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ELECTION DAY: OCTOBER 24

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

88 YEARS, NO. 13

OCTOBER 20, 2015

BELLE CHASSE, LA

50 CENTS

Mitigation Project builds land fast


Kari Dequine Harden

reporter@plaqueminesgazette.com

For 24 hours a day, seven


days a week, thick coffeewith-cream colored sludge
will be pumped directly from
a mammoth dredge on the
river to an expanse of marshy
lake behind Jesuit Bend.
To take a tour from the
dredge operation sucking
up the Mississippi mud to a
pipe spouting the material
into the marsh, it appears to
be land building at its most
efficient.
Once suctioned off the
riverbed (at a depth of 70-90
feet), the mud takes a 26,000foot journey through a 30inch steel pipe. First, it travels

BC Ferry
to close
for two
weekends

The U.S. Army Corps


of Engineers will begin a
rock embankment project along the river batture
near the Belle Chasse/
Scarsdale ferry landing.
The construction project
will halt ferry service to
the Belle Chasse and Scarsdale areas for two consecutive weekends.
The ferry closures are as
follows:
Oct. 31 and Nov. 1
Nov. 7 and Nov. 8
The Pointe-a-la-Hache
ferry can be used as an
alternate route. Plaquemines Parish Government
Apologizes for the inconvenience.

Debates
available
to view
online

If someone missed the


Plaquemines Parish Debates on October 9, , he/
she can still view the debate from the website
w w w. p p d e b a t e s . c o m .
Since it was posted to the
internet on Oct. 12, nearly
1,600 people have viewed
the debate online. People
can now view a version
with the excess intermission time edited out also.
MAILING INFO HERE

along the bank downriver


about 8,000 feet to a booster
station, then another 8,000
feet before taking a 90 degree
turn to go under the railroad
tracks and Hwy 23. The pipeline then runs along Ollie Dr.
before hopping over the back
levee, then taking another 90
degree turn and traveling
northwest a short distance to
the mitigation site.
In approximately 45 days,
the material will ll in 234
acres of a rectangular-shaped
area known as the Perez
Pond. At one time, it was
freshwater marsh and cypress-tupelo swam, but over
the past century converted
into open water.
From last Monday to

Thursday, the project had already lled in about 30 acres,


said George Howard, CEO of
Restoration Systems, LLC.,
the company that owns the
land. The total project covers
338 acres and includes enhancement and preservation
components.
On the river end, a crew
of 23 operates the dredge
near River Mile 70. On the
other end, bulldozers push
and spread the mud, while
a swamp buggy fans out the
spewing sludge and builds
new land for the bulldozers
and crew, who must continuously add length to the
pipeline.

MITIGATION See page 2

riv tely fun e


hour ro e t is un er y to fill in n re in re of o en
behin esuit en using m teri l re ge from the ississi i iver

Neighbors unite for Night Out


Kari Dequine Harden

reporter@plaqueminesgazette.com

Neighbors spilled onto


the streets throughout the
parish last Tuesday to join
in on the national annual
Night Out Against Crime
festivities.
In Belle Chasse, Plaquemines Parish Sheriffs Deputies made the rounds to
eight different parties, taking the opportunity to interact with families in an
informal setting and share
in food and friendly conversation.
Standing amid balloons,
tables covered in food and
drinks, and kids buzzing
around on bikes, District
1 Councilman Beau Black
said he hosts a party ev-

ter

Controversial
Recreation
Committee
has first
appointees
Kari Dequine Harden

reporter@plaqueminesgazette.com

reporter@plaqueminesgazette.com

reporter@plaqueminesgazette.com

Calling it one of the largest undercover operations in


the history of The Plaquemines Parish Sheriffs Offices
Narcotics Division, Sheriff Lonnie Greco announced
the arrest of 49 defendants, with five more still at-large.
The year-long Operation Whos Next targeted 50
street-level dealers from Belle Chasse to Boothville, and
seized varying amounts of a range of illegal substances,
including marijuana (about 10 ounces), synthetic marijuana (just over one ounce), prescription pills (228 pills),
heroin (16 grams), and under 10 grams of crack cocaine,
cocaine, and methamphetamine, according to Eric Becnel, public information officer for the sheriffs office.
Of the 49 defendants arrested, four were arrested
solely for possession (apprehended while serving arrest

Andrea Lugo knew that the culture of middle school


can be challenging for young girls. But when she started
working in her daughters school as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional, she got a firsthand look at the
sometimes brutal mean girl mentality.
Lugo also felt there wasnt enough in place to give
girls a safe place to address issues around female bullying.
Even as girls grow into women, and enter the workplace culture, that same mean girl culture can persist,
Lugo noted. She wanted to do more, but wasnt sure
what.
Then, one day when Lugo was home sick, she was
watching a television awards show and Aaron Paul, one

