The Basics of Aquatic Toxicology and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, much funding and research effort has been dedicated to determining the effects of the spill to the area’s natural environments.

LSU AgCenter researchers Dr. Christopher Green (fish physiologist) and Dr. John Nyman (wetland wildlife ecologist) will discuss oil spill toxicology, surfactants, and other relevant topics at an upcoming meeting. The meeting will be held at the Terrebonne Parish Main Library (151 Library Drive, Houma) on Thursday, March 26, beginning at 6:00 PM. This meeting is free and open to the public and all interested persons are invited to attend.

Here is the flyer for the meeting and brochures concerning aquatic toxicology and surfactants:

Posted in Coastal Issues, Environment, Gulf Oil Spill | Leave a comment

Crawfish and oil

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: March 16, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Crawfish and oil

Crawfish and oil … no, not the ingredients to a fresh new seafood recipe, but rather, the topics of two upcoming meetings that may be of interest to area farmers and other residents.

We’re about midway into this year’s crawfish season. And with nearly four million pounds of farm raised crawfish produced annually from the tri-parish area of Assumption, Lafourche, and Terrebonne, there is always interest in maximizing the efficiency of current operations and also expanding and starting new ones. To that end, the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant produce, bi-annually, a workshop for area crawfish producers and others interested in crawfish production techniques and technologies.

Producing Crawfish 2015 will be held Tuesday, March 24 at the LSU AgCenter building located at 115 Texas Street in Raceland. This educational workshop for crawfish producers will begin at 6:00 PM and is open to all persons interested in crawfish farming. Topics to be covered will include: crawfish production & management practices, water quality & aerations systems, forages & forage management, and crawfish biology. This meeting is also a great opportunity for crawfish producers and others to network and exchange ideas. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Now for the oily part of this article. Following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, much money and research effort has been dedicated to determining the effects of the spill to the area’s natural environments. LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant researchers will be conducting a public outreach meeting for local residents to discuss oil spill toxicology, surfactants, and other relevant topics. This meeting will be held at the Houma Main Library (151 Library Drive) on Thursday, March 26, beginning at 6:00 PM. This meeting is also free and open to the public.

For more information about these programs, including flyers and agendas for the meetings, just go to bayoulog.com.

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Aquaculture, Coastal Currents, Crawfish, Environment, Gulf Oil Spill | Leave a comment

Producing Crawfish 2015

Crawfish farmers and others interested in crawfish aquaculture are invited to attend an educational program to be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

Beginning at 6:00 PM, LSU crawfish production experts will discuss crawfish production & management practices, forages & forage management, and water quality & aeration systems.

This meeting, provided by the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant, is free and open to the public and will be held at the LSU AgCenter building located at 115 Texas Street (corner of Texas Street and Bowie Road) in Raceland, Louisiana.

Posted in Aquaculture, Crawfish | Leave a comment

Louisiana Fisheries Forward 2015 — A summit for the Louisiana commercial fishing and seafood industry

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: February 18, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Louisiana Fisheries Forward 2015 — A summit for the Louisiana commercial fishing and seafood industry

Louisiana Fisheries Forward 2015, the third annual summit for Louisiana commercial fishermen and the seafood industry will held at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center on Wednesday, March 11. Once again, hundreds of commercial fishermen, seafood dealers, processors and others from across the state will congregate in Houma to participate in the Gulf South’s premier commercial fishing and seafood industry event.

LFF_logo

Last year’s event was well received with hundreds of people from across the Gulf Coast attending. So once again, due to popular demand, we’ve increased the capacity to be able to accommodate even more attendees this year!

Louisiana Fisheries Forward 2015 will provide participants the opportunity to learn about the latest updates, techniques, and programs concerning commercial fishing and seafood production. All this condensed into one full day of workshop talks, live demonstrations, and a full featured trade show.

lff-summit-2015_flyer

The talks will feature expert speakers from around the Gulf discussing topics including: upcoming LDWF programs, gear and bycatch information, how to handle violations, oyster fishery weights & measures, insuring against disaster, crab professionalism program, an update on black spot and additives research … and more.

Hands-on demonstrations will include: USCG safety/helicopter rescue, refrigeration repairs & maintenance, oyster fishery weights & measures, TED checking, the new wing trawling system … and more.

