LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet September 10

Release Date: 09/05/2019

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting
Mitch Jurisich, Chairman
Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 1 p.m.
Terrebonne Council Meeting Room 8026 Main Street, Houma, LA 70360
I. Pledge of Allegiance
II. Roll call and introduction of guests
III. Approval of July 30, 2019 Minutes and September 10, 2019 Agenda
IV. Treasury Report
A. LOTF Financial Report & Oyster Tag Sales
V. Committee Reports
A. Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee (Mitch Jurisich)
B. Enforcement (Major Edward Skena)
C. Legislative (Jakov Jurisic)
D. Research (Earl Melancon)
E. Coastal Restoration (Dan Coulon)
F. Marketing (LDWF)
G. Health (Justin Gremillion)
H. Aquaculture
I. Joint Task Force Working Group (Mitch Jurisich)
VI. New Business
A. To Hear an Update on Oyster Mortality Surveys Related to the 2019 Flood Event- LDWF
B. To Hear an Update on the Sediment Diversion Program- CPRA
C. To Discuss the 2019 ISSC Proposals- OTF
D. To Hear a Presentation on a Suggested Public Relations Campaign for the Oyster Task Force- Dr. John Zach Lea
E. To Discuss the 2020 LA Alive Event- OTF
F. To Discuss and Consider Funding for a Washington, D.C. Seafood Reception- OTF
VII. Public Comment
VIII. Set Next Meeting
IX. Adjourn
The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq. The public is invited to attend. To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5036690544827636236.
 
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.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.For press inquiries please contact Rene LeBreton, 504-286-8745 or rlebreton@wlf.la.gov
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to rlebreton@wlf.la.gov at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

 

Oyster Task Force Public-Private Seed Grounds Committee to Meet September 10

Release Date: 09/05/2019

Oyster Task Force

Public-Private Oyster Seed Grounds Committee Meeting

Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 9:30a.m.

Terrebonne Council Meeting Room

8026 Main St. Houma, LA 70360

 

AGENDA

 

I. Call to Order

II. Pledge of Allegiance

III. Introductions

IV. To Discuss a State Based Assistance Program for LA Oystermen Due to the Current Flooding Crisis and Loss of Oyster Resources- OTF

V. To Discuss a Legislative Proposal Regarding Oyster Lease Marking Pole Regulations- OTF

Vi. Public Comment

VII. Set next meeting

VIII. Adjourn

 

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend. To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7712264130090667020

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.

To sign up for LDWF commercial fishing alerts sent as text messages or as emails visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/signup.

For press inquiries please contact Rene LeBreton, 504-286-8745 or rlebreton@wlf.la.gov

 

Patterson Man Cited for Alligator Violations

Release Date: 09/05/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a Patterson man for alleged alligator hunting violations on Aug. 31 in St. Mary Parish.

Agents cited Keith Crouch, 38, for hunting alligator out of season and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

Agents were on patrol in Hawkins Bayou when they heard a gunshot.  They travelled to where they thought the shot came from and observed Crouch with a shotgun and a juvenile in a boat.  They watched Crouch throw the shotgun in the marsh and then travel to his camp.

Agents made contact with Crouch and the juvenile at the camp.  During questioning, Crouch admitted to trying to shoot an alligator with the shotgun.

Agents went back and found the shotgun loaded with buckshot and in the fire position.  Agents seized the shotgun.

Alligator season doesn’t open until Sept. 4 in this part of the state.

Hunting an alligator during a closed brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Contributing to the delinquency of a minor carries up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

 

Bodcau Shooting Range to Close at 11 a.m. Sept. 7, LDWF Announces

Release Date: 09/05/2019

Sept. 5, 2019 – The Bodcau Shooting Range will close Saturday (Sept. 7) at 11 a.m., the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced. This closure will allow dove hunters to safely access fields adjacent to the shooting range for the opening day of dove season on Bodcau Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
 
“We have a good number of doves on Bodcau this year and we want to maximize hunters’ ability to safely take advantage of this opportunity,” LDWF biologist Jarrod Hughes said.  
 
The shooting range will return to its regular hours of operation on Sunday (Sept. 8).
 