Following
months
of disagreement about
whether or not the committee should exist, the
Plaquemines Parish Council approved the first six
appointees to the Plaquemines Recreation Advisory
Committee, but not without continued debate.
The creation of the committee was approved at the
Councils July 9 meeting in
a 5-4 vote.
According to the resolution, authored by District
9 Councilwoman Nicole
Smith Williams, the intent of the committee is
to provide recommendations and assist the Recreation Director when making decisions for the youth
programs.
District 7 Councilwoman Audrey Trufant-Salvant
has consistently spoken
out against the premise of
the committee in creating
another layer of bureaucracy, and voted against
its creation. She did vote
to approve the nominees,
which were passed in a 7-1
vote, with District 1 Councilman John Barthelemy
voting against. District 4
Councilman Irvin Juneau

PPSO See page 16

KINDNESS See page 5

RECREATION See page 5

Grand Terre Estates Subdivision Night Out Party


ery year, and the evening
always brings out a large
gathering of neighbors.
On the east bank, Phoenix held their first community parade to mark the
event, ending at the park in
Davant with a feast of fried

Undercover PPSO
operation nabs 54
Kari Dequine Harden

fish and chicken, boiled


shrimp, and burgers. The
parade included the cheerleaders and dance team
from Phoenix High School,
volunteer firefighters, and
deputies, and Sheriff Lonnie Greco who along with

his deputies also made appearances at many of the


Belle Chasse parties.
Rev. Hilry Thomas, who
helped to organize the
Phoenix gathering, said a

NNOAC See page 7

Local mom
spreads kindness
Kari Dequine Harden

PAWS to open low-cost clinic


Kari Dequine Harden

reporter@plaqueminesgazette.com

Celebrating a soft opening last week, the


Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is getting to ready to launch its own low-cost wellness
and preventative care clinic.
The clinic will be mobile moving between the
PAWS facilities in Belle Chasse and Myrtle Grove.
The intent is to bring these affordable services
to more people and more of the parish, said Sarah
Anne Adamson, marketing and event coordinator
for PAWS. For now, Myrtle Grove is as far south as
they are permitted to travel, Adamson said, due to
restrictions related to proximity to a 24-hour veterinary hospital.
Belle Chasse resident Mike Tredinich brought two
dogs in to the clinics preliminary launch hours last
Thursday. He said his daughter-in-law saw a post
online about the clinic and was pleased to find a
place they could go in Plaquemines Parish for lowcost vaccines and micro-chipping.

PAWS See page 5

Melissa Barnes and Braya Gagliano check Bailey in for vaccinations and microchiping uring the soft l un h of
ne lo
ost lini
Photo by Kari Dequine Harden

OCTOBER 20, 2015

MITIGATION
CONTINUED FROM THE FRONT PAGE

The crews work 12 hour


shifts, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The dredge is capable
of excavating 32,000 cubic
yards of material every hour,
or enough to ll about 320
dump trucks every hour.
The project, which started
operating last week, is unique
in that it is privately funded.
Restoration Systems, a North
Carolina-based company, is
partnering with Great Lakes
Dredges and Dock Company. Through the national
mitigation banking program, Howard said the idea is
to first recoup costs, then to
eventually turn a profit.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), A mitigation bank is
a wetland, stream, or other
aquatic resource area that has
been restored, established,
enhanced, or (in certain circumstances) preserved for
the purpose of providing
compensation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources.
Basically, when a company or governmental agency
destroys wetlands in one location, they are required in
the initial permitting process
to compensate by buying
credits in another location.
During construction, they
have three options when it
comes to wetlands: avoid,
minimize, or mitigate.
While the program is not
as common in Louisiana, it
has been widely used in other states like Florida. The program was established under
the 1972 Clean Water Act.
The Jesuit Bend Mitigation
Bank is also very unique in
that it is the only mitigation
project in Louisiana using
sediment from the Mississippi River.
It will take about two years
to recover the dredging costs,
Howard said. Restoration
Systems has more than 50
mitigation banks across the
country.

At one time, Howard said


the area behind Jesuit Bent
was an indigo plantation, a
cow pasture, and used in oil
and gas exploration. The intense use took the wetlands,
he said, and they can come
back we just need to give
Mother Nature a little help.
The areas Restoration Systems chooses to restore must
meet very specific criteria
(including elevation and the
consolidation/hardness
of
the bottom surface) to ensure
that the restoration is sustainable. Other factors that
went into the planning and
permitting process were Louisianas 2012 Coastal Master
Plan, the incorporation of
the best available science,
and the effort to mimic the
natural system. They were
also required to leave a meandering canal through the
new land to allow a free flow
of water for the health of the
marine life. The canal will
also give boaters continued
access through the site.
After the land building
phase is complete, the area
will be planted with three different types of marsh grass,
and will be forever protected
by a conservation easement.
While the dredge area in
the river is not directly in the
shipping lane that the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers
regularly would be dredging, it is an area to which
dredging is still beneficial
to navigation, Howard said.
And, the method is preferred
over some in-situ restoration
projects that move sediment
from one location to another
(instead of using the rivers
material), so, Youre not robbing Peter to pay Paul.
So why not do this all the
time, all over the parish?
For one, because its very
expensive. Howard estimated the cost of dredging at
about $10,000 an hour.
And, the permitting process is lengthy and intensive
(it took Howard five years).
And, there are no oyster leases behind Jesuit Bend. The
marsh is freshwater, so salini-

