Alligator Bayou Update #2 – March 27, 2009


Swamp draining about money not restoration.

Dear Supporter,

The truth is beginning to come to light. In an Associated Press article it was made clear to me that this is what is happening:

A landowner has threatened to sue the Iberville Parish Council if they do not lower the water levels in the Spanish Lake Basin.

Excerpt from an Iberville Parish Press Release:

“Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. had three reasons for taking this action:… 3. Landowners owning more than 9,000 acres of property surrounding
the Spanish Lake have threatened to sue Iberville Parish…”

This landowner wants to use his property as a mitigation bank to sell mitigation credits.

This land owner wants his Cypress Tupelo Swamp to dry out and be converted to bottom land hardwood forest because bottom land hardwood forests are more valuable for mitigation purposes.

This action by Iberville Parish has nothing to do with restoring ecosystems and everything to do with making a landowner more money.

Here is an excerpt from the AP article:

“Scott Nesbit, a wetlands ecologist representing landowners who hold 6,300 acres in Iberville Parish, said it would just turn the clock back, letting oaks and other hardwoods return to much of the area covered for more than 50 years by cypress-tupelo swamp.”

“One of his clients sells mitigation credits – essentially, getting paid to restore wetlands for a developer who wants to fill wetlands elsewhere in the same watershed – and the other plans to [sell mitigation credits]. In the Bayou Manchac watershed, there is more demand for bottomland hardwood credits than for swamp, Nesbit said.” *

I would add that all of the scientific evidence shows that these areas were historically Cypress Tupilo swamp. Most of the young cypress trees in the area are 100 years old or more and sprouted after the old growth Cypress was cut. Some of the old-growth Cypress left in the area date back over 2000 years. Cypress Tupelo swamps don’t just pop up in 50 years, the science is clear about that and I would reference the Science Working Group report “Conservation, Protection and Utilization of Louisiana’s Coastal Wetland Forests” for that.

Also, in a previous e-alert I called the Corps of Engineers project that was in progress the “Bayou Braud, Spanish Lake, and Alligator Bayou, LA Ecosystem Restoration Project.” It was correctly pointed out to me that this project has been officially combined into the larger “Amite River and Tributaries, Bayou Manchac Watershed Project.” The same issues will be addressed and this is the project that I was referencing.
We will continue to keep you updated.


Paul Orr
Lower Mississippi RIVERKEEPER®

Parishes Battle Over Floodgate – Sun Herald

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