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.”
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
The look of leather
1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Historic three bedroom in Crowley or contemporary town house in Lafayette
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Hot style for fans (and beyond)
Four bedroom Acadian or three bedroom traditional
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
"I have never seen anyone who worked harder for our people than Sen. Mary Landrieu, so I would like to share a synopsis of a few of the many things she has done to help Louisiana."
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home