peak up now or forever hold your peace about proposed changes that could affect your outings inside the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge in western St. Mary Parish.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex’s administrators want to initiate a user fee for its refuges and is seeking public comment through Jan. 9. Two of four “public forums” scheduled to gather input were held this past week but the other two are set for 5 p.m. Tuesday at the SELA HQ in Lacombe and at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the New Orleans Regional Library.
Administrators announced proposals to implement a $20 annual fee and $5 daily permit fees for Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge; Bayou Sauvage; Bogue Chitto; Big Branch; Bogue Chitto, and Mandalay NWRs. They said the fees would be used to “maintain and promote visitor amenities on SELA public use locations.”
What this means for Teche Area outdoorsmen who regularly fish out of Foster Bailey Fairfax Memorial Boat Landing in Franklin, just passing through the Bayou Teche NWR on their way to Bayou Sale, Quintana Canal and other areas, or around Yellow Bayou along the West Atchafalaya is unknown. Messages left Friday for the Project Leader in Lacombe and the manager of the Bayou Teche NWR weren’t answered before deadline Saturday.
If you can’t attend one of the two public forums, you can submit written comments to Project Leader, Southeast Louisiana national Wildlife Refuges Complex, 61379 Highway 434, Lacombe, LA 70445.
Area outdoorsmen, particular hunters, may want to comment on draft forest management prescriptions for 12 Wildlife Management Areas, including the popular Sherburne WMA in St. Martin, Iberville and Pointe Coupee parishes. Outdoorsmen can review them by logging onto www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma-forest-management-prescriptions.
The prescriptions provide habitat management proposals, management objectives, management concerns and how those concerns will be addressed to enhance or sustain the forest and wildlife habitat.
The other WMAs are Bayou Macon, Big Lake, Boeuf, Buckhorn, Dewey Wills, Little River, Loggy Bayou, Pomme de Terre, Richard K. Yancey, Russell Sage and Spring Bayou.
Comments on the plans must be as specific as possible and submitted before Jan. 24. They can be made in writing to Donald Locascio at LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898, or at email@example.com.
DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.