The Bodcau Shooting Range is located on the Bodcau Wildlife Management Area in Bossier and Webster parishes. For more information on this and other LDWF ranges go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/shooting-ranges.
 
 

Reminder of the Current Blue Crab Harvest Regulations

Release Date: 09/05/2019

At its September 6, 2018 meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission adopted a Notice of Intent to change regulations for the recreational and commercial harvest of blue crabs in 2019.  The rule prohibits the recreational and commercial take and/or possession of mature female blue crab for a 35-day period beginning September 9, 2019, and ending October 13, 2019.  These changes are expected to result in less negative impact on the crab fishery than the 60-day spring full closure of the commercial fishery originally proposed, while maintaining the same level of protection to the blue crab stock.

The changes are listed below:

  • The recreational and commercial take of female blue crab from any of the waters of the state or the possession of female blue crabs while on waters of the state is prohibited for a thirty-five day period beginning the second Monday of September in 2019 (September 9 – October 13, 2019).  All female blue crab in possession of any persons on the water shall be deemed to have been taken from the waters of the state.
    • These regulations will replace the previous 30-day closure, imposed in 2017, and the 60-day female harvest restriction imposed in the spring of 2018, and the previously proposed restriction in spring of 2019. 
  • Removal of the sunset provision on the currently established ban on the commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs, making the ban permanent.

Regulations on commercial female blue crab harvest to remain in effect are as follows:

  • Commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs is illegal.  A commercial fisherman may possess an incidental take of immature female crabs in an amount not to exceed two percent of the total number of crabs that is possessed. Crabs in a work box, used to sort or cull undersized and/or immature female crabs, are not subject to the restriction while held aboard an active fishing vessel. (An immature female crab, also known as a “maiden” or “V-bottom” crab, can be identified as having a triangular shaped apron on her abdomen. A mature female crab can be identified as having a dome shaped apron on her abdomen.)
  • There is an exception for immature, female blue crabs held for processing as softshell crabs or being sold to a processor for the making of softshell crabs.

The recreational and commercial harvest of legal-sized male blue crabs remains open during this period.  There is no minimum size on recreationally harvested crab, commercially harvested crab have a 5-inch minimum carapace width.

For more information, please contact Peyton Cagle, Marine Fisheries Biologist DCL-B, at 337-491-2575 or via e-mail at peyton.cagle@la.gov.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards, LDWF Dedicate Lafayette Regional Office on Tuesday

Release Date: 09/03/2019

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (left) speaks during LDWF ribbon cutting ceremony. LDWF Sec. Jack Montoucet is in the background

Sept. 3, 2019 – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Jack Montoucet as LDWF christened its Lafayette Regional Office Complex on Tuesday (Sept. 3) in a ribbon cutting ceremony. The office, located at 200 Dulles Drive, was purchased in April of 2018 for $6 million to give LDWF a one-stop south central Louisiana hub in which to conduct business.
 
“This building is going to be beneficial for Lafayette Parish, the Acadiana region and the entire state,’’ Gov. Edwards said. “I’m looking forward to the great work that will happen here. We have wonderful biologists who work for LDWF and great LDWF enforcement agents. The work they do is superb.
 
“What sets this facility apart is the location in the heart of Louisiana. This is a very strategic location and it’s also a very beautiful location. It’s a place where the citizens of Louisiana can come and access the help and information they need.’’
 
The 73,000 square foot two-story facility is located on five acres of property with an additional five-acre site. It has 62,500 feet of office space and a 10,500 square foot atrium featuring Louisiana flora. LDWF occupies 31,250 square feet of office space in the facility, representing each segment of the LDWF workforce.
 
“When I first became Secretary, one of the things I noticed was that some of our facilities were outdated,’’ Montoucet said. “They needed expensive repairs that, in reality, would be no more than kicking the can down the road. We started looking around for a site in the Lafayette area to address those concerns and this location came to our attention. When we saw it we all said, ‘Wow, this is it.’ We had to have it. We couldn’t be more pleased with this facility and how it addresses our needs.’’
 
LDWF purchased the building looking toward the present and future and with an eye on convenience for LDWF customers and user groups. The building has allowed the department to combine four offices, two of which were aging, from the south central Louisiana area into one easily accessible location.
 
