LDWF News Release

Flooding Prompts Changes to L.D.W.F. Water Management Plan for Catahoula Lake

Release Date: 07/06/2011

July 6, 2011-- The historic flooding along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers has prompted a change in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) water-level management at Catahoula Lake. LDWF’s altered plan for 2011 includes drawing the lake down a month later than usual.

Traditionally, Catahoula Lake was de-watered during the months of June and July to promote germination and growth of vegetation that provides food for migrating and wintering waterfowl.  The drawdown currently underway will continue into August.  The intent of the later drawdown is to inhibit germination of encroaching woody species without negatively impacting waterfowl food production.  The lake will still be re-flooded prior to opening the East Zone duck season in mid-November.

“Last year, LDWF initiated a 10-year management and research plan that includes varying water-level management from traditional dates in an attempt to reduce woody encroachment and maintain or improve waterfowl food production”, said Larry Reynolds, LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader.  “We had intended to draw the lake down earlier this year, but that was impossible due to very high water levels in local river systems.”

Along with varying water-levels, the experimental management plan includes collecting vegetation data from permanent monitoring plots, evaluating the effect of LDWF’s woody control activities including herbicide spraying, mowing, and clearing, and scientific studies on woody-encroachment on the lakebed.  The research studies are being accomplished in cooperation with researchers from LSU’s School of Renewable Natural Resources.  Additionally, further investigation of lead poisoning and lead-shot availability on the lakebed will be undertaken.  The goal is to use knowledge gained from these studies to better manage and maintain this valuable habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wetland birds.

The initial management plan was introduced last August to a gathering of approximately 40 local hunters, landowners, and people with a keen interest in Catahoula Lake management.  LDWF will conduct two public meetings in August to present a more comprehensive plan and participate in public discussions regarding anticipated changes in the management of the lake.  Meeting dates and locations will be announced in advance on the LDWF website and through public notice in local newspapers.

One change in the management plan this year provides for the opportunity to cut hay on the lakebed, if conditions allow.  LDWF staff is currently preparing maps and a bid prospectus to allow individuals to bid to cut and remove hay from selected areas at Catahoula Lake.  It is anticipated that haying will help inhibit growth of encroaching woody species, and cutting will be timed to minimize impacts on waterfowl food production.  The bid announcement is expected later this month.

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.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.


For more information, contact Larry Reynolds at lreynolds@wlf.la.gov  or 225-765-0456.

No Drawdown Schedule for Lake D'Arbonne

Release Date: 07/06/2011


July 6, 2011 – Despite plans for spillway repairs, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries does not plan to conduct a drawdown on Lake D’Arbonne in Union Parish in 2011.

“A coffer dam will be constructed around the work area of the spillway, eliminating the need for a lake drawdown,” said Noel James, President of the Lake D’Arbonne Commission. 

Regularly scheduled drawdowns on the lake occur every five years, with the next drawdown scheduled to begin the day after Labor Day in 2012.

The public will be notified immediately, should any unforeseen project complications arise and a drawdown becomes necessary. 

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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.


For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-5113.


Agents Still Seeking Leads into Bald Eagle Killings in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 07/01/2011


Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement special agents continue to seek information regarding the killing of two federally protected bald eagles.

Agents believe both eagles were killed on or about Dec. 7, 2010 on the East Bank area of Plaquemines Parish.

A deputy from Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office discovered the first illegally killed bald eagle along the Mississippi River levee near the town of Phoenix located in Plaquemines Parish.  LDWF Senior Agent Brett Nabors responded to the scene and initiated an investigation.

During the investigation LDWF agents found a second dead bald eagle.  Agents believe that both eagles were killed in the same area using the same method.  Both bald eagles were delivered to the USFWS and have been forensically tested for cause of death.

The bald eagle is protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party is eligible for significant cash rewards up to $3,500.

Anyone with information may call Special Agent Stephen Clark at the USFWS office in Lacombe at 985-882-3756 or the LDWF Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-442-2511.

For more information, contact Capt. Steve McManus at the LDWF Region 8 Enforcement Office at 504-284-2024 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.

L.D.W.F. Reopening Wildlife Management Areas as Flood Waters Recede

Release Date: 07/01/2011

July 1, 2011 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has re-opened fully, or in part, four wildlife management areas (WMA) closed in May due to spring floodwater impacts.
Effective today, July 01, 2011:

  • All areas of Attakapas WMA (Iberia/St. Martin/St. Mary parishes) and Three Rivers WMA (Concordia Parish) are open.

  • All areas of Grassy Lake WMA (Avoyelles Parish), except Cas Cas Road, are open and the Bayou Des Sot bridge has been repaired.