Held concurrent to the workshop and demonstrations, the trade show will feature organizations and vendors displaying various products and services of interest to those involved in commercial fishing and the seafood industry.

Special for this year will be a live, on-site demonstration by a U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter team. Also, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne will provide an update on progress being made by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board in getting the word out about our great Louisiana wild caught seafood products.

Also new this year will be a “Fishermen’s Input Session” which will provide attendees the opportunity to interact with the program and provide live, anonymous information and opinions concerning fisheries and seafood issues.

la-fisheries-summit-2015_agenda

In addition to the seminar, trade show, and dock day programs, this event will afford a great opportunity for those involved in the various fisheries and seafood industry sectors to be able to network with one another, make new business contacts, and expand horizons … All with a vision and purpose of increasing business efficiencies and profitability.

Produced by Louisiana Sea Grant, the LSU AgCenter, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Fisheries Forward 2015 is an educational and networking opportunity tailored for and targeted towards individuals involved in Louisiana’s commercial fishing and seafood industry.

Advanced registration, though not required, is encouraged and can be completed by going to LouisianaFisheries.com or clicking on the images above. The latest flyer and more information concerning the event can also be found there. There is no charge to participate and a lunch will be provided complements of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. Space and resources may be limited though, so anyone interested in attending this event is encouraged to register early. Inquiries concerning more information and questions about the summit should be directed to summit@lsu.edu.

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Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Fisheries, Seafood, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2015 BTNEP tidal graph calendars are available now

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: January 21, 2015
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

2015 BTNEP tidal graph calendars are available now

The theme of the 2015 Tidal Graph Calendar produced by and available now from the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) is estuary issues. Each year BTNEP produces a Louisiana-flavored, full-color calendar that highlights the estuary’s unique ecology and history and additionally depicts, graphically, the daily tides for coastal Louisiana.

BTNEP_calendar_2015

This year’s beautifully illustrated calendar showcases major issues and concerns facing the Barataria and Terrebonne estuarine systems. Each month features a new issue, such as the BTNEP volunteer program, a discussion of the issue, how to obtain more information, and a call to action concerning the issue. Issues covered, by month, are:

JanuaryBTNEP volunteer program. How can you help the coast?
FebruaryPipeline sediment delivery. How can we rebuild Louisiana’s disappearing coast in our lifetime?
MarchBayou Lafourche cleanup. What can you do to clean up the estuary?
AprilPaddle Bayou Lafourche. What is BTNEP doing to promote Bayou Lafourche as a natural resource?
MayFeral hogs. What could be worse than nutria?
JuneBTNEP native plant materials program. What is BTNEP doing to promote and protect native species and their habitats?
JulyFrom H-2-O teacher training workshop and bayouside classroom water quality program. What are BTNEP and LUMCON doing to educate teachers and students about water quality?
AugustWetshop. What is BTNEP doing to educate teachers about wetlands?
SeptemberBTNEP coastal shoreline bird surveys. What is BTNEP doing to protect shorelines?
OctoberThe BTNEP bird calendar series. What is BTNEP doing to promote Eco-Tourism?
NovemberFourchon maritime ridge planting and research project. How is BTNEP restoring habitat?
DecemberRighteous Fur and Marsh Dog. What more can we do about nutria?

A different fish is featured each month and, of course, the tidal information for each day is shown in the form of a graph illustrating the high tide, low tide, and points in between. This is could be essential information if you’re going fishing or at least very useful if just visiting various points around the coast.

Copies of the calendar can be obtained by contacting BTNEP at 985-447-0868 or stopping by their office located at 320 Audubon Drive (105 N Babington Hall, Nicholls State University campus) in Thibodaux. It is also available for download from their calendars site at: www.btnep.org/BTNEP/resources/downloads/calendars.aspx.

About the BTNEP … “Established in 1991, the mission of the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Program (BTNEP) is the preservation and restoration of the Barataria-Terrebonne estuarine system, the 4.2 million acre region between the Atchafalaya and Mississippi River basins. The BTNEP strives to rebuild and protect the estuary for future generations through the implementation of a science-based, consensus-driven plan that utilizes partnerships focused on the estuary’s rich cultural, economic and natural resources.”

For more information about the BTNEP you can go to their website at www.btnep.org/BTNEP or “Like” them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BTNEP. Also, if you are interested in learning how to support the BTNEP and provide assistance in the work it is doing to help save the Barataria and Terrebonne basins, just go to the BTNEP Foundation’s website: supportbtnep.org.

