News & Resolutions

2003 LWF Annual Report

January 1, 2004 12:00 AM

-  LWF sponsored and conducted the 39th State Conservation Achievement Recognition Program, awarding 9 individuals and organizations for outstanding conservation work.

-  The Louisiana Wildlife Federation held its 64th Annual Convention to develop policy/positions on important natural resource management and environmental protection issues.  Thirteen conservation policy resolutions were adopted at this meeting.

- The LWF engaged the state in an effort to acquire Elmer's Island, and preserve and reopen it for the traditional, compatible public uses of fishing, camping and birding that have endeared generations of beachcombers to its shores.  Elmer's Island is a barrier beachfront located across Caminada Pass from Grand Isle in Jefferson Parish.  It has been closed to the public since a member of the Elmer Family who took care of the property died, over 2 years ago.  Through LWF's efforts, funding was provided to acquire Elmer's Island in the 2003 Capital Outlay Budget, however, ownership and appraisal issues have conspired to complicate the acquisition process.  The results of a user survey and economic study released by the LSU AgCenter in late November confirmed the strong interest in acquisition and reopening Elmer's Island and the substantial economic impact associated with doing so.  A conservative assessment of the survey results indicated that the cost of staffing and maintaining the area could easily be supported by the projected user fees.  Despite the fact that buying Elmer's Island is a good business deal for the state, even at the owner's asking price, the Foster administration was unable to make the deal before the Governor's term closed.  LWF will continue its campaign, with high hopes for action from the new administration.

-  LWF's Deer Management Committee reviewed issues concerning Louisiana's white-tailed deer herd, including health and hunting issues, and through the committee's initiative, LWF raised $5,000 from deer hunters, hunting clubs and other conservationists to support the state's efforts to monitor the deer herd for chronic wasting disease.  The LWF Deer Committee acted to promote the prosecution of deer violations by directing public attention to cases being neglected by the authorities.

-  LWF continued to oppose the management of state wildlife lands, the White Lake Property that was donated to the state in July of 2002 by oil giant BP, by a private corporation with no accountability to the public or opportunity for public participation in management decisions that is rightfully and normally afforded to the public when decisions are made concerning the management and use of state conservation lands.  The Federation filed a lawsuit contesting this arrangement but was denied standing by the district court.  An appeal of the ruling has been filed.  LWF maintains its position that state wildlife lands should be managed by an appropriate agency of state government charged with that responsibility and that is accountable to the public.  LWF will continue to pursue resolution of the issue in the best interest of the state's citizens and fish and wildlife resources.

-  With continued LWF involvement and support, the state's Atchafalaya Basin Program moved forward with projects and plans to enhance recreational opportunities and improve water quality through water management.  LWF weighed in with its support for implementing the Buffalo Cove Water Management Unit, a pilot project to improve the water quality in the basin and established an ad hoc committee to coordinate LWF's involvement in the Atchafalaya Basin Program and provide additional support and guidance to the program.  The Federation also played an important supporting role in convincing national conservation/environmental organizations to view the loss of the Mississippi River Coastal Delta as a national environmental issue worthy of more emphasis in their agendas.  It successfully sponsored a resolution securing the National Wildlife Federation's support for the Coast 2050 blueprint to restore the coast.  An ad hoc LWF Louisiana Coastal Area Study Committee was appointed to review and comment on the LCA plan when it is released.

-  LWF protested the excessive use of the emergency rule-making process by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.  Emergency rule-making cuts the public out of the decision-making process and must be reserved for those circumstances when action is necessary to immediately protect a resource from damage or to take advantage of the opportunity to utilize a resource that would be reduced or unavailable at the end of the normal rule-making process.

-  LWF urged the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to ensure that the conservation of fish and wildlife and its habitat is given priority consideration when decisions are made to develop energy resources on America's public lands.

-  LWF renewed its call for the reduction of the discharges and emissions of mercury into the environment in the wake of additional advisories against consuming fish in Louisiana that are being contaminated with mercury.

-  LWF successfully supported several important pieces of legislation including: requiring phased in mandatory boating safety education, increasing the penalties for violation of the Scenic Rivers Act, securing additional funds and other support for coastal restoration, putting the slogan "Sportsman's Paradise" on the standard license plate for Louisiana pick-up trucks, clarifying and streamlining the state criminal trespass law, establishing a sensible groundwater management program that includes maintaining the advisory task force upon which LWF is represented.

-  LWF made a strong attempt to pass legislation to place the proposition on the ballot guaranteeing every Louisiana citizen the "Freedom to Hunt, Fish and Trap," but was foiled by eleventh hour maneuvering at the capitol.  LWF leaders are resolved to press the issue in the new Legislature.

-  LWF once again assisted the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in soliciting public comment on the forest management plans for certain wildlife management areas.

-  The Louisiana Wildlife Federation was represented on numerous panels, task forces and committees pertaining to natural resources conservation and the quality of the environment including the Oilfield Site Restoration Commission, Groundwater Management Advisory Task Force, Atchafalaya Basin Program Advisory Committee and additional ABP working subcommittees, Habitat Advisory Panel of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, Management Conference of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Louisiana Pesticide Advisory Commission, Louisiana Invasive Species Task Force, America's Wetland Foundation, Abandoned Crab Trap Cleanup Program Committee, Governor-elect's Transition Panel on Wildlife and Fisheries, among others.

-  LWF developed a questionnaire and published a list of questions and answers for the candidates for governor to inform the candidates and the public of the concerns of conservationists regarding the environment and wildlife resources.

-  LWF monitored legislative proposals concerning natural resources conservation and environmental quality and provided representation before the Louisiana Legislature and the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.  LWF reports on the status of legislation to its members and the outdoor media in an effort to keep the public apprized of legislation that can impact the natural resources, environment and recreational opportunities in the state, and publishes the report on its website, www.lawildlifefed.org.

-  LWF presented a backyard habitat display and educational materials at the annual Baton Rouge Earth Day celebration; exhibited at the Louisiana Sportsman's Expo, the National Hunting and Fishing Day in Baton Rouge, the "Wild Things" National Wildlife Refuge celebration in Lacombe, New Orleans City Park Fishing Rodeo, and other venues distributing National Wildlife Week posters and other conservation education material.

-  LWF participated in the development of the state's first effort to pick up abandoned crab traps in the coastal wetlands.  The first events will take place in early 2004, with the expectation of gradually covering the entire coast.

-  In coordination with an affiliate, the Baton Rouge Sportsmen's League, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation held the 35th Annual State Duck and Goose Calling Contest.

-  Local and other statewide organizations affiliated with the LWF conducted various activities such as organizing youth fishing events, hunter education classes, litter pick-ups, wood duck and bluebird nest box building and placement projects, etc.

-  Five organizations affiliated with the LWF in 2003 including the Louisiana Association of Professional Biologists, The Friends of Black Bayou, the Twin Creek Hunting Club, the Louisiana Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and the Central Louisiana Chapter of the Safari Club International.

-  LWF developed and launched its website, www.lawildlifefed.org


 
 
 
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