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Louisiana Coastal Programs

Goals, Objectives and Policies for Cameron Parish
Environmental Management Units


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GROUP I
Calcasieu Lake
Grand Lake
Sabine Lake
Pumpkin Ridge

This group encompasses the three major lakes in Cameron Parish which have all been designated as Environmental Management Units because they have unique problems and properties. Each are used for both commercial fishing and commercial transport activities, and each have recreational values, however a further description is needed to give a general idea of their current conditions.

Calcasieu Lake is the largest of the three lakes and is located in the center of the parish. Its primary problems are saltwater intrusion (which is amplified by the constant traffic in the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which is an outlet to the Gulf of Mexico), turbidity levels caused from frequent underwater constructions for pipelines and lake-bottom disturbance from energy exploration which brings heavy metal deposits up from the bottom and disperses them in the shallow water areas like West Cove. Since this is one of the main fishing and oyster-gathering areas in the parish, these activities can be detrimental to marine life.

Sabine Lake is only partially located in Cameron Parish and in Louisiana, as Cameron Parish borders the state line with Texas. However, the Louisiana side of the lake suffers primarily from saltwater intrusion through the Sabine Pass which opens into the Gulf of Mexico, shoreline erosion on the lake-bank, and pollution from industries on the Texas side of the lake (Port Arthur).

Grand Lake is located on the eastern side of the parish near the Vermilion Parish line. Its primary problems include saltwater intrusion from the Intracoastal Waterway and shoreline erosion.

The following is a breakdown of the lakes' properties and a guide for restoration of their water quality.

TOPOGRAPHY: Water bodies.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: Oyster reefs.

RECREATION: Fishing, boating, as well as fishing in the lakes.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Significant erosion on the banks of all lakes.
  2. Saltwater intrusion from the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Calcasieu Lake, from the Sabine Pass in Sabine Lake, and from the Intracoastal Waterway and from the Mermentau River in Grand Lake. All of these lakes have access to the Gulf in some form, thus causing the high levels of saltwater intrusion.
  3. Materials left in the lakes from construction activities, such as pipelines, which act as obstructions to fishing activities.
  4. Pollution from sewage and storm drain discharges and industry discharges into the tributaries which flow into Calcasieu Lake and Sabine Lake.
  5. Constant dredging activities which bring heavy metal deposits from the bottom and disperse them into the water, especially in shallow waters.
GOALS:

To insure good water quality levels to enhance recreational and commercial fishing activities in the major lakes.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Reduce shoreline erosion.
  2. Reduce saltwater intrusion.
  3. Maximize commercial fishing conditions.
  4. Monitor and reduce point discharge pollution.
  5. Reduce lake-bottom disruption where needed.
POLICIES:
  1. To plug all new canals opening into the lakes with spoil material or rip-rap at least 75 feet from lake banks.
  2. Continued monitoring of SPR brine line and encouragement of a lock system for barge traffic entering the major lakes.
  3. Require all subsurface materials associated with construction activities to be removed upon completion of activities (platform bases, concrete pilings, discarded pipeline materials, etc.).
  4. Discourage dredging activities through oyster reefs.
  5. Monitor heavy metal and effluent levels in the lakes at places nearest point source discharges.
  6. Monitor turbidity levels of dredging activities.
  7. Recommend central drilling locations for multiple wells in shallow areas of major lakes, such as West Cove in Calcasieu Lake, to reduce dispersion of heavy metals which have settled to the bottom in these areas.


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GROUP II

Cameron-Creole: Grand Lake Ridge: Grand Chenier: Hackberry: Johnson's Bayou

This group encompasses the communities which are spread throughout Cameron Parish, as can be seen in Figure 1 of this report. These communities have been grouped because they are the only real areas of population growth in the parish. Their problems range from lack of good ground water in Johnson: s Bayou to lack of an adequate sewer system in Hackberry, to a lack of enough jail space in Cameron (the county seat).

The goals of these communities collectively are not much different than any community and, therefore, their specifics and the implementation policies for their goals are included in the following pages.

LOCATION: Due to the lack of development quality land in Cameron Parish, the communities of Cameron Parish have been earmarked as the growth areas of the parish. Because of this designation, the communities of the parish are grouped into a single category. Even though they are scattered throughout the parish, they have the same problems and goals and, therefore, represent a cohesive group.

TOPOGRAPHIC: Primarily raised land with various forms of vegetation.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None.

SOILS: Various

SUBSIDENCE: Hackberry, Grand Lake - very low; Johnson's Bayou, Holly Beach - low; Cameron - medium; Grand Chenier - high; Creole very high.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: Medium in all communities except Holly Beach where it is high.

HYDROLOGICAL: Primarily potable water in all areas except Johnson's Bayou.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: High in all areas. Holly Beach, Johnson's Bayou, Cameron, and Grand Chenier are in a V-12 Zone; Creole is in a V-5 Zone; and Hackberry and Grand Lake are in an A-2 Zone.

VEGETATION: Various forms of marsh and dry land vegetation.