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Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Coastal Issues, Environment | Leave a comment

Public areas provide outdoor opportunities

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: October 29, 2014
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Public areas provide outdoor opportunities

Most states have outdoor areas set aside for public use. Louisiana is no exception with over fifty Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), five Kisatchie National Forest units, more than twenty national wildlife refuges, and a half dozen or so state wildlife refuges located throughout the state. Collectively, that adds up to millions of acres of outdoor areas available for public use statewide, and that’s not even including the sixty plus public lakes and other water bodies. These public outdoor recreation sites have been set aside to preserve land and water areas for outdoor recreational use and as habitat for our native plant and animal species.

Managed primarily to provide public hunting and fishing access, WMAs are also open to non-consumptive activities such as hiking, boating, canoeing, bird watching, and sightseeing. Louisiana’s WMAs are managed by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Access is open to the public, but permits are required. Information concerning our WMAs can be obtained by going to the WMAs website at wlf.la.gov/wma. Included at the site you will find downloadable maps, area descriptions, and links to hunting and fishing regulations specific to the areas.

The Kisatchie National Forest system consists of more than six hundred thousand acres spread across seven Louisiana parishes. It is divided into five units termed Ranger Districts. The website is located at www.fs.usda.gov/kisatchie and contains a wealth of information concerning this forest system. Downloadable maps, brochures, and forms are also available there. When visiting one of the units you may want to stop by the local Ranger District office to obtain large maps, brochures, and other helpful information from the friendly staff.

Information concerning Louisiana’s national wildlife refuges can be obtained by going to www.fws.gov/refuges and clicking on the state. This will bring up a Louisiana map depicting the names and locations of our national wildlife refuges. Click on any of these and you will be taken to the refuge’s site where you will find information including an overview of the area, recreation and education opportunities, and management activities.

Louisiana’s state wildlife refuges are managed by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Information concerning these can be found at wlf.louisiana.gov/refuges.

To learn more about the state’s sixty plus public lakes and water bodies just go to wlf.louisiana.gov/public-areas/water-bodies and find out what lake, creek, bayou, river, or reservoir may be available in your area.

Louisiana’s public lands and waters are a tremendous resource for people who want to enjoy outdoor activities but are limited in their access to private areas. I personally have visited many of these and have utilized them for hunting, fishing, hiking, and canoeing. They’re great places to just “get away from it all” for a while and I encourage you to check them out.

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Hunting, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Hunting season is here

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: October 1, 2014
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Hunting season is here

Well, it’s that time of the year again. As we enter the fall season and begin experiencing the cooler weather, many of us start thinking about outdoor activities such as football and … hunting. That’s right. September marks the beginning of Louisiana’s 2014-2015 hunting season. To help in planning your days afield, I’ve put together the following summary of this year’s upcoming hunting seasons.

Migratory game birds

This year’s hunting season began on Sept 6 with the opening of the first split for doves. This split ran through Sept 14 in the South Zone and Sept 28 in the North Zone. Dove season continues as follows, South: Oct 11 – Dec 3 & Dec 20 – Jan 15; North: Oct 11 – Nov 9 & Dec 10 – Jan 15. The bag limit for doves is 15.

Teal, rail, and gallinule hunting began on Sept 13th and continued through the 28th (rail and gallinule have a second split from Nov 15 – Jan 7); bag limits are: teal – 6, king & clapper rails – 15, sora & virginia rails – 25, and gallinules – 15.

The taking of ducks, coots, and mergansers begins on Nov 15 in the Coastal and West Zones and continues through various splits in the West, East, and Coastal Zones. Various goose seasons begin with a Nov 8 opening in the East Zone. Also, there are special seasons for youth waterfowl hunting and for falconry hunting. Consult the migratory game birds hunting seasons brochure for details.

Woodcock season runs from Dec 18 through Jan 31 with a bag limit of 3.

The snipe season in the Coastal Zone is Nov 1 – Dec 7 & Dec 20 – Feb 27. West Zone snipe season is Nov 8 – Dec 14 & Dec 20 – Feb 27. East Zone snipe season is Nov 8 – Dec 7 & Dec 13 – Feb 27. The bag limit is 8.