The building is located only minutes from Interstates 10 and 49, making it easier for the state’s outdoorswomen and men in the southwest and central portion of Louisiana to conduct business. The location also is a plus for LDWF’s Enforcement Division. It will allow LDWF agents to move equipment quickly and efficiently throughout the state, reducing response times for rescue operations.
 
The move also allowed consolidation of two LDWF Inland Fisheries’ offices and one Marine Fisheries’ office into a single location. The department was able to consolidate equipment and supplies into one office leading to expenditure savings. It also combined three Wildlife offices into the new facility.
 
The vacant area adjacent to the building will be a site for a boat storage space and a state-of-the-art lab.
 
The modern facility, along with technology upgrades, makes communications more reliable than at the previous locations.
 
“We looked into how this building could improve our staff’s working conditions,’’ Montoucet said. “How we fold several locations into one and move dozens of people and equipment into one site, have a strategic location for disaster response while actually saving money in the long run. This Lafayette site was the perfect spot and that is evident every day.’’
 
Several tenants are leasing available space in the building to help defray the cost of upkeep on the facility. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana Department of Revenue, the state Office of Technology Servies and the WHT, LLC investment company are occupying offices there with the State Fire Marshall in discussion to locate there.
 
Having USFWS and the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office onsite allows easy communication with two entities with which LDWF often collaborates.
 
The Lafayette Complex is proving to be a wise investment and major asset, for not only LDWF, but also the state of Louisiana and our citizens. This office is another effort by LDWF to find ways to provide safe, efficient and fiscally prudent resources for both the public and the LDWF staff.
 
For photos and interviews with Gov. Edwards and Secretary Montoucet, go to https://ldwf.canto.com/v/LafayetteOffice/allfiles?from_main_library&viewIndex=0
 
 

Oyster Task Force Aquaculture Committee to Meet September 4

Release Date: 09/03/2019

Oyster Task Force Aquaculture Committee

Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 10:00 A.M.

Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building

2000 Quail Drive

Baton Rouge, LA 70898

 

AGENDA

 

I. Call to Order

II. Pledge of Allegiance

III. Introductions

IV. Adopt the Agenda

V. To Discuss the Procedure for AOC On-Water Transportation- OTFAC

VI. To Discuss the Distribution of Seed and Larvae from the Grand Isle Hatchery- OTFAC

VII. To Discuss the Current LDWF Suitability Criteria for AOC Leasing Areas- OTFAC

VIII. Public Comment

IX. Set Next Meeting

X. Adjourn

 

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.  To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6800905329973806093

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.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup. For press inquiries please contact Rene LeBreton, 504-286-8745 or rlebreton@wlf.la.gov

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to rlebreton@wlf.la.gov at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

 

Vicksburg District Begins Drawdown at Eagle Lake

Release Date: 08/30/2019

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District, in collaboration and agreement with its local, state and federal partners, plans to operate the Muddy Bayou Control Structure in order to lower the elevation of Eagle Lake, located approximately 10 miles north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to 70 feet by the end of September.

The decision is based on standards established in the Eagle Lake Water Level Management Agreement, which permits the elevation of Eagle Lake to be lowered to a minimum of approximately 70 feet if deemed necessary. Lowering the lake will aid in recovery and repairs following the historic 2019 Yazoo Backwater flood.

The agreement was signed in 2000 by representatives of the Vicksburg District, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), the Warren County Board of Supervisors and the Madison Parish Police Jury.

District engineers anticipate Eagle Lake’s elevation to reach 70 feet by the end of September. Beginning in January 2020, conditions permitting, the district will operate the Muddy Bayou Control Structure to raise the lake’s elevation to 75 feet, which the agreement designates as a normal elevation for the winter. Once the lake reaches 75 feet, district engineers will use rainfall to increase the lake’s elevation to 76.9 feet throughout winter and spring.

MDWFP fisheries biologists will monitor the impacts of the water level drawdown on the fish populations and aquatic plant communities. Lower lake levels will also allow MDWFP staff to inspect the boat ramp and courtesy piers and make any necessary repairs.

