week" that is scheduled for May 18-24 and signifies the beginning of the spring and summer boating season.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again be reminding all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water during this safe boating week.  Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be out in full force as always during the week to perform boating safety checks and driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) patrols.  Each vessel should have enough personal flotation devices (PFD) on board for all occupants and a sober operator.

"Personal flotation devices are made to be worn and not sit in a vessel storage compartment.  Even if you consider yourself to be a strong swimmer, we (LDWF) still encourage everyone on a boat to wear a personal flotation device whenever the boat is in motion," said LDWF Boating Safety Officer Capt. Rachel Zechenelly.  “A personal flotation device on a boat should be treated the same as a seatbelt in a car, because they are both easy to use and are proven to save lives."

LDWF boating incident statistics indicate that 15 out of the 25 boating fatalities in 2012 officially listed drowning as the cause of death.  LDWF regulations state that anyone 16 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while underway in vessels less than 26 foot long.  For more boating and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

Alcohol use is another leading cause of boating crash incidents and fatalities on the water.  Alcohol consumption impairs a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  Alcohol also increases fatigue and susceptibility to hypothermia.  Intensifying the effects of alcohol are sun, wind, noise, vibration and movement, which are all common to boating activities.

The penalties for DWI on the water are the same as on the road.  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 on the water or on the road 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.  Again, every DWI offense is also subject to a suspension of driving a vehicle and operating a boat privileges.

"One of the best parts of our job is to see people utilize Louisiana's waterways for recreation in accordance to the boating safety regulations and return home safely to loved ones.  However, the worst part of our job is to search for deceased bodies and notify family members of their loss," said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the State Boating Law Administrator.  "The two ways to make boating safe, fun and a memorable experience is to have a sober operator and to have everyone wear a personal flotation device when the vessel is underway."

LDWF also wants to remind anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF offers these classes free of charge statewide.  For a list of courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

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

2013 Free Fishing Weekend in Louisiana Set for June 8-9

Release Date: 05/16/2013

May 16, 2013 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have announced that June 8 and 9 will be “Free Fishing Weekend” for Louisiana citizens and visitors. The promotional fishing dates are provided for novices and non-anglers as an opportunity to experience recreational fishing in fresh or salt water without the purchase of a recreational fishing license. 

The program is part of LDWF’s effort to attract more participants into the ranks of licensed fishermen. Fishing license fees support LDWF's conservation efforts including habitat management.

"LDWF is encouraging anyone who wants to fish in Louisiana to do so on the weekend of June 8-9," said John Sturgis, LDWF education manager.  "It's an activity the whole family can enjoy, even without a boat.  Louisiana offers some of the best bank and pier fishing opportunities in the south."

In conjunction with Free Fishing Weekend, LDWF is working with supporting sponsors to offer the following events on Saturday, June 8

Bass Pro Shops Kids Fishing Rodeo at Waddill Wildlife Refuge

4142 N. Flannery Road, Baton Rouge

Fishing competition from 7:30 to 11 a.m. for children ages 12 & under and 13-15.

Prizes will be awarded.

Lake D’Arbonne Fishing Derby at Lake D’Arbonne State Park

3628 Evergreen Road, Farmerville

Registration begins at 8 a.m. for the fishing contest at 9 a.m. and bait casting contest at 10 a.m.

Awards to be presented before noon for participants in two age brackets: 6 to 9 years of age and 10 to 14 years of age.

The first 100 kids will receive a free extendable fiberglass pole rigged and ready to fish with. Bait will be provided by LDWF. 

Youth Fishing Derby at Fairview-Riverside State Park

119 Fairview Drive, Madisonville

Fishing competition from 8 a.m. to noon for ages 15 and under.

Participants are advised to bring their own poles and bait.

Prizes will be awarded in multiple categories.

Louisiana Saltwater Series Tournament - Fourchon Marina

282 Floatation Canal Road, Golden Meadow 

The two-man team event has an entry fee of $200, with a 100 percent payout for top finishers.  Anglers can use artificial lures and weigh in their two best redfish, with a maximum length of 27 inches.  For complete information, including rules, regulations and online registration go to www.lasaltwaterseries.com.  On-line registration will close Thursday, June 6 at noon.   

*A youth division is also available for no additional cost. Teams are allowed to have two youth anglers as part of their team as long as they are under the age of 16.

LASS Youth Fishing Event at Grand Isle State Park

La. Hwy 1, Grand Isle

7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Participants need to bring their own fishing gear and bait.

$5 registration provides access to youth activities and prizes.

For complete information, contact Danica Williams at 504-628-7282.

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 John Sturgis at 225-763-5448 or jsturgis@wlf.la.gov or Danica Williams at 504-628-7282 or dwilliams@wlf.la.gov.

 

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Bundick Lake Drawdown Scheduled

Release Date: 05/15/2013

(May 15, 2013) – The water control structure on Bundick Lake in Beauregard Parish will be opened soon after Labor Day to allow for a lake drawdown.  The action will allow the Department, in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and the local police jury, to conduct maintenance and repair work on public infrastructure around the lake. 

The drawdown will also allow lake residents and property owners to conduct shoreline property maintenance.

Similar drawdowns on Bundick Lake are planned for every five years as part of an integrated lake management plan.  The target level for this year’s drawdown is four to five feet below pool stage, and the control structure will remain open through the beginning of next year.

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. 

A public hearing to address concerns and questions regarding the drawdown will be held on Tuesday, June 4 at 5 p.m. during the regularly scheduled Beauregard Parish Police Jury Meeting in DeRidder, La.