Rabbit, squirrel, and quail

Rabbit and squirrel hunting begins on Oct 4 and continues through Feb 28. The spring season is May 2-24. Note that some areas are closed for the spring season; check the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details. The bag limit for rabbits and squirrels is 8 (3 squirrels in the spring).

Quail season runs from Nov 15 through Feb 28 with a bag limit of 10 birds.

Deer

Assumption, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes are in Area 9. Deer hunting here starts with the archery season: Oct 1-15 (bucks only) and Oct 16 – Feb 15 (either-sex). The primitive firearms season has three splits: Nov 8-14 & Jan 26-31 (bucks only) and Jan 19-25 (either-sex). Modern firearms still hunting (no dogs allowed) begins on Nov 15 and continues through Dec 5 (bucks only) and Nov 28–30 (either-sex). Deer hunting with or without dogs is allowed from Dec 6 through Jan 18 (bucks only) and Dec 13-14, Dec 27-28, & Jan 10-11 (either-sex).

There are some Area 9 “High Water Benchmark Closure” areas in portions of Iberia, Iberville, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parishes; consult the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details.

Deer daily bag limits are 1 antlered and 1 antlerless (when legal); the season limit is 6 and includes 3 antlered or 4 antlerless deer. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and other public lands seasons and regulations vary, consult the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details.

The Youth and Honorably Discharged Veterans Season (on private land) in Area 9 is Oct 25-31.

There is also a special Physically Challenged Season (on private land) on Oct 4-5. This season is restricted to hunters with Physically Challenged Hunter Permits.

Other hunting seasons

The season for crows is Sept 1 – Jan 1 with no limit. Nutria may be taken on WMAs and private property from Sept 1 – Feb 28 with a daily limit of 5 and on Atchafalaya Delta, Salvador/Timken, Pointe Aux Chenes, and Pass a Loutre WMAs from Sept 1 – Mar 31.

Raccoons and opossums have no closed season; there are restrictions for night hunting, etc. There is an experimental year round season for bobcats. See the regulations pamphlet for details on these. Pheasant is open concurrently with the quail season; no limit.

Turkey seasons open in Areas A (Mar 28 – Apr 26), B (Mar 28 – Apr 19), and C (Mar 28 – Apr 12) on private lands only. Consult the separate WMA and Federal Lands Schedules for season dates on those areas.

Coyotes, armadillos, and feral hogs are considered “outlaw quadrupeds” and may be taken year round during legal daylight shooting hours on private property. In general, on most WMAs and other public lands, outlaw quadrupeds may be taken during open hunting seasons with whatever weapon is legal for that particular season (check the regs for the areas for specifics). On private property, landowners and/or their designated agents may take nutria, beaver, and outlaw quadrupeds at night from the last night of February through the last day of August. Special actions such as notifying the sheriff and LDWF enforcement are required for the night hunting, so be sure to read the regulations carefully.

A hunter’s pledge

To ensure the future of the sport of hunting, try to adhere to the following principles of conduct each time you go afield:

– Respect the environment and wildlife.
– Respect property and landowners.
– Show consideration for non-hunters.
– Hunt safely.
– Know and obey the law.
– Support wildlife and habitat conservation.
– Pass on an ethical hunting tradition.
– Strive to improve my outdoor skills and understanding of wildlife.
– Hunt only with ethical hunters.

“By following these principles of conduct each time I go afield, I will give my best to the sport, the public, the environment and myself. The responsibility to hunt ethically is mine; the future of hunting depends on me.” (Louisiana Hunting Regulations 2014-2015)

Finally, be sure to consult and study the Louisiana Hunting Regulations 2014-2015 pamphlet before going hunting. It is available at most places that sell hunting gear and can also be viewed/downloaded online at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ hunting regulations website (wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations). There are many rules and regulations associated with hunting and you will want to make sure you are completely legal before heading out.

Good luck afield and happy hunting!

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Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 oramatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Environment, Hunting, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Cool season wildlife food plots

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: September 3, 2014
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Cool season wildlife food plots

Fall is just around the corner … thank goodness! And if you’re a hunter or wildlife lover, this season may also bring thoughts of the upcoming cold fronts, cool weather, and days afield, and … how to enhance the experience.

