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Priority Projects Selected at the Oyster Restoration Targeting Workshop

 

Project Description

 

Comments from the

Obstacles and Solutions Discussion

Barataria Basin Projects  

Grand Bayou

Project 11 - Plaquemines Parish - High Abundance - 16 votes

PS-1: Connect poorly operating individual wastewater treatment systems (IWWTS) to WWTPs

Strategy Description: Connect all systems to either properly maintained community treatment or a WWTP, such as the facility at Port Sulphur. Another possibility is to establish a sewerage treatment district.

Project Description: There is a high density of individual wastewater treatment systems (IWWTS) and community treatment systems for a large number of permanent residences in this area. Most of these discharge directly into Grand Bayou. There are two marinas in the area (1992 Shoreline Survey data). The West Point a` la Hache Freshwater Siphon discharges into Grand Bayou. There is also a high density of camps with IWWTS, some of which may be malfunctioning. The area is closed to oyster harvest, but there is abundant resource in the closed waters. It is suspected that a lot of bootlegging is going-on.

If discharges from the high density of IWWTSs along the bayou are collected in sewer lines and treated (options include constructing a new community treatment facility or connecting to an existing facility at Port Sulphur), the prohibited closure may be lifted. Ken Hemphill noted that this area's classification could be raised to a restricted or conditionally managed (e.g., rainfall) status.

There will be considerable opposition from local residents if this project will increase their taxes.

A public education program would enhance the liklihood of implementing this project.

This project could easily move forward if the cost issue was addressed with a non-local funding source.

An issue to consider is the resident's commitment to a sewage treatment solution with a 70 year life span when there is a 35 year erosion threat to the area -- why pay for sewage treatment?

Citrus Lands Cattle Farm

Project 12 - Plaquemines Parish - High Abundance - 10 votes

PS-4: Reduce inputs of FCBs from grazing lands.

Strategy Description: This area should be monitored for FCB contamination from Citrus Lands Cattle Farm. Reduce, reroute, or treat the discharge from the farm on site before discharge to canal. Treatment could include routing discharge through a wetland or in some way retaining runoff in holding areas to increase FCB dieoff.

Project Description: The Citrus Lands Cattle Farm, which is completely levied to prevent flooding, is drained by a large pump station, which discharges into the head of Wilkinson Canal. There is high to medium oyster abundance downstream of the discharge site. The area had a significant FCB contamination problem when Citrus Lands Cattle Farm operated a "feed lot" at Myrtle Grove. Citrus Land Cattle Farm terminated its feed lot operation within the last 2 years, but a leaseholder still maintains a herd of about 1,500 cattle at the site. Part of the property (about 1,000 acres) has recently been sold for development as a NASCAR racetrack, which may further curtail the cattle operation.

The leveed Citrus Lands Cattle Farm is drained by a large pump station which discharges into the head of Wilkinson Canal. While the discharge is physically located in Plaquemines Parish, Jefferson Parish recognizes that it could benefit considerably from this project's implementation and therefore supports the project.

The primary issue with this project is that the private landowner of Citrus Land Cattle Farm has not responded to previous attempts to address impacts of its discharge.

There could be considerable costs associated with this project.

One solution is to redirect the pump discharge to adjacent wetlands, but a suitable wetland area would have to be identified.

Implementation of this project should be coordinated with the nearby CWPPRA project (the Myrtle Grove Freshwater Siphon) to increase potential benefits of both projects to the area. A coordinated effort could result in leveraged funding.

A suggested funding source is the Farm Bill cost share program supplemented with 319 funds.

There may be significant contributions to this area from other pollution sources in addition to agricultural discharges.

Hackberry Bay

Project 19 - Jefferson Parish - Medium Abundance - 7 votes

HE-2: Enhance cultch/substrate in areas with optimal salinities (10-25 ppt salinity)

Strategy Description:
Increase cultch planting and the release of hatchery reared larva. Use the bottom substrate type maps produced by Powell, Soniat, and Melancon to choose suitable areas for cultch planting.
Project Description: Increased cultch planting on public seed grounds could increase oyster habitat and production. Need to mitigate destruction of habitat from oil exploration and production activity. Note that the availability of good quality cultch material is becoming an issue with the elimination of dredging rangia shell in Lake Pontchartrain. Alternative sources and/or cultch material should be investigated.

Hackberry Bay is a public seed ground on which the state regularly places cultch. The state has a detailed map of bottom conditions in the bay. There is the issue that the state's method of placing cultch, in straight lines, is different from the oyster harvester's method in a more circular pattern.

