LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Elmer's Island to Close at 9:00 a.m. September 4

Release Date: 09/03/2018

 

AMENDED: September 2018 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 08/29/2018

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 6, 2018, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LAThe following items will be discussed:

 

1. Call to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Roll Call

4. Adoption of August 2, 2018 Commission Meeting Minutes

5. Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

6. Enforcement Report August 2018 – Captain Edward Skena

7. Present the NASBLA’s Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to Sgt. Austin Arteaga – Major Rachel Zechenelly, Enforcement

8. Receive an Update on Required Age to Purchase Commercial Licenses – Michelle Rayburn, Director of Licensing

9. Recognize the LDWF’s Initial Chronic Wasting Disease Response Team – Jack Montoucet, Secretary

10. Receive a Presentation on the LDWF’s Chronic Wasting Disease 2018-2019 Hunting Season Surveillance Plans – Johnathan Bordelon, Wildlife Biologist

11. Receive a Presentation on the Migratory Waterfowl Status for the 2018-2019 Fall Season – Larry Reynolds, Wildlife Biologist

12. Consider Commission’s Response to Proposed Legislation in U.S. Congress Affecting Waterfowl Season and Limit Establishments; Senate Bill 2942 and HR 6013 – Larry Reynolds, Wildlife Biologist

13. Receive an Update on Feral Hog Matters – Dr. Jim LaCour, Wildlife Veterinarian

14. Receive and Consider a Resolution to Add Property through Donation to Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area – Alvin F. Landry, Attorney

15. Receive and Consider Resolutions to Add Properties through Acquisition/Donation to Joyce Wildlife Management Area – Alvin F. Landry, Attorney

16. Receive an Update on the August 2018 Gulf Council Meeting – Chris Schieble, Fisheries Biologist

17. Receive and Consider a Resolution and Notice of Intent to Modify Rules on Mature and Immature Female Blue Crab Harvest – Peyton Cagle, Fisheries Biologist

18. Receive an Update on Recreational Red Snapper Landings – Fisheries Biologist

19. Set January 2019 Commission Meeting Date

20. Receive Public Comments

21. Adjournment

 

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com.  To attend this meeting via webinar visit: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/425777474869151745

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

 

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 the contact at the top of this announcement at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date. 

Louisiana Recreational Red Snapper Landings Estimates through August 12

Release Date: 08/23/2018

The latest preliminary landings statistics for recreational red snapper recorded by LA Creel, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' near real-time landings data collection program, are 737,299 pounds, or 98 percent of Louisiana’s annual private recreational allocation of 743,000 pounds, through August 12. 
 
The recreational red snapper season was closed on Sunday, August 12, and no further recreational harvest is allowed at this time.
 
This year, state and federal seasons ran concurrently because federal fisheries managers approved LDWF’s application for an Exempted Fishing Permit to manage the private recreational snapper season in state and federal waters in 2018 and 2019. Under the EFP, participating anglers are allowed to fish red snapper in the state territorial seas and adjoining federal waters during times and seasons set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, from shore to 200 nautical miles.     
        
For more information on the 2018 recreational red snapper season and detailed landing estimates, visit: wlf.louisiana.gov/red-snapper

LDWF Schedules Drawdown for Lake Bruin in Tensas Parish

Release Date: 08/23/2018

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in conjunction with the Lake Bruin Recreation and Water Conservation District, has scheduled a drawdown for Lake Bruin in Tensas Parish to begin on September 3, 2018.
 
The department recommended the drawdown to improve fisheries habitat and provide homeowners the opportunity to conduct shoreline and property maintenance.  
 
The water level will be lowered 5 feet below pool stage, and the water control structure will close on December 15, 2018, to allow the lake to refill to normal level.
 
Previous drawdowns on Lake Bruin have proven beneficial for gamefish populations.   Exposing the lake bottom helps to reduce layers of organic “muck” that accumulate over time and typically results in increased gamefish spawning success.
 
For additional information, refer to the Lake Bruin Management Plans: Part A (lake history and management issues) and Part B (waterbody evaluation and management recommendations).
 
All homeowners are advised to take appropriate measures, as boat access into the lake will be limited.  
 
For further information regarding the drawdown, contact Ryan Daniel, LDWF Biologist Manager, at (318) 343-4044 or Steve Maynord, President of the Lake Bruin Recreation and Water Conservation District, at (601) 868-1240.

 

LDWF Cautions Boaters in South Louisiana to be Aware of West Indian Manatees

Release Date: 08/23/2018

LDWF Cautions Boaters in South Louisiana to be Aware of West Indian Manatees
LDWF Cautions Boaters in South Louisiana to be Aware of West Indian Manatees
Manatees migrate from Florida during the summer months and can be seen in Louisiana.
A sign alerting boaters to manatees in Louisiana waters.

Aug. 23, 2018 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has placed caution signs at boat launches throughout south Louisiana advising boaters to be aware of West Indian manatees. Manatee sightings have been reported throughout coastal Louisiana as these marine mammals migrate from Florida to Louisiana during summer months.
 