By increasing concentrations of wildlife on natural areas through food plot plantings, the likelihood of encountering them are greatly increased. Also, by providing nutritious supplemental food plantings, the health and quality of wildlife can be enhanced.

So … what to plant and when? Here are some cool season, fall, food plot planting recommendations from Dr. Don Reed, the LSU AgCenter’s Wildlife Specialist.


Austrian Winter Peas
Sept. 1 – Nov. 1

Austrian winter peas, a cool season forage, rival warm season plantings of soybeans and cowpeas in their attractiveness to white-tailed deer. Inoculated seed should be drill planted at 40 pounds per acre or broadcast at 40 to 60 pounds per acre. These plantings are better adapted to heavy clay soils with moderate to heavy fertility. Fertilize at 250 pounds per acre with 0-14-14 and maintain a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

Crimson Clover
Sept. 1 – Nov. 15

Crimson Clover is one of eight or more clovers that can be planted for deer in Louisiana to provide a high protein source in the winter. Clovers are generally planted in a mix with other cool season annuals. Clovers are rather expensively priced per pound, but this cost can usually be justified when one looks at the small amount of seed required to cover an area. Clovers are one of the items land managers can save money on by mixing chosen species themselves rather than buying premixed bags. In planting any variety, take care to maintain pH at recommended levels. Most clovers are very site specific. The big advantage of Crimson Clover is its high tolerance to acidic soils. With any species of clover chosen for planting, reseeding can be enhanced by disking or mowing in the fall after initial establishment. After soil disturbance, apply 0-20-20 fertilizer at the rate of 300 pounds per acre and maintain soil pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Seed should be inoculated and drill planted at 15 pounds per acre or broadcast at 20 pounds per acre.

Subterranean Clover
Sept. 1 – Oct. 15

Subterranean Clover is a cool season annual legume that can tolerate shade quite well, making it an ideal choice for plantings on narrow logging roads and small loading decks in thinned timber stands. Fertilize at the rate of 200 pounds per acre of 0-20-20 and maintain soil pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Inoculated seed should be drill planted at the rate of 8 pounds per acre or broadcast at 15 pounds per acre.

White or Ladino Clover
Sept. 1 – Nov. 15

White Clover or Ladino Clover is another popular cool season annual legume that provides excellent high protein deer forage. Plantings can be established by seeding as little as 4 pounds per acre when drill planting and 5 to 6 pounds per acre when broadcast planting. Fertilize with 400 pounds per acre of 0-20-20 and maintain soil pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Ladino Clover varieties include Osceola, Tillman, Regal, Louisiana S1 and California.

Elbon Rye
Sept. 1- Nov. 15

Elbon rye is a small grain annual plant that is similar to wheat and heavily used by deer in its early growth stages. It is very cold tolerant and can survive fairly frigid conditions later in the year although as it matures it loses a portion of its protein levels. Plantings established in the fall begin to die back the following summer. Elbon rye should be drilled or broadcast at the rate of 80 pounds per acre with 200 pounds per acre of a balanced fertilizer blend such as 13-13-13 applied at planting. Soil pH should be maintained between 5.6 and 6.5. Elbon rye makes its best growth on well-drained, light-textured soils.

Oats
Sept. 1 – Nov. 1

Oats are a cool season annual grain that has the disadvantage of being less cold tolerant than rye or wheat. Established plantings are browsed heavily by deer in their early growth stages. Seed should be drilled or broadcast at 80 pounds per acre, and 200 pounds per acre of 13-13-13 should be applied at planting. Top dressing with a blend of ammonia nitrate fertilizer such as 34-0-0 in January or February is recommended to give added growth later in the year. Maintain soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

Ryegrass
Sept. 1 – Nov. 1

Ryegrass is able to grow under such a wide range of soil and light conditions that it is one of the most common plantings to establish for white-tailed deer either planted alone or more often as part of a mix. It is a cool season annual grass, but repeated stands can be achieved by allowing plantings from the previous year to mature and go to seed. Disking such areas the following fall will almost always show some ryegrass returning. Seed can be drilled or broadcast at the rate of 20 pounds per acre. Fertilize at planting with 250 pounds per acre of 13-13-13 followed by top dressing with 150 pounds per acre of 34-0-0. Ryegrass grows best in soils maintained at a pH of 6.0.