Cultch planting and harvesting methods should be coordinated to maximize benefits.

The issue was raised if this project belongs in the Shellfish Challenge, given that the state already has a cultch program here -- could this project produce a measurable increase in the area of safely harvestable bottom? This project focuses on increased production, not increased acreage.

There is disagreement between oyster harvesters about how oil and gas pipelines affect harvesting in the bay. People who know the area well can avoid the pipelines or use dredging techniques that minimize the negative impact of the pipelines on harvesting efficiency. Therefore, it is important to work closely with the oil and gas industry if this project is to be implemented.

This project could raise productivity of the public seed grounds -- one way to do this is to improve hatchery techniques and plant larvae over the seed grounds.

The issue of potential impacts of the Davis Pond diversion on suitable salinity was discussed and it was determined that any impact would be minimal.

High cost of implementation is a potential obstacle to this project.

Terrebonne Basin Projects  

Larose to Golden Meadow

Project 35 - Lafourche Parish - High Abundance - 5 votes

PS-5: Reduce inputs of FCBs in runoff from densely populated areas

Strategy Description: Reroute stormwater discharge outfalls to adjacent wetlands, to the west side of Golden Meadow. The hydrology of the receiving wetlands will have to be determined first.

Project Description: Urban stormwater discharge is affecting water quality of adjacent growing waters. There are discharges of raw and partially treated sewage to stormwater drainage from cess pools and septic systems.

Urban stormwater is discharged from a yet-undetermined number of pump stations. These discharges could be redirected to suitable wetlands (the west side of Golden Meadow was previously identified), although there are not suitable wetlands directly adjacent to the community (i.e., they are significantly degraded).

The stormwater discharge could be redirected to created wetlands inside or directly adjacent to the area. Suitable areas for discharge would have to be researched. Information defining "appropriate wetlands" exists in other states such as Maryland.

There is a taxing district in South Lafourche Parish to help maintain the stormwater pumps. This district could be used or a new stormwater management utility district created to help fund this project.

There are discharges of raw and partially treated sewage from cess pools and malfunctioning IWWTSs within the levees to the areas stormwater drainage. Treatment of the stormwater discharge would have to be adequate to lower these high FCB concentrations. There also remains a question about the relative FCB contribution of malfunctioning IWWTSs outside of the levees.

It was estimated that the community could be sewered for a cost of $17 to 20 million or a per capita cost of approximately $1500. There is also a significiant cost to maintain the system.


Bayou Petit Calliou

Project 38 - Terrebonne Parish - Medium Abundance - 14 votes

PS-1: Connect poorly operating individual wastewater treatment systems (IWWTS) to WWTPs

Strategy Description: Connect all systems to either alternative technologies for on-site wastewater treatment, community treatment, or a WWTP. The Houma South Plant is a good candidate because of its proximity, available capacity, and performance. Note that rain runoff will still be a problem. In addition, regularly monitor and enforce standards for individual wastewater treatment systems (IWWTS).

Project Description: There is a high density of individual wastewater treatment systems (IWWTS) and a high potential for rain runoff. There are approximately 750 residential and 40 commercial properties distributed among three communities along the bayou, and a large number of residential and commercial properties (1 marina) in Cocodrie (1992 Shoreline Survey data). In the lower portion of Bayou Petit Caillou near Cocodrie, there is a high density of camps and discharges from marine-related industries. Note that FCB counts at adjacent sampling stations are not high, but the area remains closed to harvest.


There is a high density of IWWTSs at permanent residential and commercial properties along the bayou. At the lower end of the bayou near Cocodrie, there is also a high density of camps (the treatment status of their discharges is not fully known).

This project proposes to run sewer lines from the Houma South Plant, which has available capacity and good performance. During implementation feasibility considerations, investigate whether stormwater runoff will cause significant FCB inputs to adjacent waters.

A very rough cost estimate for this project falls between $8.5 - 12 million.

Current sewer fees are charged according to an equation that takes into account a lot's frontage and square footage. This project should investigate the possibility of assigning fees based on discharge volume and other innovative methods.

There is considerable anti-government sentiment that would have to be overcome to successfully implement this project. In 1989 there was public opposition to this type of project.

There is a need to educate the population about ecological threats to the area; the education effort could focus on public health, the economy, water quality, oyster production, or any combination of these issues.