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 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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164 Boaters Certified During "Boating Education Lagniappe Day"

Release Date: 05/15/2013

164 Boaters Certified During "Boating Education Lagniappe Day"

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) certified 164 boaters statewide after their third "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" on May 11.

Boating Education Lagniappe Day ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at eight locations across the state and consisted of the National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

"We are extremely pleased with the turnout as more boaters will now be safer when boating on Louisiana waterways," said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the State's Boating Law Administrator.  "We wanted to make this day full of fun and still be educational at the same time and I feel we accomplished both goals."

The NASBLA safe boating certification is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 who wants to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.

The NASBLA approved 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.  Each student received that completed the course was issued a vessel operators certification card.

Sponsors for each location provided a free lunch, door prizes and giveaways such as sunglasses, fishing rod and reels, cups, and water bottles.

Sponsors for the Boating Education Lagniappe Day were the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Pizza Hut, Cabela's, Songy’s Sporting Goods of Houma, South Louisiana Bank of Houma, Evergreen Cajun Center of Houma, St. Landry Lumber Company, Louisiana Waterway Safety Inc., Krispy Kreme of Metairie, Village Inn Restaurant, C&M Fuel/Team Lafitte Harbor, West Marine of Lakeview, Boat Stuff, Alario Bros. Marine Supply, Temento's Dive Shop and Puglia's Sporting Goods.

For more information on boating regulations and safety, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.  For more information on boating education courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

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.

LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 50,000 boaters during that time.

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

 

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Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Special Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 05/13/2013

May 15, 2013

3:00pm

2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 310, New Orlean, La 70122

I.  Call to order and introduction of guests

II.  Election of officers

  1. Chairman
  2. Vice Chairman/Chairman-elect
  3. Secretary-Treasurer

III.  By-law Revisions

IV.  Committee Appointments

V.  Public comment

VI.  Adjourn

 

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Louisiana Environmental Literacy Plan Draft Released for Public Comment

Release Date: 05/13/2013

May 13, 2013 -- The Louisiana Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP) Sub-Committee is pleased to announce the release of the DRAFT Louisiana Environmental Literacy Plan for public comment.
 
The purpose of the Plan is to develop a comprehensive strategy which will provide children and adults throughout Louisiana with a multi-disciplinary approach to environmental education. It recommends actions that ensure all citizens have the opportunity to connect with nature in positive ways and thus become informed and responsible stewards of our environment.
 
Five main elements are incorporated within this plan: 1) Public Outreach, 2) Environmental Career Pathways, 3) Professional Development Opportunities for Formal and Informal Educators, 4) Unified Pre-K-20 Education Approaches, and 5) Plan Implementation.
 
The draft ELP is posted on the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission’s website: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/environmental-education-commission. The ELP Sub-Committee will accept public comments on the draft plan until May 31, 2013. Comments are to be sent to Venise Ortego, Environmental Education Coordinator, at vortego@wlf.la.gov.
 

 

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Environmental Education Commission Meeting Scheduled for May 14, 2013

Release Date: 05/13/2013

 

The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission will meet in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, May 14 at 1 p.m. in the 4th Floor Conference Room at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries main office located at 2000 Quail Drive.

I.  Call to order

II.  Roll Call/Sign-in

III.  Minutes from last meetings

IV.  Financial Report

V.  Coordinator’s Report

VI.  Old Business

  1. 2013 Symposium Report
  2. State Environmental Literacy Plan
  3. EE Grant Awards
  4. Environmental Awareness Art & Language Arts Contest
  5. EPA Sub-Grants Award update
  • SIP program
  • Quantifying Debris Workshop

VII.  New Business

  1. 2014 Symposium: discussion & committee formation
  2. State Toolbox
  3. Plant Identification Website – request for funds

VIII.  Announcements

IX.  Next Meeting Dates: August 13, 2013,  November 12, 2013

X.  Adjournment  

 

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LDWF to Hold Summer Day Camps in Baton Rouge in June and July

Release Date: 05/10/2013

May 10, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is sponsoring two summer day camps for children 12 to 16 years old at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge this summer.

The camps will be held from June 24-28 and again from July 15-19.  Each 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.

"These camps provide a lot of time for learning classroom material that the children then get a chance to utilize with hands on activities immediately outside later that same day,” 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.”

LDWF is providing a daily lunch free of charge for the five-day summer camps.   Cabela's in Gonzales also donated rod and reel combos for each child that they can take home at the end of the camp.  The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana are each providing two lifetime hunting and fishing combo licenses that will be given to four of the participants.

The camps are open to 25 children per camp who have not completed a boater or hunter education certificate.

To register for the camps, parents must fill out the online application located at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/summerdaycamp by May 31.  Parents must fill out a separate application for each child they wish to register and may only register their child for one of the camps.

Since the main goal of these camps is to introduce and teach kids about the outdoors, LDWF will choose the 25 kids for each camp based on the child’s lack of experience with fishing, boating and hunting.  LDWF will notify parents by either email or phone if their child has been selected for the camps.

“We want to teach children how much fun and exciting it can be by spending time outside enjoying all that Louisiana has to offer,” said Secretary Barham.  “These camps also get the kids out of the house away from their video games and computers for a week during their summer break.  They will catch some fish, paddle canoes and shoot skeet and for some this might be their first time ever doing any of these activities.”

Parents with children that have been selected for either camp, must drop off their child 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 child 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.

The boating education course is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 and proof of completion of the course is necessary 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 or 225-765-2465.

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