Wheat
Sept. 1 – Nov. 1

Wheat is a cool season annual small grain that is widely used by deer in the early stages of growth. It, along with ryegrass, is a staple food plot item that represents some of the most used food plot ingredients for white-tailed deer. Establish plantings by broadcasting seed at the rate of 80 pounds per acre. Fertilize at planting with 200 pounds per acre of 13-13-13 and top dress later in the year with 150 to 200 pounds per acre of 34-0-0. Soil pH should be maintained between 5.5 and 6.5.

Soil tests of the area should be performed before planting and it is recommended that all seed be lightly covered with soil after planting to encourage increased germination success.

Much more information concerning planting and managing food plots for wildlife is available on the LSU AgCenter’s website at LSUAgCenter.com. Just search for “food plots” and see what you can find. Also, recommended specific publications that you should find helpful and are available on the site include: “Food Plot Plantings for White-tailed Deer in Louisiana”, “Concepts of Soil Fertility for Hunter Food Plots”, and “Crops for Wildlife Plantings Recommendations, Establishment & Management”.

Finally, if you use social media and are interested in staying up-to-date on wildlife issues, you may want to consider joining our “Louisiana Wildlife” Facebook group. We post occasional articles and links about wildlife here. It’s also a good place to get questions answered and to join in discussions.

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 Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

Posted in Coastal Currents, Environment, Hunting, Wildlife | Leave a comment

When thunder roars, go indoors!

Column Article for: Cajun Sportsman
Submitted: June 10, 2014
Alan Matherne, Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach Specialist
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

When thunder roars, go indoors!

Whether you’re out in a boat, near a bayou, at the beach, or just hanging around the backyard … when those summer thunderstorms come drifting along, it’s important to pay attention and to stay safe.

Nearly 1,800 thunderstorms are going on at any given time somewhere around the world. That adds up to over 16 million a year! All thunderstorms generate lightning. And with that, each year, just in the U.S., about 400 people are struck by lightning. As a result of those incidents, an average of over 60 people are actually killed by lightning annually and many others are seriously injured, many being left with permanent disabilities.

A flash of lightning can contain over a billion volts of electricity. This charged bolt of lightning is really hot, over 50,000 degrees F, more than five times hotter than the sun’s surface! The super-heated air surrounding a lightning bolt expands and contracts so rapidly that it creates the sound waves we hear as thunder.

Some danger signs to look for that indicate a potential lightning-filled thunderstorm is approaching include dark, towering or threatening clouds, increasing wind, and distant lightning and thunder.

As a thunderstorm approaches prepare to stay safe by:

– Going inside a building or vehicle and closing the windows.
– Staying away from water, plumbing, and anything connected to power, phone, and cable lines.
– Staying low if you can’t find shelter; away from tall trees and open areas.
– Squatting down in a low place with your hands over your ears; not lying down.
– Staying away from water and metal or anything else that conducts electricity.
– If in a boat, heading ashore, avoiding the thunderstorm if possible. (Boats unable to seek safety ashore should be properly grounded.)

Here are a few “Myth Busters” concerning lightning compiled by NOAA and Sea Grant.

MYTH: If it is not raining, then there is no danger from lightning.
FACT: Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.

MYTH: The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect you from being struck by lightning.
FACT: Rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. The steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.

MYTH: People struck by lightning carry an electrical charge and should not be touched.
FACT: Victims of a lightning strike carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately. Apply first aid procedures if you are qualified to do so. Call 911 or send for help immediately.

MYTH: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
FACT: Lightning will strike several times in the same place in the course of one discharge.

Remember … when thunder roars, go indoors! The safest place to go is inside large enclosed buildings. Picnic shelters, sheds, and other smaller shelters don’t provide adequate protection from lightning strikes. If there are no enclosed buildings around, the second best places to go are enclosed metal vehicles such cars, trucks, and vans — but not convertibles, soft-tops, and bikes. After the storm has passed, you should wait at least 30 minutes following the last thunder crack before going back out into the open.

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Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach Specialist for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He is also Project Leader for the Louisiana Fisheries Summit and can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

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Cook healthy with delicious and nutritious seafood

News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: July 9, 2014
Alan Matherne, Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach Specialist
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter

Cook healthy with delicious and nutritious seafood

Seafood is highly nutritious and very beneficial health wise. Most seafood is low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; high in protein; low in calories (a 3-1/2 ounce serving of white-fleshed fish typically has less than 100 calories); and low in sodium. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals and, as a bonus, it’s quick and easy to prepare. Consequently, because fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, the American Heart Association and others recommend eating two 3-1/2 ounce servings of fish a week.

