Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has signed House Bill 919, passed during the 2007 Legislative Session, which provides for additional funding for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Conservation Fund.
The bill permanently commits mineral revenues from the Attakapas Wildlife Management Area to the Conservation Fund. In fiscal year 2008-09, when the added revenue is initially directed to the fund, the department would receive a projected $18 million. Those funds will offset rising departmental expenses that include the expanding invasive aquatic weed program, equipment and supply costs, salaries and benefits.
"HB 919 did in fact stimulate the discussion of the growing funding concern from the department's standpoint and alerted everyone involved in the legislative process that LDWF needed immediate assistance to continue to serve its vital role in fish and game management for the state," said LDWF Secretary Bryant Hammett. "The tremendous support for this bill from legislators, conservation groups and outdoorsmen, and the governor's concern for the fiscal future of the department, insured passage of this very important legislation."
LDWF funding comes primarily from the Conservation Fund, which contains license sales revenues and mineral revenues from department-owned properties. In fiscal year 2005-06, the fund provided 62 percent of funding for all department expenditures as part of a $73 million budget. The remaining finances are derived from federal grant funds, interagency transfers and other statutory dedications.
For more information, contact Bo Boehringer, La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, at 225-765-5115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.