Marsh restoration progress outlined

February 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

Army Corps of Engineers offers update on wetlands rebuilding
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

The Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday discussed coastal restoration projects in Southwest Louisiana during a town-hall session.

Col. Alvin Lee talked about the most-recently completed project, a pipeline that stretches from the Calcasieu Ship Channel into the Sabine Wildlife Refuge.

Lee said material dredged from the channel is pumped to the refuge to recreate lost wetlands.

“We build (the land) up to about 3 feet above sea level, and when that settles, it becomes marsh and vegetation can start to grow.

There are four areas in the refuge that the corps plans to build up.

Those who attended the meeting included people who live close to the affected waterways and those who don’t but are still concerned.

Edna Wegener said she wanted to hear how to strike a balance between industry and nature.

“I know that we have the oil industry and we need that, but we know that the pipelines and channels have been the cause of so much damage to the wetlands,” she said.

In similar meetings taking place in other coastal communities throughout the week, Lee said, a recurring theme is money.

“That’s why we have to do feasibility studies for every project. We have to show that the project will work,” he said.

“I can see from the public there is a lot of attention to coastal restoration. They understand that the coast is a vital part of culture and their way of life.”

The idea of a series of town hall meetings was developed about a year ago, Lee said.

“We recognized we had a lot of individual efforts going on in the area, and we hadn’t communicated those to the public.

“So we decided we wanted to put together this series of presentations and give the public a status report of what we have ongoing and what is being planned for the future.”

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