LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Sherburne WMA Will Now Close on June 6 Due to Opening of Morganza Spillway

Release Date: 05/31/2019

May 31, 2019 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Thursday (June 6) if the scheduled opening of the Morganza Spillway occurs as planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on June 6.
 
The original closure date of Sunday (June 2) has been pushed back due to the delay of the spillway opening.
 
Sherburne WMA will remain closed from then until further notice. The WMA will be reopened once flood water has receded, necessary repairs have been made and the area is deemed safe for public use.
 
Sherburne WMA is located in Pointe Coupee, St. Martin and Iberville parishes and within the Morganza Floodway system of the Atchafalaya Basin between the Atchafalaya River and the East Protection Guide Levee.
 
For more information, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2763 or contact Tony Vidrine, tvidrine@wlf.la.gov 337-735-8682 or Steven David, sdavid@wlf.la.gov at 337-735-8683.
 

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting to Meet June 6

Release Date: 05/31/2019

The next regular Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2019, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

 

The following agenda items will be discussed:

 

 

1. Call to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Roll Call

4. Adoption of May 2, 2019 Commission Meeting Minutes

5. Approval of June 6, 2019 Agenda

6. Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

7. Resolution to Consider and Honor the late Allan Ensminger’s Life and Meritorious Career with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries – Chad Courville, Commissioner

8. Enforcement Report, May 2019 – Major Edward Skena, Enforcement Division

9. Receive an Update on the 2019 Regular Legislative Session and Related Commission Resolutions – Cole Garrett, General Counse

10. Receive an Update on the Potential Opening of the Morganza Spillway and Consider Declaration of Emergency to Close Sherburne WMA to All Use – Tommy Tuma, Habitat Stewardship Branch Director

11. Receive an Update to the Blue Crab Stock Assessment and Consider Amendments to the 2019 Crab Season – Peyton Cagle, Crustacean Biologist

12. Receive a Report on the Louisiana’s Seafood Future (LSF) Project – Patrick Banks, Assistant Secretary

13. Set October 2019 Commission Meeting Date

14. Receive Public Comments

15. Adjournment

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com. To attend a live broadcast of the January 2019 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting, please register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4531880565133716236.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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 recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at   http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

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 in advance.

 

LDWF Schedules Drawdown for Saline Lake

Release Date: 05/30/2019

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has scheduled a drawdown of Saline Lake, in Natchitoches and Winn parishes, on June 3.  The primary purpose is to control the growth of giant salvinia during the upcoming summer months when growth potential is at its highest.  In addition, the drawdown will allow for fish habitat improvement and reduction of organic material.  

The lake should dewater at a rate of 4 inches per day until it reaches a target drawdown level of 8 feet below normal pool stage. The control gates will close on October 1, 2019, to allow the lake to refill for fall, winter and early spring recreational activities.

During the drawdown, an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 acres of water will remain in the lake.  Boaters can still access the main waterbody from the Mulligan Inn Boat Ramp with small craft, but caution is advised. Numerous additional obstructions will be present due to the lower water level.

This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and to improve access for recreational activities.  An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects similar to a natural overflow lake system.

The current LDWF Saline Lake Waterbody Management Plan can be viewed here.

For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Villis Dowden, LDWF Biologist, at vdowden@wlf.la.gov or (318) 357-3214. 

 

LDWF to Close Sherburne WMA on June 1 Due to Opening of Morganza Spillway

Release Date: 05/29/2019

May 29, 2019 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Saturday (June 1) at midnight due to the opening of the Morganza Spillway, which is scheduled to be opened Sunday (June 2).
 
Sherburne WMA will remain closed from then until further notice. The WMA will be reopened once flood water has receded, necessary repairs have been made and the area is deemed safe for public use.
 
Sherburne WMA is located in Pointe Coupee, St. Martin and Iberville parishes and in the Morganza Floodway system of the Atchafalaya Basin between the Atchafalaya River and the East Protection Guide Levee.
 
For more information, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2763 or contact Tony Vidrine, tvidrine@wlf.la.gov 337-735-8682 or Steven David, sdavid@wlf.la.gov at 337-735-8683.
 

