The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is taking steps to reduce overall agency expense within the current fiscal year and long term.
"We are working to curtail expenditures in conjunction with our recommendations submitted to the Streamlining Commission and through internal budget reductions in areas where cost savings can be implemented while protecting services to our customers," said Robert Barham, LDWF secretary.
Included in the agency's recommendations to the Commission on Streamlining Government, LDWF will move personnel and services to the department's Lacombe hatchery facility to serve constituents on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in 2010. The move will house division employees including marine, inland and wildlife biologists who support the agency's habitat management efforts. With this reform LDWF will save an estimated $8,400 annually in utilities and maintenance costs expended previously at other facilities.
Additional independent moves by LDWF to streamline resources include the closure of the District 4 Ferriday office this month. That office had been in operation since 1960 and was in need of major repair. The agency projects an annual savings of $34,000 in utilities and maintenance costs. Area constituents needing LDWF services will be able to access agency personnel at the Monroe and Pineville regional offices.
In a resource savings move, LDWF will return 47 agency vehicles to the Louisiana Property Assistance Agency to reduce the overall size of the department's fleet. The collection of automobiles, vans and light-duty trucks will reduce annual agency expenses by an estimated $188,000. Department personnel who previously utilized the vehicles will have the option of using their personal vehicles while conducting state business and then obtaining mileage re-imbursement or, with prior authorization, renting a vehicle for extended trips on state business.
Within LDWF's Public Information Office, the final issue of Louisiana Conservationist will be printed this spring as the agency focuses on alternative information sources as options for constituents seeking outdoor news. The elimination of the publication's staff, printing costs and postage will save the department $220,000 annually.
LDWF will continue to distribute news and information through annual publications including the agency's hunting and fishing regulations booklets, special seasonal announcements, press releases and on-line video information pieces. The department Web site will continue to serve as the agency's 24-hour information source at www.wlf.la.gov.