  • That portion of Sherburne WMA known as the “South Farm” has reopened to ATV and walk-in traffic. The remainder of the WMA is closed until further notice, including the public shooting range. The South Farm area, within Iberville Parish, is accessible via the East Levee Guide Road from I-10 or US 190.

For more information, contact Johnathan Bordelon at jbordelon@wlf.la.gov or 337-948-0255.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting July Agenda

Release Date: 06/30/2011



June 30, 2011 - The next regular Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, July 7, 2011, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

     1.     Roll Call

     2.     Approval of Minutes of June 2, 2011

     3.     Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

     4.     To hear presentation on Oil Spill Early Restoration Projects

     5.     Discussion of Artificial Reef Fund

     6.     Legislative Update

     7.     To hear presentation on Louisiana Boating Officer of the Year

     8.     To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/June

     9.     To consider Waterfowl Zones and Splits Framework

   10.     To consider Early Season Migratory Bird Regulations

   11.     To consider Notice of Intent on 2012 Turkey Hunting Areas, Seasons and Bag Limits

   12.     To consider Notice of Intent on 2012 Turkey General and WMA Hunting Regulations

   13.     To consider Declaration of Emergency on Deer Season in Atchafalaya Basin Area

   14.     To consider a Notice of Intent on the Calcasieu Lake Oyster Harvester Permit

   15.     Set November 2011 Meeting Date

   16.     Receive Public Comments

   17.     Adjournment

Palo Alto Rod and Gun Club and Three Donaldsonville Men Assessed $34,810 in Fines for Migratory Game Bird Violations

Release Date: 06/29/2011


The Palo Alto Rod and Gun Club and three Donaldsonville men pled guilty to Migratory Bird Treaty Act violations on June 24 in Federal Middle District Court in Baton Rouge.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Riedlinger ordered the Palo Alto Rod and Gun Club and the three men to pay a total of $34,810 in fines and assessments for the violations.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited the Palo Alto Rod and Gun Club located near Donaldsonville in September of 2007 for baiting a dove field to attract mourning doves for paid hunts.  Agents also cited Robert Lemann Sr., 62, Robert Lemann Jr., 38, and Kenneth Gomez, 62, and Wayne Gomez, 60, for baiting a dove field.

The Palo Alto Rod and Gun Club was ordered to pay a $25,300 fine and $350 in assessments.  The club was also placed on probation for two years in which they will not be allowed to provide any paid dove hunts.  Lemann Sr. represented the Palo Alto Rod and Gun Club and accepted their penalties.

Lemann Jr. was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and $70 in assessments.  Kenneth Gomez was fined $3,000 plus $70 in assessments.  Wayne Gomez was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $20 in assessments.  All three men were also placed on one year of probation with the stipulation that they cannot provide any paid dove hunts.

LDWF Agents began investigating the Palo Alto Rod and Gun Club in August of 2007 after receiving a public complaint.  Agents setup surveillance on the club and observed dove fields that were baited with wheat seeds in an effort to attract mourning doves.

All four men are either employed or connected to the Palo Alto Rod and Gun Club.

Agents participating in the case were Lt. Dennis Bueche, Sgt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Randy Lanoux, Sgt. Todd Lewis, Senior Agent Chad Menzina and Senior Agent Hal Bridges.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents also assisted in the case.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Agents Issue 10 DWI's During Operation Dry Water Weekend

Release Date: 06/27/2011


In support of Operation Dry Water, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) arrested 10 boaters statewide for driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) from Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26.

In the northern part of the state agents arrested Michael Smith, 34, of Jonesville, on Bushley Bayou in Catahoula Parish on June 25; Eric Bates Jr., 22, of Bernice, on Corney Lake in Claiborne Parish on June 24; and Bryon Breedlove, 26, of Shreveport, on the Red River in Bossier Parish on June 26.

Agents arrested Lyle Laussade III, 22, of Ponchatoula, on the Tickfaw River on June 25; David Goodale, 43, of Walker, on the Tickfaw River on June 25; Brian Hernandez, 49, of Baton Rouge, on the Amite River/Diversion Canal on June 25; and Chad Panepinto, 27, of Hammond, on the Tickfaw River on June 26 in the eastern part of the state.

In the southern part of the state agents arrested Kevin Davis, 54, of Texas, on the Belle River in St. Martin Parish on June 25; Lance LeBlanc, 23, of Bourg, on the Intracoastal Canal in Terrebonne Parish; and Dwight Landry, 56, of Breaux Bridge, in Henderson Bay in St. Martin Parish on June 25.