LDWF’s Get Out and Fish! Offers Prizes for Tagged Fish During Free Fishing Weekend (June 8th and 9th)

Release Date: 05/29/2019

LDWF’s Get Out and Fish! Offers Prizes for Tagged Fish During Free Fishing Weekend (June 8th and 9th)

There’s certainly no shortage of fishing opportunities in Louisiana, particularly during the state’s annual celebration of Free Fishing Weekend. This year, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is offering a unique, incentive-based fishing experience with its Get Out and Fish! Weekend Derby.

Free fishing weekend provides an opportunity for anglers to fish without a fishing license on any of the state’s public waters. To encourage anglers to take advantage of this opportunity, any tagged catfish landed on June 8 through 9 at a Get Out & Fish! site is eligible for a prize sponsored by Berkley and Louisiana Fish Fry.

Tagged channel catfish will be stocked at 10 LDWF Get Out and Fish! ponds across Louisiana. For more information about the event including directions, reporting instructions, and derby rules, click here.

Get Out & Fish! Community Fishing sites to be stocked with tagged catfish include:

Girard Park – Lafayette

BREC’s Burbank Park – Baton Rouge

Kiroli Park - West Monroe

Turner’s Pond – Minden

William T. Polk City Park Pond – Vidalia

Purple Heart Memorial Park Pond – Ragley

Grambling City Park Pond – Grambling

Southside Regional Park – Fabacher Field – Youngsville

Elmore D. Mayfield Park – Ruston

Sidney Hutchinson Park – Walker

With the exception of free fishing weekend, anglers 16 and older must possess a Louisiana fishing license when fishing in any Louisiana public waters. Licenses are available for purchase online at https://la-web.s3licensing.com/. By purchasing a fishing license, Louisiana receives matching funds from the Sport Fish Restoration Program for public fishing and boating access, fishing programs and education and fisheries management.

This event is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF). The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fish resources.

 

LDWF to Close Sherburne WMA Shooting Range on May 31 Due to Opening of Morganza Spillway

Release Date: 05/29/2019

May 29, 2019 – The Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Shooting Range will close Friday (May 31) at sunset until further notice in anticipation of the opening of the Morganza Spillway on Sunday (June 2), the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced. This closure is needed to allow LDWF to evacuate range equipment to higher ground.
 
The range will remain closed until waters recede from the area and necessary repairs made.
 
The range is located at 1132 Sherburne Road in Lottie, three miles south of U.S. Highway 190 on Louisiana Highway 975. For more information, call 337-566-2251.
 

LDWF Urges Public to be Mindful of Displaced Wildlife During Morganza Spillway Opening Event

Release Date: 05/28/2019

May 28, 2019 – With the Morganza Spillway to be opened Sunday (June 2), wildlife species will seek higher ground and be displaced into habitat with which they may not be familiar. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) urges the public to be especially cognizant of wildlife forced into populated areas by flood water from the spillway.
 
Rising waters force wildlife from flooded habitat into adjacent residential and commercial areas where they may come into contact with residents. LDWF urges citizens to minimize contact with animals while they seek temporary refuge from their flooded home range.
 
Wild animals not posing a threat to humans should be left alone and should not be fed. Feeding wild animals will encourage those animals to remain in the vicinity of a new food source when they should be allowed to find natural habitat and food sources on their own.
 
Basic Tips:
* Avoid areas where displaced wildlife has taken refuge.
* Avoid interaction with and do not feed displaced wildlife.
* Avoid roadways near flooded areas to reduce likelihood of disturbance and collisions with wildlife.
 
 
Species of Concern:
 
 
Black Bears:  The Louisiana black bear is a species of concern during a flood incident, when high water moves bears out of their habitat within the Morganza Spillway. For assistance with black bears that may be forced into populated areas by flood waters, call 1-337-262-2080.
 
Alligators, Snakes: Flood waters will carry reptiles into populated areas where they may not normally be noted in significant numbers. Following the impact of flood waters, exercise extreme caution when salvaging possessions from flooded areas. Wildlife, especially reptiles, may remain in flooded areas and pose a safety threat.
 
