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|Yancey disappointed over wildlife office closure|
Richard Yancey said Wednesday he was disappointed to learn that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) will close its Region 4 office in Ferriday next month.
"It has served a very useful purpose in coordinating efforts of everyone in the district," he said.
A native of Ferriday, Yancey grew up working at the sawmill and picking cotton. He joined LDWF in 1949 and initiated work statewide in the waterfowl management program.
Yancey, now 84 and a resident of Baton Rouge, was the first district supervisor in Ferriday and opened the first Region 4 office on First Street in 1954. He said 18 months later the office was moved to Hwy. 84 (E.E. Wallace Blvd.) next to the Dairy Queen.
"We rented our first office space for $50," he said, "in an old gas station. There were very few people working then (for LDWF) and when it was decided to open eight regional offices our budget statewide was $4 million."
Yancey said the present office on Lake Concordia was opened in 1960.
"There was a lot going on when we first opened the office," he said. "We transported 4,000 deer out of Madison and Tensas parishes and scattered them all over the state. We worked to buy lands now in wildlife management areas in Concordia Parish -- Three Rivers and Red River."
Yancey said that in the 1950s bottomland hardwoods were being cleared at a rate of 110,000 acres per year when the soybean boom began.
"We decided that if were going to have any of that land for wildlife that we needed to start buying some of it and that's what we did," said Yancey. "These big tracts of wildlife land remaining today are a result of those land acquisitions."
He recalled "a big battle over Catahoula Lake to keep it as a migratory waterfowl site. We wanted to keep it from being flooded out and from being made a permanent body of water."
LDWF won the battle, he said.
Yancey said the lake is "probably the single most important waterfowl area in North America. It goes almost dry during the summer and produces a huge growth of duck food plants and when it floods it makes that food available in the winter."
The Ferriday regional office, said Yancey, was instrumental "in getting a lot of these things done. From the beginning it gave all of us a meeting place in the district where we could decide what programs we would push and implement."
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