State Opens Additional Freshwater Diversion Canal at Bayou Lamoque in Plaquemines Parish
BATON ROUGE (May 12, 2010) - Today the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in coordination with the Louisiana Office of Coastal Restoration and Protection (OCPR) and Plaquemines Parish officials have opened gates at the Bayou Lamoque freshwater diversion in Plaquemines Parish, allowing water to flow from the Mississippi River into wetlands adjacent to Black Bay and Breton Sound at an estimated 7,500 cubic feet per second.
This action will help minimize the impact of oil on the fragile ecosystems of eastern Plaquemines Parish.
OCPR and Wildlife and Fisheries officials estimate more gates can be repaired and opened in the coming days, raising the capacity of the diversion to an estimated 12,000 cubic feet per second.
"The potential effects of this oil spill could last for decades, so we are using every means at our disposal to try to lessen the devastation the oil could inflict on our wetlands," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.
The eight gates that control the flow of this structure were found in disrepair accordingly, LDWF and Plaquemines Parish had the mechanisms repaired to allow the diversion to be opened.
"We have been using diversions, siphons and locks on both the east and west side for more than 10 days to try and push the oil away from our coastal wetlands. Louisiana's coastal wetlands are a maze of marshy islands, grass beds, bayous, ponds and lakes. It will be nearly impossible for us to clean the oil out of these areas for years if it gets in! there," said Garret Graves, Chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. "Louisiana's coastal fisheries, communities and wetlands have been challenged by four major hurricanes in the last five years. This latest challenge from the oil spill has the potential to adversely impact our unique culture for several years. Hundreds of thousands of recreational and commercial fishermen and families could be affected."
There are now seven diversions and siphons and one navigation lock opened to move water out of the Mississippi River and into coastal wetlands. Four diversions or siphons and the lock are located in Plaquemines Parish while three are in St. Bernard and one in St. Charles. The total measurable flow from these diversions is 29,550 cubic feet per second.
- Bayou Lamoque Diversion: Plaquemines Parish. 7500 CFS (capacity 12,000)
- Davis Pond Diversion: St. Charles Parish. 10,650 CFS (capacity 10,650)
- Violet Siphon: St. Bernard Parish. 200 CFS (capacity 200)
- Caernarvon Diversion: St. Bernard Parish. 8000 CFS (capacity 8,800)
- Whites Ditch Siphon: Plaquemines Parish. 200 CFS (capacity 200)
- Naomi Siphon: Plaquemines Parish. 1500 CFS (capacity 1500)
- West Pointe A la Hache Siphon: Plaquemines Parish. 1500 CFS (capacity 1500)
The Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration is the implementation office for the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.