Release Date: 12/18/2007

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) officially broke ground Dec. 14 on a new $3.5 million regional office in Minden that will house the agency's Enforcement, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Divisions.

"Our customer service capabilities will be greatly increased for walk-in customers, group meetings and classroom needs," said LDWF Secretary Bryant Hammett. "Staff needs for additional office space will also be accommodated."

The 15,000 square-foot facility will replace a 6,000-square-foot building that has housed LDWF regional office personnel since 1963. Located southwest of Minden off U.S. Hwy. 80, the multi-purpose building will provide office, laboratory and meeting room space for Wildlife Division and Inland Fisheries Division biologists, Enforcement Division agents and administrative staff serving LDWF Region 1 in northwest Louisiana.

"Louisiana is the Sportsman's Paradise and convenient access to department personnel in the region is critical to the Wildlife and Fisheries mission that supports recreational and commercial outdoor activities in the state," said Sen. Robert Adley (Dist. 36, Benton). "Add to that the support LDWF personnel provide landowners needing assistance with habitat management and the funding for this project is certainly a smart investment for the state."

The new facility will serve as the focal point for developing educational opportunities with regional universities, schools, other governmental agencies and sportsmen organizations.  It will also provide a convenient location for conducting Hunter and Aquatic Education classes as well as Boater Safety Courses.

"Wildlife and Fisheries biologists will be able to share their knowledge of species management and foster a better understanding of the department's conservation efforts in classroom settings within this new facility," said Rep. Jean Doerge (Dist. 10, Minden). "The outreach opportunities that will now be possible can present career path ideas to students who may some day work here."

The Louisiana National Guard (LANG) worked cooperatively with LDWF to provide approximately 30 acres of state property being managed by LANG in exchange for 30 acres of LDWF property in Webster Parish. The new LDWF Region 1 office, just east of LANG's Camp Minden on U.S. Hwy. 80, will be easily accessible from surrounding parishes via Interstate 20.

"This project is a good example of government entities working together to satisfy mutual needs and better serve the public as an end result," said Col. R.D. Stuckey, Camp Minden commander.

The facility, designed by Richard LeBlanc Architects, Inc. (Shreveport), is being constructed to continue operating during emergencies and allow LDWF Enforcement personnel a location to coordinate first-response services to the region and the state. Walker Construction of Ruston is the builder. The projected opening date is set for December 2008.

For more information, contact Steve Hebert, LDWF Wildlife Division, ph. 318-371-3050 or shebert@wlf.louisiana.gov.

Left to right: Rep.-Elect Henry Burns, Dist. 9; Webster Parish Police Juror Jerri Lee; Richard LeBlanc, architect; Col. Ron Stuckey, LANG Camp Minden commander; Rep. Billy Montgomery, Dist. 9; Webster Parish Police Juror C. C. Cat Cox; James Seales, LDWF Inland Fisheries Biologist Manager, Region I; Capt. Wesley Walker, LDWF Enforcement, Region I;  Rep. Jean Doerge, Dist. 10; Sen. Robert Adley, Dist. 36; Webster Parish Police Juror Vera Davison; and Scott Longman, LDWF Wildlife Division Asst. Division Administrator.