The caution signs are located from Cameron and Calcasieu parishes in southwest Louisiana across the state to St. Tammany, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines parishes in southeast Louisiana. Manatees have been seen in Louisiana marshes, as well as freshwater rivers and lakes in the southern part of the state.
 
The West Indian manatee is a federally threatened species. It is illegal to touch, harass, or harm them. Manatees were down-listed from endangered to threatened in 2017 because of an increase in manatee populations and the success of conservation and habitat restoration efforts.
 
“Our primary concern is manatees being injured by boat propellers,’’ said Keri Lejeune, LDWF’s Endangered Species Biologist. “Manatees are slow-moving, curious animals. If a manatee is spotted while boating, boaters should idle and disengage propellers until the animal is at a safe distance and out of harm’s way. The manatee caution signage will help alert boaters and the public that manatees can be found in Louisiana waters and provides contact information to report sightings to LDWF.’’
 
West Indian manatees do not live in Louisiana year round. They are a transient species in Louisiana and native to Florida. They periodically travel along the northern Gulf Coast from Florida during the summer months toward Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas and may spend some time during the summer in Louisiana.
 
Manatees need warm water to survive and do not thrive well in water temperatures below 68 degrees for extended periods of time. Manatees that travel to Louisiana should begin the journey back to Florida in early fall.
 
Any manatee sighting information, with pictures and video footage, if possible, should be reported to LDWF’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or to Keri Lejeune, Endangered Species Biologist, at klejeune@wlf.la.gov. Sighting information allows LDWF biologists to track waterways in Louisiana that are used by manatees and to respond promptly if a manatee is injured and for potential rescue efforts.
 
 

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Attention Duck Hunters: Transportation, Transplanting Roseau Cane Out of Southern Louisiana Prohibited By LDAF Quarantine

Release Date: 08/23/2018

Aug. 23, 2018 – Transportation of and transplanting Roseau cane out of and within southern Louisiana parishes is prohibited as the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has issued a quarantine on the Roseau Cane Scale, a small invasive insect that has destroyed wide swaths of the plant in coastal Louisiana.
 
With teal hunting season less than a month away, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) would like to advise waterfowl hunters and fishermen of the quarantine and the threat posed by the scale.
 
Waterfowl hunters and fishermen also are encouraged to observe the following:
 
·             Do not transport Roseau cane.
·             Do not tie boats up to Roseau cane.
·             Remove all Roseau cane debris from boats prior to leaving local marinas.
·             Wash and drain boats at or near marinas with soapy water.
 
These measures will limit the spread of the scale or other vectors that could be the source of the die off of Roseau cane.
 
The quarantine area encompasses all areas south of Louisiana Highway 10. That begins at the Mississippi/Louisiana state line and moves west until intersecting with U.S. Highway 171 in Vernon Parish then moving south and continuing to U.S. Highway 190 in DeRidder until reaching the Sabine River and Texas/Louisiana state line.
 
Roseau cane is a tall wetland grass that helps protect the Mississippi River’s bird foot delta and Louisiana’s coastal region. Unlike some marsh vegetation, Roseau cane stands up well to tropical storm events. It is one of the most erosion-resistant marsh plants along the Louisiana coast. The spread of the scale could have severe impacts on the health of the state’s coastal marshes as well as valuable agricultural crops throughout the state. For more information on Roseau cane, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/roseau-cane-scale-delta .
 
The scale, native from China or Japan, has been identified as Nipponaclerda biwakoensis, commonly referred to as Phragmites Scale or Roseau Cane Mealy Bug. It has had severe effects on the dominant vegetation of the Mississippi River Delta. The rate at which it seems to be expanding and the severity of its impacts is alarming, according to LDWF, LDAF and LSU AgCenter biologists.
 
For more information, contact Todd Baker at tbaker@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2814 or LDAF at 225-952-8100.
 

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Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to Temporarily Close for Alligator Harvest on Sept. 5-7

Release Date: 08/23/2018

Aug. 23, 2018 - Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge will hold its annual nuisance alligator harvest on Sept. 5 through Sept. 7. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close the refuge to the public each day until noon for the harvest.
 
After noon, the public will be allowed to enter the refuge and utilize recreational areas until official sunset each day. 
 
The delayed openings will be in effect each day or until all alligator trappers have utilized their tags for this controlled harvest.
 
The refuge spans 26 miles of coastal Louisiana in Cameron and Vermilion parishes, provides recreational fishing opportunities for shrimp, redfish, speckled trout, black drum, largemouth bass and other species. Rockefeller is one of the most biologically diverse wildlife areas in the nation and attracts over 100,000 visitors annually. The refuge provides high quality wetlands habitat for ducks, geese, shorebirds and wading birds.
 
For more information on Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, go to rwrefuge.com or contact Gabe Giffin at 337-491-2000 or ggiffin@wlf.la.gov.
 

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LDWF Schedules Drawdown on Bundick Lake

Release Date: 08/22/2018

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has scheduled a drawdown on Bundick Lake in Beauregard Parish for aquatic vegetation control, bottom sediment compaction and repair and maintenance of facilities by landowners and the parish.
 
The drawdown will begin the week of September 10, and the lake level will be lowered 7 feet below pool stage.  The control structure is scheduled to close the week of January 14, 2019, to allow water levels to return to normal. 
 
