MERMENTAU RIVER WATERSHED COALITION

STAKEHOLDER UPDATE

Congressional Letters of Support: ME-03 & CS-06

Just this morning, Coby Sammis with Congressman Clay Higgins’ office provided us with the Congressional Letters of Support for the Rockefeller Freshwater project which will assist in reducing the Lower Mermentau water levels (known by the CWPPRA project number ME-03).  This is the project that Scooter Trosclair described for us all on February 19 in Jennings.  While reading, notice that flood risk reduction for upstream residents is not addressed as a potential benefit.  Public dollars both state and federal are strictly targeted for very specific purposes and CWPPRA does not include residential flood risk as part of it’s mission.  Admittedly, the potential reduction in residential flood risk is minimal, but this project is important as a starting point, even if only ceremonial.  It remains to be seen how much effect this letter, and ultimately this project, can have, but the action speaks volumes.  See letter in support of ME-03 below.  Below is the letter supporting CS-06.  Admittedly, i do not know much about this project, but it appears to describe marsh creation and regeneration.  We include it here as another example of the tactics which must be taken to “shepherd” improvement projects through these programs.  Thanks to Coby and Congressman

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Updates: Upcoming LWI Council on Watershed Management Meeting; Congressional Support for Scooter’s Project

Next week, the LWI will be holding a Council on Watershed Management meeting in Baton Rouge.  The meeting will take place on Thursday, August 8th from 1:30 to 3:00 pm at The Louisiana State Capital Building (900 North 3rd St., Baton Rouge, LA) in House Committee Room 5.  I urge anyone with time and interest to attend.  Ms Carolyn Lesieur with the LWI has offered the following general agenda (I will upload the formal agenda once it is available): Watershed Regional Boundaries Steering Committee Composition Capacity Building Grant Program All of these topics have been heavily discussed amongst our group and I am eager to see if the LWI provides any guidance for us to move forward.  Our leader, Mr John Marceaux, has asked that I inform you all that we plan to call a stakeholder meeting soon after this LWI Council meeting to discuss the topics and our path forward.  Standby for more information.  Congressional Support Today, I received a message from a Field Representative of US Congressman Clay Higgins’, Coby Sammis.  As we have previously updated, Scooter Trosclair’s proposed project to promote freshwater flow across LA 82 into Rockefeller Refuge has been under funding consideration with the CWPPRA Program for years now. 

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History, Hydrology, and The Knots of Commerce

As we have continued our tour of the Mermentau Watershed, there are common themes which have arisen.  The communities of Lake Arthur and Grand Chenier, LA are perhaps the most vulnerable in the lower watershed region, as their geographic locations place them directly in, or hydraulically connected to, the lower Mermentau Basin (which includes White Lake and Grand Lake).  There is a belief, right or wrong, that the US Army Corps of Engineer’s operation of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway (GIWW) has raised the flood threat to the Lower Mermentau Basin, and Lake Arthur in particular.  Upstream stakeholders in places such as Acadia & Evangeline Parish, and specifically Church Point have voiced support of providing relief in the Lower Mermentau, as they understand that once downstream relief is provided, those improvements can continue upstream. Everyone we have visited with agrees that relief must start downstream.  While adding upsatream capacity must also be part of any flood relief solution, In this update we will briefly discuss history of the lower Basin and potential improvements.   Lower Basin Historic Hydrology As the locals there know, and others such as myself have come to learn, the current infrastructure surrounding the Lower Mermentau Basin have cutoff

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May 20th LWI Meeting – Abbeville, LA

The LWI will be in Abbeville on May 20th to continue their outreach with Cameron and Vermilion Parishes.  The meeting is at 1pm and will take place at the LSU Ag Center Building at 1105 West Port St, Abbeville, LA.  See the agenda below.  Most of you have seen these topics before.  However this will be our first meeting in the Coastal Parishes and i urge you to attend and take part. 

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4/30 and 5/3 LWI Meeting Updates

Good Morning All, Last week, LWI officials met with Stakeholders in Jeff Davis/Acadia Parishes and Allen/Evangeline Parishes.  These update meetings were held in Jennings and Ville Platte, respectively.  This was the first time that the LWI had published to the public a draft of the Provisional Regional Geographic Boundaries.   See draft boundaries below: Be reminded, these are only DRAFT boundaries at this point and are not final.  That said, as you see, the Mermentau River Watershed is in Region 4 with the Calcasieu/Sabine Watersheds.  We should all consider very strongly the implications from this draft boundary.  Many of the attendees at the Jennings LWI meeting expressed that the Mermentau should have its own boundary.  Is this possible?  The LWI representatives were noncommittal.  In Ville Platte, the consensus seemed to lean towards inclusion in Region 5 (Teche/Vermilion Watersheds).  Most of the attendees of that meeting were residents of Evangeline Parish, which lies in the Acadiana Planning Commission’s (APC) region.  Additionally, given that APC has stated their intent to place gauges in the Mermentau, it could stand to reason that the Mermentau River Watershed Coalition (MRWC) should request inclusion in Region 5.  That is one position for consideration.  Another could be that, given

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MEETING REMINDER

This is just a reminder about the LWI meetings this week with Mermentau River Watershed Coalition stakeholders. The meeting with Jeff Davis/Acadia Parishes will be tomorrow, Tuesday, April 30th at 2:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Sidney Briscoe Building located at 304 North State St. Jennings, LA 70546. The meeting with Allen/Evangeline Parishes will be Friday, May 3rd at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will be held at the Evangeline Parish Courthouse located at 200 Court St. #104 Ville Platte, LA 70586

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REVISED DATE!!! May 3rd LWI Meeting Agenda – Ville PLatte, LA

The LWI meeting with Allen/Evangeline Parishes has been changed to Friday, May 3rd.  See agenda below.  The meeting will be at the same time and location – Evangeline Parish Courthouse, 200 Court St #104, Ville Platte, LA from 10:00am to 11:30am.  The Jeff Davis/Acadia Parish Meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 30th at 304 N State St, Jennings, LA from 2:00pm to 3:30pm. 

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April 30 LWI Meeting Agenda – Jennings, LA

Today we received the agenda for the April 30th meeting in Jennings, LA with LWI officials.  See below.  I do not have the agenda for the Allen/Evangeline meeting in Ville Platte but will share if i receive it. 

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Upcoming LWI Meetings

I was contacted recently by Carolyn Lesieur with the Louisiana Watershed Initiative (LWI).  The LWI has scheduled an outreach meeting with Evangeline and Allen Parishes for Tuesday, April 30th from 10:00 – 11:30 am in Ville Platte, LA (Evangeline Parish Courthouse, 200 Court St #104, Ville Platte, LA 70586).  I will be in attendance.  Additionally, the LWI proposes a meeting with Jefferson Davis and Acadia Parishes at 2pm on Tuesday, April 30th in Jennings, LA (Jefferson Davis Parish Police Jury, 304 N State St).  I hope you all can attend.   I do not know the formal agenda of these meetings. I attended the 3/28 LWI Council Meeting in Baton Rouge.  There were presentations from staff to the board members; and a presentation from Dewberry regarding the Amite River Modelling efforts.  There is no news, however, on the anticipated delivery of the Federal Registry which will provide the details on the use of the federal funds.  Hopefully, we will all receive an update on those topics on 4/30.  I look forward to seeing you all there. 

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