Venomous snake species in Louisiana include the canebrake rattlesnake, the copperhead, the cottonmouth, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the harlequin coral snake, the pygmy rattlesnake and the Texas coral snake. For more information on snake species found in Louisiana, including frequently asked questions, visit LDWF's website at this link: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/resource/snakes-louisiana.
 
Deer, Feral Hogs: Deer and feral hog populations within the Morganza Spillway represent the two large quadruped species that may appear in populated areas in significant numbers as flood waters move wild animals out of natural habitat. As is the case with all wild animals, how these species will react to humans in close contact situations is unpredictable. LDWF recommends allowing these species, when sighted individually or in groups, to move unimpeded through flooded areas as they seek higher ground.
 
For more information on displaced wildlife, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/nuisance-wildlife.
 
 

Inclement Weather Stalls Bussey Brake WMA Renovation Project

Release Date: 05/23/2019

Inclement Weather Stalls Bussey Brake WMA Renovation Project

Mother Nature has again delayed the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ renovation efforts on the Bussey Brake Wildlife Management Area.

Heavy rainfall and area flooding have prevented contractors from beginning scheduled work on several projects including construction of new fishing piers and boat dock, a wave break at the boat launch and updates to the pumping station.

Bayou Bartholomew, where the pumping station is located, has now reached two of its top five historic crests in the past month alone. As soon as conditions allow, the remaining scheduled work will resume including electrical work to accommodate the new pump.   The new custom pump and motor have been ordered and will be installed after its delivery and assembly, which may take up to four months.

In the interim, the department has continued to stock the lake with fish, and will continue to do so to ensure an abundant and balanced fishery for the newly renovated reservoir.   

For more information, contact Ryan Daniel, Biologist Manager at rdaniel@wlf.la.gov or (318) 343-4044.

LDWF Office of Management & Finance Earns State Excellence Award

Release Date: 05/23/2019

from left, Gordon Paine, President, Louisiana Quality Foundation, Jack Montoucet, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildl

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Office of Management and Finance was honored with the 2019 Louisiana Performance Excellence Award (Level 1) at the state Louisiana Quality Foundation Award presentation.

It is the first time a state government agency has received the LPEA.

At the event, held May 21 at the Governor’s Mansion, the Louisiana Quality Foundation presented their awards geared toward performance excellence in leadership.

The LPEA (Level 1) is given for demonstrating achievement of award benchmarks that align with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria, an internationally recognized standard for performance excellence initiated in 1987. Applicants were required to submit an Organizational Profile or a written plan for review by a panel of LPEA examiners and judges.

“This recognition is the validation of a staff that is committed to a plan to develop and implement a new vision, and install core values that are focused on the customer and continual improvement striving for performance excellence,” said Bryan McClinton, LDWF Undersecretary for Management & Finance.

LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said, “The award fits into Gov. John Bel Edwards’ push that each state department operate like a business and that it cares for its customers as well as its employees. This is a signature honor for Undersecretary McClinton, his staff and our department.”

The LPEA has three levels of achievement. Montoucet and McClinton said the staff will be working toward earning recognition at the next two levels. “Our success will mean that our staff is fulfilling the needs of our agency and the citizens of Louisiana,” McClinton said.
 

 

Greater Amberjack Commercial Season Reopens June 1, Closes June 9 at 12:01 a.m.

Release Date: 05/22/2019

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the 2019 commercial fishing season for greater amberjack in Louisiana State waters will close on Sunday, June 9, at 12:01 a.m. after a brief re-opening on June 1st.  The commercial season is currently closed through May 31st due to a seasonal closure that is from March 1st through May 31st of each year.
 
Current landings projections from NOAA Fisheries indicate that the 2019 Gulf of Mexico commercial quota (337,503 pounds) will be harvested by June 9th, which necessitated a closure.

 
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that federal waters would also remain closed to commercial amberjack fishing until the season reopens on January 1, 2020. 

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.

 

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