The Lake Pontchartrain Basin is one of the most ecologically and economically important oligohaline systems in the United States.Due to its characteristic east-west salinity gradient, it harbors a distinctive and ever changing fish community.Much of the culture and economy of the southeastern Louisiana is based on the aquatic resources of the basin.Although most people in the region are generally concerned about the health and abundance of the sportfishes (i.e. redfish and speckled trout) in the basin, relatively few are concerned or even aware of the non-game (i.e. Blackbanded Darter or Sailfin molly) and exotic (Rio Grande Cichlid and Common Carp) species that occur throughout the basin.
In 1974, Douglas published the Freshwater Fishes of Louisiana, the most comprehensive treatise on Louisiana fishes.Unfortunately, this publication has long been out of date and is not readily available to most Louisianans.Other educational fish posters are available; however, they depict only marine fishes or only freshwater fishes.Prior to this project, no pamphlet or other educational-outreach material existed specifically for the fishes of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. This project was funded by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
Recent generations of sportsman, outdoorsman, and environmentalists are likely not aware of the immense freshwater, estuarine, and marine biodiversity in the Lake Pontchartrain basin.The production of organismal-based educational material has been immensely popular for other agencies (e.g., Sea Grant Programs) interested in outreach and education.
Overall, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin is healthier than it was 20 years ago. Redfish and speckled trout populations are increasing, and formerly uncommon species of fishes, are returning to the basin.It seems timely that updated educational material on fishes of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin be made available to the people of south Louisiana.The objective of this project was to produce an educational poster depicting the fishes in the basin, inclusive of non-game, sport, and exotic fishes.Distributed through Turtle Cove, these posters are now available to educational and environmental groups during various workshops and environmental events held at Turtle Cove, along with beingavailable to other interested groups throughout Louisiana and the Gulf region.
The images used in the production of this poster were illustrated by Joe Tomelleri (pictured right),one of the premier fish illustrators in the world.His illustrations have appeared in more than 500 publications, including many magazines, advertisements, newspapers, greeting cards, clothing, signage, identification guides, websites, and most recently, in two fish books: Fishes of Alabama (Boschung& Mayden 2004) and the Trout and Salmon of North America (Behnke et al. 2002).
Thirty fish illustrations are represented on this poster including non-game fishes, sportfishes, endangered fishes, and exotics fishes that occur in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin.Not only does the poster include images of fishes that occur in Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, but it also includes lesser-known fishes that occur in the Tangipahoa, Amite, Tickfaw, and Blind Rivers.