Department recommendations include a drawdown on Bundick Lake every 5 years for habitat improvement and aquatic vegetation control.
 
During the drawdown period, the department is planning to construct and deploy artificial reefs in the lake to supplement habitat in this aging reservoir. 
 
Although the lake will not be closed to fishing, we advise boaters to use caution during the low water period, as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions.
 
The current Bundick Lake Management Plans can be viewed here: Part A and Part B
 
For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Sean Kinney, LDWF Biologist Manager, at skinney@wlf.la.gov (337) 491-2575.  

 

Five Chicks Hatched This Year in LDWF’s Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project

Release Date: 08/20/2018

A whooping crane chick (left) with its parents.

Aug. 20, 2018 – Five whooping crane chicks have hatched and fledged this summer in southwest Louisiana, marking a major milestone in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries whooping crane reintroduction project. The five chicks are the most to hatch in one year in the nascent project, which launched in 2011.
 
The first chicks hatched in 2016 with one chick fledging, followed by three chicks hatching in 2017, also with a single fledgling surviving.
 
“This year was a big step forward and we’re excited and pleased,’’ said Sara Zimorski, an LDWF biologist with the whooping crane reintroduction project. “To see young birds producing their own fertile eggs and to be successful in raising a chick is a sure sign of progress. To have five chicks this year only two years after we had the first chick hatching, it’s a pretty significant jump. We hope we’ll continue to see improvement as we have more pairs that mature and start to breed.’’
 
Louisiana’s whooping crane reintroduction project began in 2011 when 10 whooping cranes from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center were released at the White Lake Wetlands Conservations Area in Vermilion Parish to develop the non-migratory flock. This marked a significant conservation milestone with the first wild whooping cranes in Louisiana since 1950. Each year since, more whooping cranes have been added to the initial flock and the current population is 66 (61 adults plus the five chicks hatched earlier this spring).
 
Support of partners including Chevron, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Audubon Nature Institute, U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Coypu Foundation, Entergy, Cameron LNG, International Crane Foundation and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation have allowed LDWF to expand its effort in Louisiana.
 
Whooping cranes are slow to mature and only lay one to two eggs during the spring. So reproduction can be a slow process. The cranes normally don’t reach sexual maturity until 3-5 years old and the cranes when introduced into Louisiana have been less than 1 year-old.
 
“A 3-year-old laying eggs or hatching a chick isn’t always successful the first time,’’ Zimorski said. “Sometimes it takes several years. This year, some pairs were successful the first go-around. That was great to see. Additionally, we had some younger members of pairs that were successful in raising these chicks. Of these pairs that successfully raised chicks two of the males were only 2 years old, which is on the young side. It’s really encouraging to see young birds starting to reproduce actually being successful.’’
 
The cranes were hatched in late April and early May. They grow fast, about an inch a day and by the time they’re three months old, they stand from 4.5 to 5 feet tall.
 
“The reason they grow so fast is so they can evade predators,’’ Zimorski said. “They’re vulnerable until they’ve fledged so the parents care for them and protect them. Typically, whooping crane chicks will remain with their parents for around 10 months.’’
 
All five chicks were hatched on private lands in southwest Louisiana, in crawfish fields. Zimorski said the cooperation of private landowners and farmers is vital to the success of the project.
 
“The birds really like this habitat and they’ll continue to use it,’’ Zimorski said. “So our ongoing partnership with these landowners and farmers is very important and we thank them for their support.’’
 
Anyone encountering a whooping crane is advised to observe the bird from a distance and to report the sighting to LDWF (http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/whooping-crane-reporting-form). Whooping cranes are large-bodied, white birds with a red head and black facial markings. Birds measure a height of five feet and have a wingspan of seven to eight feet that makes them very distinctive. In flight, whooping cranes display black wing tips, a fully extended neck and legs which extend well beyond the tail.
 
Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving whooping cranes is advised to call the LDWF’s Enforcement Division at 1-800-442-2511 or use the tip411 program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge. Citizen Observer, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender. 
 
For videos, photos, interviews and other background information, go to https://ldwf.cantoflight.com/v/WhoopingCraneChicks/landing .
 
 

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Louisiana Red Snapper Landings Estimates through August 5

Release Date: 08/17/2018

The latest catch statistics for recreational red snapper recorded by LA Creel, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' near real-time landings data collection program, are 701,774 pounds, or 94 percent of Louisiana’s annual private recreational allocation of 743,000 pounds through August 5. 

The current red snapper season was closed on Sunday, August 12. LDWF will provide a preliminary estimate of red snapper landings through the season at the end of next week.

This year, state and federal seasons ran concurrently because federal fisheries managers approved LDWF’s application for an  Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to manage the private recreational snapper season in state and federal waters in 2018 and 2019. Under the EFP, participating anglers are allowed to fish red snapper in the state territorial seas and adjoining federal waters during times and seasons set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, from shore to 200 nautical miles.    
       
For more information on the 2018 red snapper season and detailed landing estimates, visit:   wlf.louisiana.gov/red-snapper 

 

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.

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