In reading Joe Macaluso’s Dec. 12 article on False River, I found that his commentary fell short in recognizing the comprehensive restoration efforts of many people who have been working for years to achieve the results he desires.
He acknowledges the creation of spawning beds through a cooperative effort of the Pointe Coupe Police Jury and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as “laudable,” but “just not enough.” If it were the case that the ongoing False River Ecosystem Restoration Project was limited to this project, then one might be inclined to agree with Macaluso’s evaluation — but that is not the case.
Restoration of the False River ecosystem includes cooperative efforts from the Legislature, several state agencies, local landowners and the private sector. Recently, the False River Watershed Council was formed to oversee these efforts, and nearly $4 million in state capital outlay funds and grants have been allocated to getting the work done.
The most easily observed result is the creation of a containment dike “island” in the South Flats area of the waterbody, allowing for dredging in the south end of False River.
The dredging benefits water quality and fish habitat through the removal of sediments, providing additional water depth to maintain a cooler water temperature in a healthier range for fish, and allowing the fish to establish new spawning areas. Other benefits include the return of aquatic plants near the shorelines, which act as sediment filters, as well as habitats and part of the food chain for fish.
A similar project is set to begin in the coming year in the North Flats area. That project is currently awaiting approval from the Army Corps of Engineers for plans to modify the main inflow canal to False River to reduce sediment flow.
As Macaluso noted, erosion and sediments from nearby land have created water-quality issues for False River over time, and canal modification can intercept that runoff and sediment before it reaches False River. LDWF also has carried out several fish stockings and re-established commercial fishing seasons, which can improve recreational fishing by selectively removing rough fish that act as competition for or predators of sport fish.
I recognize and respect Macaluso’s place in south Louisiana as a champion of the preservation of fisheries, and invite him to join us in promoting False River’s restoration. I also invite others to visit www.falseriver restoration.dnr.la.gov for more information on our efforts.
House of Representatives, District 18