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LDWF Weekly News (September 23, 2003)
Category: General
Date: 9/23/2003
Source: LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries


On September 19, State Representative Lelon Kenney and Michael Thompson of the Bayou DeChene Reservoir Commission presented Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary James Jenkins Jr. with a check in the amount of $793,100. The money was to fulfill a mitigation requirement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to offset unavoidable wetland losses. An agreement reached between the commission and the department allowed for the restoration of department property. This was an unprecedented arrangement involving the development of state lands.

The Bayou DeChene Reservoir Commission is in the process of developing a reservoir near Columbia in north Louisiana. The project is modeled after the popular Poverty Point Reservoir near Delhi. During the planning of the project, it was determined that there would be unavoidable wetland loss. To mitigate this loss, the commission entered into an agreement with the department to help restore bottomland hardwood habitat in the state-owned Red River Wildlife Management Area in Concordia Parish. At a ratio of over five acres restored for each acre lost, 721 acres will be restored in the WMA.

LDWF is very excited about this arrangement. LDWF Program Manager Randy Myers, said "This situation is unique in that it benefits the public in two ways. They get to enjoy the new reservoir facility and we now have the capability to restore precious habitat on our WMA for their enjoyment as well. We hope that this agreement will be looked to as a model for future mitigations."


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Artificial Reef Program got a boost from Forest Oil on Thursday, September 18. Larry Fontenot, of the Denver based petroleum company that operates out of Lafayette, presented LDWF with a check of $2.5 million and ownership of an oil platform near Eugene Island. The platform, rendered inoperable by Hurricane Lili, has been scrubbed and cleaned of all hazardous materials and will now become an artificial reef. The monetary donation will go to help cover the program's costs.

Louisiana's Artificial Reef Program has enjoyed much recent success in improving the habitat for fisheries in coastal waters and the gulf. The program creates artificial reefs by submerging obsolete oil and gas platforms in gulf waters. This helps to provide valuable habitat for fishes and prime fishing areas for anglers.

The arrangement between Forest Oil and the department is beneficial to both sides. To properly dispose of an obsolete platform, a company could spend several million dollars. By donating the platform to the program, a company can save a substantial amount of money and help to provide a service to the public.

The latest addition to the program is located in the Eugene Island area, just 90 miles south of Marsh Islands. The rig will be submerged in 225 feet of water. The exact location is: Longitude 28 degrees 17 minutes 51 seconds west, latitude 91 degrees 42 minutes 57 seconds north.

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