Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bayou St. John is not Bayou Sauvage

The difference goes beyond location:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service usually lets nature takes its course, but Bayou Sauvage requires a hands-on approach.

That's because levees that protect New Orleans circle more than two-thirds of Bayou Sauvage, creating an impoundment, or closed-in, marsh.

A series of pumps and flap gates allows rangers to regulate water levels in the refuge. Water levels are raised and lowered to maintain the health of the habitat in Bayou Sauvage. Link

It seems that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service pays for the maintenance.

I bring this up because I attended the meeting that Robert Counce describes in this letter to the editor. Because I've developed the habit of wondering, "how could Tommy Tucker or Bob Mitchell or Norman Robinson possibly get this wrong," whenever I hear any local issue discussed, I focused on something that I don't believe anybody else paid much attention to.

Basically, what's at issue is whether to build an operable floodgate or a levee. I didn't have a notebook or tape recorder, but the gist of the ACoE representative's presentation was that once a flood control structure is built, the local flood control authority is responsible, financially responsible, for maintaining water flow and water quality. When he said something about levees at Bayou Sauvage, I began to imagine the radio talk show discussion: "Bayou Sauvage has a levee, and it has bald eagles." "We see how well Bayou Sauvage does with levees, how much harm could a levee do at Bayou St. John? With flood protection at stake, surely what works at bayou Sauvage can't hurt the water quality in bayou St. John." Obviously, the big difference is that the federal government pays to maintain the water quality at Bayou sauvage, the city and atate won't have the money for that at Bayou St. John.

One other point worth noting, Mark Shexnayder of the LSU AgCenter pointed out that the lake feeds into the bayou, which feeds into the city park lagoons.

I'd like to go into more detail, but I want to get this posted in time for tomorrow night's meeting about flood protection projects:
Good morning,
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hosting two public meetings concerning the hurricane protection system in the New Orleans area in the near future. The primary purpose of these meetings is to get input from local stakeholders on the proposed hurricane protection projects so that we can make the best decisions possible for the community.

The next meeting is scheduled for November 29, 07 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. 6249 Canal Boulevard, New Orleans LA 70124. An open house will kick off the night from 6 to 7 PM followed by a presentation on the hurricane protection alternatives being investigated for the three outfall canals. Following the presentation will be an open discussion time to discuss any concerns or questions anyone may have.

If you would like to learn more about the hurricane protection projects in the St. Charles and Jefferson East Bank area please plan on attending a meeting at the Ramada Inn on December 6, 07. The hotel is located at 110 James Drive East St. Rose, LA 70087. Corps project staff will be on hand from 6 to 7 PM (open house) to discuss the projects in an informal setting. At 7 PM there will be a presentation on the projects in the area followed by an open discussion session where we will discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Gib Owen
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Chief, Ecological Planning and Restoration Section
HPS Environmental Coordinator
New Orleans Louisiana

Tomorrow's meeting isn't about Bayou St. John, but about the canals that empty into the lake. Still, it seemed like a good reason to get around to this post.

While I'm writing about letters to local papers, Blake Pontchartrain seems to have flubbed the answer to a question in this week's Gambit.

is that the same bayou that made the gentilly,esplanade, and metairie ridge? thanks.
sauvage not saint john. sorry.
Hey man great post! I put you onto today's NO News Ladder. Please check it out and say hello. I had been looking at those Landsat photos and wondering where to put them.
editor / NO News Ladder
I think that was Metairie Bayou, or Bayou Metairie. Rick. Thanks, Bruce. I'll give it a longer look this weekend, I'm beat now.
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