"We take DWI enforcement on the water very serious since the leading cause of boating fatalities is alcohol," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "We want everybody on the water to have a good time, but to keep in mind that they need a designated driver just like on land."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 32 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2009.  Alcohol was again the leading primary cause of those boating fatal incidents leading to 24 percent of the fatalities.  Nationwide, statistics from 2009 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

LDWF agents issued 216 DWI citations to boat operators in 2009.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving LDWF, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Sets 2011 Season for Gag Grouper

Release Date: 06/27/2011

June 27, 2011 – Today the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the 2011 season for the recreational harvest of gag grouper.  The season is set to begin on September 16, and will remain open until November 15, in both state and federal waters. 

The bag limit for gag grouper in Louisiana state waters is up to five gag grouper within a five grouper aggregate bag limit at a minimum size limit of 22 inches total length.  Federal regulations allow only two gag grouper within a four grouper aggregate bag limit with a minimum size of 22 inches total length.

The recreational gag grouper season is set based on rules issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service as recommended by the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council. 

Captain and crew of vessels operating as charter vessels have a bag limit of zero.  For further information on gag grouper regulations please visit http://www.gulfcouncil.org/fishing_regulations/index.php

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.

For more information contact Jason Adriance at jadriance@wlf.la.gov or (504)284-2032.  For press inquiries contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363.

LDWF To Hold Summer Camp For Kids 12 to 16 Years Old

Release Date: 06/27/2011


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is sponsoring a summer camp from July 18-22, 2011 for children 12 to 16 years old at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge.

The camp is completely free of charge and will allow participants to receive their official boater and hunter education certifications.  LDWF will also offer a fish identification class, fishing and canoeing in the ponds at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, skeet shooting, and other outdoor related classes and activities.

"We want to teach children, before they finish middle and high school, the fun and excitement of spending time outdoors,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “For a week, parents have the chance to let their kids become sportsmen and women in a safe, supervised environment.  Not only will they get valuable boater and hunter education certificates, but they will have the chance to get excited about spending less time with computers and video games, and more time enjoying the truly exciting activities Louisiana’s great outdoors has to offer.”

The Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are providing a daily lunch free of charge for the five-day summer camp.  Cabela's in Gonzales also donated a rod and reel combo set that each child will receive to fish with while at the camp and take home.

In addition to LDWF's instructor's, the Louisiana branch of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) will also have personnel on site and will give each student a CCA membership upon completion of the camp.

The camp is open to the first 20 children that register.  To register, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.  The camp is only open to children who do not have a boater or hunter education certificate.

Parents who register their children, may drop them off at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center located at 4142 North Flannery Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70814 between 7 and 8 a.m., and then pick their kids up between 4 and 5 p.m. each day.  Attendance every day of the week is mandatory in order to receive the boating and hunting education certifications.

Anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.

The hunter education course is mandatory for anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, who plans on purchasing a hunting license.  The hunter education curriculum includes sections on ethics and responsibility, wildlife management, firearms and ammunition, safety in the field, wildlife identification and wildlife conservation.  The major objectives of the hunter education programs are to reduce the number of hunting accidents, improve the image of hunting through ethical and responsible conduct and promote the shooting sports.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Shrimp Season to Close Saturday in Portion of Zone 2

Release Date: 06/22/2011

Shrimp Season Closure - Portion of Zone 2


June 22, 2011 – Today the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced the 2011 spring inshore shrimp season in a portion of Shrimp Management Zone 2 will close at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 25. 

This shrimp season closure includes state inside waters from the western shore of Bayou Lafourche westward to the eastern shore of the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island as delineated by the Channel Red Buoy line, with the exception of the following waters north of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line:

•             Those inshore waters south of 29 degrees 13 minutes 00 seconds north latitude from 90 degrees 18 minutes 00 seconds west longitude westward to 90 degrees 34 minutes 00 seconds west longitude

•             Those inshore waters south of 29 degrees 06 minutes 00 seconds north latitude from 90 degrees 34 minutes 00 seconds west longitude westward to 90 degrees 46 minutes 00 seconds west longitude.

Data collected in recent weeks by LDWF biologists indicates increased quantity, distribution and percentage of small juvenile white shrimp within this portion of Zone 2.  The decision to close this area was made in an effort to protect these developing shrimp.

Shrimp Management Zones 1 and 3, as well as all state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside shrimp line, will remain open to shrimp harvesting until further notice with the exception of those areas still closed to recreational and commercial fishing due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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.

For more information on this contact Marty Bourgeois at mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or (225)765-2401.  For press inquiries please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363.

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