Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Bayou Vermilion is 72 miles long, with 33.5 miles of it winding its way through Lafayette Parish. It continues on through Vermilion Parish into Vermilion Bay.
And before its waters got to the Gulf last year, 23.7 tons of floating debris, including 322 large items like appliances and furniture, as well as some 190 tires were removed by the Bayou Vermilion District’s Bayou Operations team of six workers.
Impressive, if not depressing, stats, but things have improved since the mid-1980s when Bayou Vermilion was considered one of the most polluted waterways in the country.
“Our main mission is to keep the bayou clean,” says David Cheramie, executive director of the BVD. It’s an upriver battle to be sure, but the situation is improving if you consider that the total trash collected is down from 2010 when workers pulled 25.02 tons of floating debris, 731 large items and 454 tires from the Vermilion.
The BVD’s game plan is to improve opportunities in recreation and water quality and also to enhance economic development, through venues like Vermilionville. “The Bayou Operations side has ever since been pulling out trash, trying to educate the public about storm water issues, drainage,” says Cheramie. “Anything you throw in the street is eventually going to be washed into the bayou.”
|BVD's Paul LaHaye and David Cheramie stand among drums of
debris collected from the bayou over just a two-day period.
Some items like cups, bottles and grass clippings may have gotten there accidentally, Cheramie acknowledges; however, it takes more of an effort for appliances, flat screen televisions, automobiles, dog houses and tires by the truckload to get there.
Tires present a curious problem for the BVD. While individual tires are found here and there, it’s not unusual to find them in groups. “They’re usually in the remote areas along the bayou,” says Paul LaHaye, who heads Bayou Ops. “They’ll park in the curves so they can see in both directions, unload the tires, then skedaddle. We’ll pick up sometimes 30, sometimes 40 tires.”
LaHaye is under the opinion these dishonorable tire dealers charge a disposal fee to consumers so they can have them properly discarded but do not properly do so; instead, they keep the money. “Seems like it’s on the increase right now,” he says. “People are collecting them, but they’re not disposing of them properly. People try to dump them so they roll down the bayou bank, but few of them make it.”
Cows — dead or alive — usually get some help from coyotes or feral dogs when workers find them. Workers can tell by the paw prints in the mud along the bank that the bovine was chased.
Mardi Gras and Festival International de Louisiane contribute the largest amount of small items to the trash count, such as beads, cups, bottles and cans. And not that it’s intentional, either. Cheramie says Festival, which brings in plenty of garbage and recycling receptacles, will continue to do its part in helping to keep waste from getting into the drainage system.
Cheramie says man isn’t the only contributor to an unhealthy Vermilion. Mother Nature herself erodes the banks when the river rises and falls after hurricanes or hard rainstorms that bring silt and trees into the bayou.
Most people know that cigarettes aren’t healthy for humans. And while it’s not a matter of second-hand smoke, fish are victims of bad human habits, too, as one cigarette butt is lethal enough to kill all living fish and organisms in a gallon of water.
Bayou Ops is trying to keep the trash out of the coulees before it gets to the bayou by putting booms across the coulees.
“But the thing is, you get a big flush like a big hard rain, it pushes everything over and under the boom. So we have to go there on a regular basis before it gets that way,” he says. “We’ve improved a lot, but we still have a ways to go.”
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Two bedroom in Lafayette or two bedroom in Kaplan
Sennond trunk show at kiki
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thursday’s explosion aboard an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico is now under investigation by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Four hours after inviting supporters to a rally with Sen. Marco Rubio, Bill Cassidy claimed that Mary Landrieu “voted against stopping executive amnesty.”
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.
Money from the first and only settlement so far in a Louisiana flood board's lawsuit against dozens of energy companies will be placed in a special account dedicated to coastal restoration.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Ten departing CEOs rake in $430 million; profile of FSU gunman emerges; Buffalo's weather woes and more national and international news for Friday, November 21, 2014.
The Ethics Board gives the lame duck Youngsville mayor permission to offer a sweet parting gift to the community he’s presided over for three terms.
Carencro ranch style home or three bedroom traditional in St. Martinville
The money came through a general obligation bond sale Thursday.
A legend in the Acadiana Oil Patch, Comeaux died Monday, Nov. 17.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
With a growing number of alleged sexual assault victims coming out against Bill Cosby in recent weeks, upcoming projects have been canned by NBC and Netflix, but that won’t affect the once-loved comedian and actor’s scheduled performance in Lafayette.
The Baltimore Ravens' retooled secondary had no trouble against a rookie quarterback at home. This week, however, their task is far more challenging: stopping Drew Brees on the road in New Orleans.
Add Texas Gov. Rick Perry's name to the list of possible Republican presidential candidates flooding the campaign trail for GOP Senate candidate Bill Cassidy.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is in Florida this week with his fellow Republican governors for another gripe session aimed at their favorite target, the president, this time taking aim at his immigration plans.
Early voting for the runoff is shortened by two days because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Coach Don” Gagnard is running for school board. Today he offers his critique of the socioeconomic relationship between government subsidies and obesity.
BP is heading to a federal appeals court in its effort to oust the administrator of damage settlement claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Former Le Rosier chef who cooked at the James Beard House and was named one of the “Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine magazine in 1995 was 48.
It was only a few months ago when the LPSB held the school system’s purse strings with a death grip, but oh how board President Hunter Beasley's demeanor seems to be changing with the ouster of Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.