The Wild Side: Dick Yancey deserves this honor

Thursday’s Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting has a full agenda headlined by final public comment on the 2013-2015 resident-game hunting seasons and consideration of opening days of the spring inshore shrimp season for our three shrimp zones.

High on that list,too, is an item calling for the LWFC to discuss a resolution to rename two major east-central wildlife management areas, Three Rivers and Red River.

Former Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and managers are supporting a move to name these thousands acres for Richard Yancey.

Don’t know him?

Yancey passed away this month. He retired from the LDWF long before most current outdoors communicators in our state began plying their trades.

That was 40 years ago, but his efforts to restore game populations in every corner of Louisiana, his work with deer and other resident game, and his insistence that we take every opportunity to improve waterfowl habitat is enough to make firm resolve to honor this very dedicated man in this way.

There’s more, much more.

Yancey’s remarkable ability to convince the powers that were to use the LDWF’s Conservation Fund to purchase lands from willing sellers laid the foundation for the near 1.5 million acres of public outdoors recreation we call the wildlife management area program we have today.

Pioneers like him deserve such recognition: The only other WMA so named is the Dewey Wills WMA, and Wills and Yancey were cut from the same cloth.

It’s especially good that support for the move came from men and women who know what Dick Yancey meant to the LDWF, to the state, to Louisiana’s outdoorsmen during his LDWF days and years after, to push for the name change.

Born and raised in Ferriday, Yancey knew the quality of the habitat in the near 70,000 acres in the southern reaches of Concordia Parish. He knew that during the late 1960s and early 1970s lands along the Mississippi River and the upper reaches of the Atchafalaya were being cleared by the section for soybeans.

Saving these thousands of acres from the plow showed his commitment to Louisiana’s wildlife resources.

The resolution will urge the State Legislature to approve the Richard K. Yancey WMA. It’s a very small way to honor a man who gave more to us than we could have given him in return.

Down the list

Now that we’ve passed the third-year anniversary of the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, did you read the Advocate report about the disappearance of insects from marshes affected by the spill?

Sure, we’d call it blessed to spend time without mosquitoes and gnats. But do we really?

There’s more than enough evidence from other much smaller environmental disasters to know that removing any layer of fauna or fauna from any habitat has a domino effect on that habitat. We’ll see, won’t we?