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.”
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Three bedroom Sunset Victorian or three bedroom Opelousas Acadian home
Louisiana designer commissioned for NYC Awards gift
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
INDEats and EatLafayette want to give one lucky foodie and friends the most memorable meal — here’s how you can win
Pat Bowlen steps down; typhoon caused Taiwan plane crash; Arizona execution botched and more national and international news for Thursday, July 24, 2014.
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Three bedroom traditional Lafayette home or three bedroom Breaux Bridge home
Style market slated for old Artesia
The city prosecutor has released the case file for Lafayette Parish School Board member Tehmi Chassion’s simple battery complaint against Superintendent Pat Cooper, and the seven witness statements given to police illustrate two very different scenarios.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Citing conflicting witness accounts, the city prosecutor will not pursue Tehmi Chassion’s allegation of simple battery against Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Smoked meat, fresh sides and the best boudin around
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Cirque du Soleil effortlessly combines circus art with beloved Michael Jackson hits.
Kelly Guidry Open House
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.