Eagle Lake is closed to all boating activities until further notice.

Eagle Lake, along with the rest of the Yazoo Backwater area, experienced unprecedented, excessive rainfall and subsequent elevated water levels in early 2019. As of Aug. 27, the elevation of Eagle Lake was 79.2 feet.

The district continues to conduct regular inspections of its flood control works and to collaborate with its state, local and federal partners.

Vicksburg District Begins Drawdown at Eagle Lake

Release Date: 08/30/2019

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District, in collaboration and agreement with its local, state and federal partners, plans to operate the Muddy Bayou Control Structure in order to lower the elevation of Eagle Lake, located approximately 10 miles north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to 70 feet by the end of September.
 

The decision is based on standards established in the Eagle Lake Water Level Management Agreement, which permits the elevation of Eagle Lake to be lowered to a minimum of approximately 70 feet if deemed necessary. Lowering the lake will aid in recovery and repairs following the historic 2019 Yazoo Backwater flood.
 

The agreement was signed in 2000 by representatives of the Vicksburg District, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), the Warren County Board of Supervisors and the Madison Parish Police Jury.
 

District engineers anticipate Eagle Lake’s elevation to reach 70 feet by the end of September. Beginning in January 2020, conditions permitting, the district will operate the Muddy Bayou Control Structure to raise the lake’s elevation to 75 feet, which the agreement designates as a normal elevation for the winter. Once the lake reaches 75 feet, district engineers will use rainfall to increase the lake’s elevation to 76.9 feet throughout winter and spring.
 

MDWFP fisheries biologists will monitor the impacts of the water level drawdown on the fish populations and aquatic plant communities. Lower lake levels will also allow MDWFP staff to inspect the boat ramp and courtesy piers and make any necessary repairs.
 

Eagle Lake is closed to all boating activities until further notice.
 

Eagle Lake, along with the rest of the Yazoo Backwater area, experienced unprecedented, excessive rainfall and subsequent elevated water levels in early 2019. As of Aug. 27, the elevation of Eagle Lake was 79.2 feet.

The district continues to conduct regular inspections of its flood control works and to collaborate with its state, local and federal partners.

LDWF Offering Five Lease Fields and WMA Fields For Opening Day of Dove Hunting Season on Sept. 7

Release Date: 08/29/2019

LDWF Offering Five Lease Fields and WMA Fields For Opening Day of Dove Hunting Season on Sept. 7
LDWF Offering Five Lease Fields and WMA Fields For Opening Day of Dove Hunting Season on Sept. 7

Aug. 29, 2019 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will have available five lease fields for the opening day of dove hunting season on Sept. 7 along with several LDWF Wildlife Management Area (WMA) dove fields that will be available for the season.
 
The dove lease fields are located in Amite, Boyce, DeRidder, Lecompte and Ragley. Permits will be issued at 8 a.m. on Sept. 7 with shooting hours beginning at noon at each of the lease fields.
 
LDWF WMAs offering dove fields or dove hunting opportunities include Bayou Pierre, Bodcau, Boeuf, Clear Creek, Elbow Slough, Loggy Bayou, Pointe-aux-Chenes, Richard K. Yancey, Sandy Hollow, Sherburne and West Bay. The U.S. Forest Service, Calcasieu Ranger District, Vernon Unit in Vernon Parish will also offer dove hunting opportunities.
 
Only non-toxic shot size 6 and smaller may be used and lead shot is not allowed at either the lease fields or on the WMA dove fields.
 
Dove season opens in Louisiana’s north and south zones on Sept. 7. To find out more about the dove lease fields, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pagehunting/32519-dove-hunting/dove_lease_fields_2019.pdf . For more information on WMA dove fields, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pagehunting/32519-dove-hunting/wma_dove_fields_2019.pdf .
 
Go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/kisatchie or call the Calcasieu Ranger District Office at 318-793-9427 for more information on Vernon Unit dove hunting opportunities.
 
Go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/page/41407-regulations/1920huntingregsv4.pdf for the 2019-20 Louisiana hunting rules and regulations.
 
For more information, contact Dr. Jeff Duguay at jduguay@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2353.
 

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