Game and Fish Commission seeks continuous revenue stream to maintain 3 local lakes

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Times Staff
The Northwest Louisiana Game and Fish Preserve Commission, created nearly a century ago, plans on having a bill introduced in the upcoming session of the Louisiana Legislature to enable them to create a continuous revenue stream.
A notice of intent to introduce bill SLS 22RS-73 was published in the Natchitoches Times and Coushatta Citizen newspapers recently.

This article published in the Jan. 27, 2022, print edition

The exact wording of the notice says the bill would be relative “…to the creation of a local political subdivision for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining, or operating works of public improvement located in and around Black, Clear, and Prairie Lakes…”
Legal counsel for the Commission, Steve Crews, said there are a number of things that need to be done but there’s simply no revenue. He hopes the legislation will allow the Commission to establish a taxing district or a millage of some form to help with funding.
The Commission has a number of things needing to be done on the lakes. One, high on their priority list, is the construction of a boat ramp on the east side of Prairie Lake.
The Commission was established by Legislative Act in 1926 without any recurring funding mechanism. It was created to oversee the recreational opportunities and to act as a liaison between the public and the State as to all matters concerning Black, Clear and Prairie Lakes in Natchitoches and Red River parishes.
It is under the supervision of the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries.
There are no employees and members do not receive per diem, salaries and/or travel expense reimbursements. The Commission receives no funds from any entity of state government.
Governed by a seven-member board, the Commission used to operate on funding derived from two water customers and fees from duck blind permits. One water customer was Placid Oil and the other was the paper mill in Campti. Placid no longer operates a plant in what was called the Black Lake Field and International Paper in Campti built their own water treatment plant and gets their water from the Red River.
That leaves only the duck blind permit fees as income.
“Duck blinds generate approximately $1,000 on a good year. We usually do not assess a fee during a drawdown year,” Crews said.