THE PLAQUEMINES GAZETTE

From the bottom of the Mississippi River, a massive dredging operation is piping sediment through 26,000 feet of
i e to bull o ers n s m buggies
iting on the other en to buil l n behin esuit en
rom the bottom
of the Mississippi River, a massive dredging operation is piping sediment through 26,000 feet of pipe to bulldozers
n s m buggies
iting on the other en to buil l n behin esuit en
Photos by Kari Dequine Harden
ty is not a major issue.
Howard said he hopes
the model of using private
financing will spread in Louisiana, and unleash the creativity of private industry
in rebuilding the coast. Large
state bureaucracies arent
able to act as nimbly as his
company can, he said.
But, Restoration Systems
does take a big risk on the
assumption that all their
mitigation credits will be released and sold. The mitigation bank is not yet in effect,
Howard said, and even when
it is, it will take about three
years before they anticipate
turning a profit.
While the process has
been long (delayed another
six months by the high river), Howard said the varying
permitting agencies, including the Plaquemines Parish

Council (who unanimously


approved the permit), have
been very supportive of the
project.
The neighborhood is supportive too, said Jason Kaliszeski, whose property backs
up to the canal that runs
along the mitigation site.
He said that water pushed
by storms like Rita and Gustav threaten to overtop the
back levee. Relatively, the
new land represents a small
footprint, Kaliszeski said, but
it will undoubtedly provide
greater protection to neighbors, especially related to
wave action.
Kaliszeski said that hes
been frogging in the pond
for the past 20 years. Asked
about the effects to his frogging activities, Kaliszeski said
that Id much rather have
the marsh.

Taking the unofficial role


of a point person for the
neighborhood,
Kaliszeski
said that he hasnt heard any
opposition. The number one
question hes been asked is,
Why arent they filling in
the rest of the pond?
Howard said theyd like to.
District 6 Councilman
Charlie Burt, also a Jesuit
Bend resident, said that he
thinks it is a great project,
especially since the parish
is not spending any money
on it during tough financial
times. He also likes keeping
the mitigation bank in the
parish, instead of credits
getting outsourced to rebuild land in other states
or regions. Burt said a few
concerns have been voiced
by neighbors, mainly related to increased traffic on
Ollie Dr., and people who

own land across the pond


wanting to make sure it is
still accessible.
Howard said that his
company will be leaving
the infrastructure behind
so that it can be used for
future projects. He emphasized that they are interested in buying more of the
water-covered land that sits
to the north of the current
project. Wed like to purchase that for phase two,
he said.
As he stood at the edge of
the airboat and watched the
mud gush out of the end of
the pipe for the first time,
Howard said it was well
worth the five years of planning and permitting. Next
to my wife in her wedding
dress, and my two kids, its
the most beautiful thing
Ive ever seen.

OCTOBER 20, 2015

THE PLAQUEMINES GAZETTE

RELAY FOR LIFE OF PLAQUEMINES PARISH


ver bout four
ys the esuit en
itig tion
bout
res of o en
ter ith ississi i mu

TOP TAILGATE CHEF


When we walk
togethe
COOK-OFF

ro e t h

lre

y fille in

THINK PINK
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Breast Cancer
Awareness Month!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2015


BAYOU BARRIERE GOLF CLUB

SUPPORT
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2 PM - 10 PM

All are invited! Enjoy delicious local cuisine and beer,


participate in our 5K Glow Run, hear live performances
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Want to become the TOP CHEF of Plaquemines Parish while
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PUTTING BREAST CANCER


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WHEN:

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23

TIME:

10:30 AM 12:30 PM

HOSTED BY: PLAQUEMINES PRIMARY CARE


27136 HIGHWAY 23, 1ST FLOOR
PORT SULPHUR, LA 70083

LSU vs. Alabama game will be broadcast at the event!


Need more information?

Relay Visit
Forwww.relayforlife.org/plaqueminesla
Life of
Kristin
kristin.petry@cancer.org
Event Date or| email
Time
| atLocation
For more information contact [Name]
at [Phone Number] or [Email]
or visit [relayforlife.org/relayname].

1.800.227.2345 | relayforlife.org | cancer.org

#FamilyMatters
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Team Jeff Arnold - Married 22 Years and Counting!


ONLY CANDIDATE IN THE RACE WHO IS MARRIED AND RAISED THEIR KIDS ON THE WESTBANK!

AS YOU CAN SEE, I AM VERY PROUD OF MY FAMILY AND PROUD OF THE WEST BANK.
FOR THESE REASONS AND MANY MORE, I WILL WORK HARD FOR YOU. . . EVERYDAY. . . AS YOUR STATE SENATOR.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE #43 JEFF ARNOLD, ON SAT., OCT. 24TH


Proudly Endorsed By

Louisiana Legislative Experience for Senate District 7

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VOTE #43 SATURDAY, OCT. 24

TH

Louisiana State Bond Commission, Former


Member
House Commerce Committee, Former
Chairman
National Conference of State Legislators
Former Member of: House Committee on
Ways & Means, Transportation, Natural
Resources, Retirement