LEEC eNews: Nature-Based Conference, State of the Ocean Webinar and More!

Environmental News

LDWF Monitoring Biological Impact of Bonne Carré Opening

The Bonne Carré Spillway opened recently for a historic second time this year, while the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) continued its biological monitoring of fish and wildlife resources related to the first spillway opening.
 
More specifically, the LDWF is cooperatively monitoring the effects of freshwater inputs from the spillway openings on Louisiana’s oyster, shrimp, and crab resources, as well as potential impacts on federally managed marine mammal and sea turtle populations.
 
LDWF is part of a multi-agency group monitoring the effects of freshwater introduction resulting from the first, and now second, opening of the Bonne Carre’ Spillway. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead agency charged with monitoring marine mammals and sea turtles and LDWF has assisted NOAA in this regard.
 
Other entities monitoring the impacts of the spillway opening include the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana State University, and National Wildlife Federation.
 
“LDWF biologists will continue to monitor our fish and wildlife resources, and extend our support efforts to NOAA as long as is needed,” said Randy Myers, LDWF Assistant Secretary for Wildlife.
 
Since Jan. 1, 2019, there has been an increase in sea turtle and marine mammal strandings along the coast of Louisiana. The LDWF has been in constant coordination with NOAA and other partners, assessing the situation and organizing response efforts.
 
LDWF has been responding to strandings, performing necropsies on sea turtle and marine mammal carcasses, reporting stranding response and data collection via photo documentation and stranding response forms, and uploading all necessary information into NOAA's online database. LDWF protocols and standard operating procedures have occurred during this time and will continue as the event continues to unfold.
 
The true impact of the spillway opening on the local fish and wildlife populations won’t be known for months as data continues to be collected and analyzed by both state and federal agencies.
 
Since the first 43-day opening of the spillway ended, LDWF has been studying effects of low salinity on the oyster population in Mississippi Sound. Monitoring will continue as long as salinities remain below thresholds that threaten oyster survival.
 
“It is likely some oyster beds will see an impact, especially if salinities remain low and water temperatures rise,” said Patrick Banks, Assistant Secretary for Fisheries, “but we are confident that the areas will be able to rebound just as Mother Nature intended.”

Student Opportunity

Edgar Veillon Conservation Leadership Corps

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) is accepting applications for an exciting program to assist in the development of future conservation leaders in Louisiana, known as the Edgar Veillon Conservation Leadership Corps (EV-CLC). LWF encourages educators to pass this information on to any students that might be interested in applying. LWF is looking for 15 students for its 2019-2020 training class.
 
Students that will be at the undergraduate level (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors) during the 2019-2020 academic year are eligible to receive expert training to develop leadership skills and techniques to analyze and develop conservation policies. Participants will also gain experience advocating their conservation resolutions at LWF's Annual Meeting in August 2020. Successfully written and presented conservation resolutions could potentially be adopted by LWF to serve as official policies.
 
The deadline for application is May 31, 2019. See the program flyer for more information.

Webinar

The State of the Ocean 2018

Wednesday, June 5⋅1:00 – 2:00pm
 
OneNOAA Science Seminar Series
 
Join oceanographer Dr. Rick Lumpkin, as he presents data collected throughout 2018 to give an up-to-date description of the state of our oceans.
 
 
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (571) 317-3122
Access Code: 571-313-661

Professional Development

Nature-Based Early Learning Conference

July 31-August 3, 2019, Manchester, New Hampshire
 
The Natural Start Alliance's annual conference is the nation's largest professional event for teaching, administration, research, and advocacy in nature-based early learning. Join us for engaging presentations, experiential workshops, site tours, and professional networking with nature-based early childhood professionals from around the country and beyond. 
 
For more information and to register, visit https://naturalstart.org/conference.
 

Lagniappe

How to Become an Environmental Education Advocate

The North American Association for Environmental Education has published a guide for individuals interested in becoming EE advocates. The document is filled with advice and resources to help you gain the confidence to make your voice heard. 
 
 

LDWF's Native Plant Garden

Visitors to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) headquarters building in Baton Rouge have a unique opportunity to enjoy the state’s native plants right on the grounds of the facility. LDWF developed the Louisiana Native Plant Garden at campus headquarters and it’s free for the public to enjoy. 
 
The garden contains more than 160 native plant species grouped into smaller gardens to resemble natural Louisiana habitats providing resources for wildlife in the urban landscape. The garden is about a quarter-acre, making it one of the largest and most diverse native plant gardens in the state. Two interpretive stations and 80 plant label signs have been installed in the Garden to enhance visitors’ experiences.  
 
“This is a great time to visit, as the garden is undergoing a redesign to maximize aesthetics while maintaining a natural appeal in each garden theme,’’ LDWF Botanist Brian Early said. “In addition to a variety of native plants in bloom, those visiting will be able to see the transition between the various garden styles, wild to manicured, allowing visitors to decide which best fits their own landscape.’’ 
 
Developed in 2014, the Garden continues to evolve as staff make improvements, implementing new gardening and design techniques. It’s also a chance to get some ideas for your yard. Using native plants in Louisiana yards and neighborhoods provides many benefits to people, wildlife and the environment. 
 
The garden was recently selected as one of five locations to be visited on the Backyard Habitat Garden Tour hosted by the LSU Hilltop Arboretum. Early and volunteers were present at the Garden to lead tours, demonstrate gardening techniques, discuss applied design theory and share lessons learned with visitors. LDWF hosted 200 visitors during this event.
 
Located in front of the headquarters building, the public is invited to visit the LDWF Louisiana Native Plant Garden to learn about the importance of native plants and celebrate our state’s natural beauty. The LDWF hopes visitors will take pride in Louisiana by adding native plants to their landscapes to create a little wildlife habitat of their own.

 


BUY A PLATE TO EDUCATE

Support the LEEC by purchasing an Environmental Education specialty plate at

www.expresslane.org