Note that because some fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish can contain mercury, consumption of those fish should be limited for most of us and avoided by some such as pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, and children under the age of 12. Other than that note of caution, seafood products should be considered safe, healthy, delicious, and nutritious sources of high-quality protein.

Don’t overcook your seafood. Fish cooks quickly and should be cooked only until the flesh turns opaque and flakes easily with a fork. If you overcook seafood it will toughen up and lose a lot of its natural flavors. A good rule of thumb to follow when preparing fish is to cook it about 10 minutes per inch of flesh, measured from the thickest part. (Conventional cooking only, not microwaving.)

Seafood can be cooked using a variety of methods besides traditional frying. Why not try poaching, steaming, baking, broiling, sautéing, or microwaving your next fish or shellfish meal? It’s healthier than frying and can be much more flavorful.

Poaching is really easy. Simply bring a seasoned liquid (water, milk, wine, etc.) to a boil then simmer it for about 10 minutes. Next add your fish, cover, and simmer until done.

Steaming is surprisingly simple. It’s especially easy if you happen to have one of those specially designed steaming pots. If not, don’t despair … just use a rack of some sort to suspend the seafood a couple of inches above the boiling water. Cover and steam until done.

For broiling, place your fish on a broiling pan and brush it with a sauce of melted margarine and/or olive oil combined with lemon juice and herbs and spices. Broil 4 or 5 inches from the heat source, without turning, until done.

Sautéing. In a frying pan, heat a little margarine and/or olive oil with a liquid such as water or white wine. Add some chopped mushrooms, green onions, lemon juice, and your favorite seafood. Sauté this mixture over medium high heat until it’s done.

An excellent method of cooking seafood is by microwaving. Just put the fish or shellfish in a microwave-safe dish, add seasonings, and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Cook for about 3 minutes per pound or follow the manufacturer’s directions. It doesn’t get any easier than that, and clean-up’s a cinch!

Herbs and spices can be used in place of salt and can be combined to produce flavorful seafood dishes with a creative flair. If you are not familiar with using herbs and spices, here’s a simple way to get started. Just combine ¼ teaspoon of 1 or 2 herbs and/or spices per pound of seafood. Some common herbs and spices that work well with seafood are: allspice, sweet basil, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, celery seed/leaves, chervil, curry powder, dill seed/weed, fennel seed, garlic powder, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, saffron, tarragon, and thyme.

Other seasonings like garlic, lemon, and wine can be combined with the herbs and spices with interesting results. Some good combinations are basil, marjoram, and oregano; garlic powder and lemon; or parsley and tarragon.

Be bold and creative and see what happens. Spice up your life with seafood! In today’s health conscious society we’re eating foods that are lower in calories, sodium, and fat; and consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, skim milk products, and low fat protein sources. Seafood fits right in and complements these new health trends. A wide variety of seafood products are available which provide an excellent high protein source that is great for low calorie, low fat cooking.

Here are a few additional facts concerning the healthy aspects of eating seafood from the LSU AgCenter’s publication “Health Benefits of Seafood”:

– A 3 ounce serving of seafood provides 50-60% of an adult’s daily protein needs.
– All seafood is relatively low in fat.
– Most seafood is low in cholesterol except for shrimp, squid and fish roe.
– Seafood also provides the diet with iron, iodine, zinc, niacin, B-complex vitamins and phosphorous.
– Fatty species of fish provide generous amounts of vitamins A and D.
– Fish with bones, like canned salmon and sardines, are good sources of bone-building calcium.
– An average 3-ounce serving of fish cooked without fat has about 85 calories making it a low calorie food.
– Try not to add extra calories by frying or using cream or cheese-based sauces with seafood.

For more information concerning the nutritional benefits of seafood go to LSUAgCenter.com and search for “Health Benefits of Seafood” and download the publication of that name.

Remember, the American Heart Association and others say that seafood is a healthy and nutritious “heart food”. Now, go cook-up and enjoy some healthy and delicious seafood … it’ll do you and your heart a lot of good.

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Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach Specialist for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or amatherne@agcenter.lsu.edu. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.

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