UPDATE from Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation: “LPBF led the Lake Pontchartrain cleanup effort on February 13, 2016. Volunteers from LPBF and locals worked with LDWF personnel to collect 554 traps during the event, and LDWF and LPBF staff continued to collect an additional 832 traps during the closure for a grand total of 1,386 traps removed. It is estimated that a derelict crab trap kills approximately 26 crabs per year, and so this program has saved many thousands of crabs and other organisms that get caught in traps. Frequently the traps that were pulled had live or dead crabs or fish.”
Volunteers with and without boats are needed!
As part of their on-going mission to keep Lake Pontchartrain clean and safe for the community, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking for volunteers to participate in a large scale operation to remove derelict crab traps from locations around the lake and local marsh.
There will be a special volunteer day on Saturday, February 13 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. The drop-off sites will also be open through the entire week of February 13-21. Volunteers must register online or on-site. There are a few ways you can help.
On February 13, personnel will be at each of the disposal sites to give instructions and distribute supplies, as well as assist in unloading the traps. The main disposal site will be at Pelican Pointe Marina on Highway 90 across from Fort Pike. There will be two additional sites— the Big Branch Marsh Wildlife Reserve at the end of Lake Road on Bayou Lacombe and the Seabrook Boat Launch beneath the Senator Ted Hickey Bridge.
Volunteers will be needed to work the disposal sites and to collect the traps so if you don’t have a boat, you can still help. If you have a boat and want to help collect abandoned traps, a boat can be launched on site or elsewhere, but traps will need to be brought to one of the 3 sites. Volunteers should dress in preparation for water and mud.
The online registration form for February 13 can be found here: http://lpbf.wufoo.com/forms/derelict-crab-trap-registration/.
More information about the program and maps of the cleanup are can be found here: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/derelict-crab-trap-removal or contact Patrick Smith at Patrick @ saveourlake.org.
Any volunteers who collect traps when there are no LDWF personnel present should leave them in provided dumpsters at the site, then contact LDWF biologist Jeff Marx at 337-373-0032 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Leave a message detailing names, organization represented (if any) , date, and number of traps.
Organizations promoting this event: Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, CCA Louisiana, Louisiana Crab Task Force, Boat Stuf Discount Marine Supplies, NOAA Debris Program and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.