Basin-wide Projects  

Revise the Shellfish Relay System

Project 32 - 10 votes

M-6: Expand shellfish relay activities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Strategy Description: Have local Parish personnel available to supervise relay operations to help defray the cost of supervision. Fund a group to suggest revisions to the current relaying system, making it economically feasible for the harvester. This will put existing resource into active production.

Project Description: There is considerable hardship involved with the present restricted area relaying system. Problems include the need to post a cash bond and restrictive work hours for relay supervisors. The requirement for supervision makes it too costly to the harvester. If the cost of supervising this relay system could be reduced, large areas of highly productive waters could be harvested.

The cost for oyster harvesters to relay oysters is prohibitive when oysters are selling for less than approximately $10 a sack. Increased costs come from paying for a bonded relay supervisor who must be present on the harvesting vessel.

Given that relay activities are market driven, the question was raised whether the revised regulations will lower the cost enough for harvesters to relay if the sack price remains low.

One proposal to reduce relay costs for harvesters is to have parish officials available for relay supervising. Costs to agencies assigned relay supervisorship will have to be considered.

The different public health agencies (i.e., FDA and LA DHH) have varying objectives and they would have to agree on the revised regulations.

Ken Hemphill could not see any realistic revision of the regulatory program for relaying, but suggested that this project investigate the use of public funds to cover the cost of the bonded relay supervisor.


Improve Use of Pumpout Systems

Project 31 - 9 votes

PS-10: Improve use of pump-out facilities at marinas

Note- Projects 006, 007, 008, 009, 010 are also consolidated under this project.

Strategy Description: Install pumpout facilities where needed and improve use of present pumpout facilities by increasing enforcement and public awareness of the problem. Note: DWF has a grant program (25/75 cost share) to work on this problem and has done some preliminary assessment of where facilities are and where they are needed.

Project Description: Overboard discharges of wastewater from commercial and recreational vessels degrades water quality in oyster growing areas. Both pumpout facilities and current use patterns are inadequate. Areas identified as possible target areas include Empire/Port Sulphur, Cocodrie, Bayou du Large, Grand Isle, Lafitte, Fourchon, Leeville, and Golden Meadow.


Overboard discharges of wastewater from commercial and recreational vessels can release enteric bacteria and viruses into oyster growing waters classified as 'open'. The installation of pumpout systems and education on the need to use pumpout systems might reduce overboard discharges.

An issue to consider is how this project supports the Shellfish Challenge. It is true that it might decrease the number of spot closures (and reduce the number of people that get sick from these incidences and reduce the negative press about the Louisiana oyster market), but will it move the seasonal classification line or lift restricted/prohibited closures?

Education is the key in this project; it can address the lack of public awareness and motivation about this issue.

LA DWF has completed some preliminary investigations on the best areas to install pumpout systems. The Shellfish Challenge Project has previously identified the following areas: Empire/Port Sulphur, Cocodrie, Bayou du Large, Grand Isle, Lafitte, Fourchon, Leeville, and Golden Meadow.

There is a source of funding for this project. LA DWF provides grants from a 25/75 cost share program to install pumpout systems, but only for recreational facilities (i.e., marinas). This program needs to be extended (or a new program created) that will provide funds to install pumpout systems in areas used by commercial vessels.

This project could investigate available technologies and the feasibility to use these technologies for on-board wastewater treatment for recreational and commercial vessels.

Implementing this project may benefit public health.


Mandate Community Treatment Systems for New Development

Project 56 - 13.5 votes

M-15: Mandate community treatment systems for new development

Strategy Description: Mandate new developments to provide community treatment systems or provide/expand collection lines to existing community treatment systems or WWTPs.

Project Description: Individual wastewater treatment systems (IWWTS) do not work well in Louisiana coastal soils. Treating residential and commericial wastewater in a community system eliminates the potential pollution inputs resulting from malfunctioning IWWTS.


This project is critical because IWWTSs do not function properly in most Louisiana coastal soils. The current regulatory scheme for community sewage treatment requirements have not been effective in promoting this type of treatment in place of IWWTS.

This project should begin with an education campaign for government officials and developers.

This project should create a local committee to determine the feasibility of this project (include Kirk Cheramie).

Local government officials do not want to mandate new regulations. There is a general dislike and distrust of unfunded mandates in the region.

This project could impose considerable new costs to developers.

New costs should be borne by developers and not by government.

When determining costs of this project, include damage to infrastructure (roads, drainage and utility systems, etc.) incurred during construction.

When determining the benefits of this project, include improvments to drinking water systems like Bayou Lafourche.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
228-688-3726
FAX: 228-688-2709


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