LAND USE: Residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, public, and utility.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: Hackberry and Grand Lake have some prime

RECREATION: Fishing, hunting, trapping, and water sports.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL, AND CULTURAL: The Cameron Lighthouse has recently been restored and would be considered a historical site. Cameron is the site of the Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival which is held in January of each year, and Grand Chenier is the site of the Cameron Parish Deep Sea Rodeo held each 4th of July.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Limited land for development.
  2. Sewage problem in Hackberry, parish wide sanitary landfill problems.
  3. Water quality problems in Johnson's Bayou area.
  4. Organization of land use patterns
GOALS:

To enhance development opportunities in communities and to plan for growth while reducing harmful effects which urban land uses have on the environment.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Encourage development in areas which are best suited for growth.
  2. Limit flood hazard potential as much as possible.
  3. Limit harmful effects of community waste while insuring efficient treatment of this waste.
  4. Restrict the use of having detrimental effects to water resources in sensitive areas.
  5. Plan for orderly growth in those communities which have resources to accommodate it.
POLICIES:
  1. Use of planning tools to allow for most efficient use of land.
  2. Encourage industrial growth along ship channels where spoil from ship channel dredging has turned into land suitable for development.
  3. Restriction of uses which significantly alter the flow of water.
  4. Discourage water control structures such as levees in critical water flow areas.
  5. To develop a solid waste disposal program for parish-wide waste disposal.
  6. To encourage installation of a community-wide sewage facility in Hackberry, while monitoring permeability of soils in the new subdivisions and point sources of industrial waste. Because the freshwater base in the Johnson's Bayou area is so easily penetrated by saltwater, the CAC strongly urges disposal of saltwater by means other than injection wells in this area.


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GROUP III

Sabine, Lacassine and Rockefeller Wildlife Refuges

The state and federal wildlife refuges are outside of the jurisdiction of this report. Therefore, only a brief description of their characteristics shall be covered in as much as they control the uses which occur on their respective boundaries.

GOALS:

To preserve the refuges as habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species, and to offer wildlife-oriented recreation to refuge visitors.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. To provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl, consistent with objectives of the Mississippi Flyway Council.
  2. To provide optimum habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species, including the Red Wolf, Perequine Falcon, and American Alligator.
  3. To provide optimum habitat for wildlife-oriented recreation, interpretation and environmental education for over 100,000 visitors annually.
  4. To provide optimum habitat for a wide diversity of game and non-game birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
POLICIES:
  1. Implementation of wildlife management practices, including controlled burning, water level manipulation, and cattle grazing.
  2. Constant observation and monitoring of endangered species and their habitats.
  3. Public fishing and waterfowl hunting, nature trail and observation tower, boat access rollers and launching ramps, and portable restrooms as part of the public use program.
  4. Use of freshwater impoundments and barge canal systems as part of the existing management facilities; piers, levees, lakeshore stabilization patrol substations, and water control structures as part of the proposed management facility expansions.


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GROUP IV

Cameron Meadows: Blue Buck Ridge

These two units are located in the Southwest section of the parish, west of Highway 27 and south of the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. The Cameron Meadows unit is plagued with excessive canal cuts as well as saltwater intrusion and flooding. Mitigation activities to alleviate these problems have been suggested in the goals and objectives of this EMU.

Blue Buck Ridge suffers from a poor ground water quality supply and shoreline erosion along the Sabine Lake. These problems have also been addressed in the goals and objectives.

LAND USE: Recreational, oil and gas exploration, and commercial hunting and trapping.

CAMERON MEADOWS

LOCATION: Cameron Meadows EMU runs from the Magnolia Vacuum Canal on the west of Highway 27 on the east. It lies between the southern boundary of Sabine National Wildlife Refuge on Highway 82.

TOPOGRAPHIC: Primarily intermediate and organic salt marshes with an alluvial chenier ridge along its southern border.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None.

SOILS: Primarily the Haplaquolls-Hydraquents Association (also known as the Harris Saltwater Marsh Association).

SUBSIDENCE: Ranges between medium in most of the unit to low in the southwest corner of the unit.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: Medium throughout the unit.

HYDROLOGICAL RESOURCES: Most of the unit lies in Region 4 of the water quality standard, meaning it has limited potable water sources.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: The unit lies in Zone V-12, which means it has serious flooding potential.

VEGETATION: Intermediate and brackish marshes and some saltwater marsh in the extreme southern portion of the EMU.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: None.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Saltwater intrusion.
  2. Excessive flooding.
  3. Water flow problems due to excessive canal cutting.
GOALS:

To prevent further unnecessary disruption of the marsh and restore marsh characteristics to the maximum extent possible.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Reduce saltwater intrusions
  2. Reduce water flow and flooding problems
  3. Discourage further disruption of the marshy
  4. Maintain environmental quality of the marsh
  5. Protect freshwater sources
POLICIES:
  1. Recommend the plugging of all canals traversing both saltwater and freshwater marsh areas
  2. Restrict, to the maximum extent practicable, the connection of drainage ditches in the construction of roads; thereby inhibiting continuous channels for saltwater intrusion, especially around the board roads of First and Second Bayou in the northwest corner of the Cameron Meadows unit.
  3. Stabilization of the Sabine Lake shoreline on the extreme northwest corner of the Blue Buck Ridge unit with both shell and rip-rap
  4. Recommend that any new exploration activities use existing canal cuts or slip off of theme The excessive canal cuts are particularly acute around the Old East Bayou area.
  5. Recommend the plugging of all canal cuts in both EMU's leading off significantly large existing canals or other bodies of water with a 75' plugs
  6. Encourage culvert drainage as opposed to entire canal backfill.
  7. Any canals leading off of Hamilton Lake should be immediately plugged

BLUE BUCK RIDGE

LOCATION: Located in the southwest corner of the parish, this EMU runs from the Sabine Pass on the west to the Magnolia Vacuum Canal, and lies between the Gulf and Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.

TOPOGRAPHIC: Mineral and organic salt and brackish marshes, chenier plain ridges, and intermediate marsh areas.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None.

SOILS: Haplaquolls-Hydraquents and Haplaquolls-Udipsaments Associations.

SUBSIDENCE: Low and medium subsidence in the EMU. Low subsidence in the eastern portion, and medium in the western portion.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: High along the coastline and the Sabine Pass area, and medium in the rest of the unit.

HYDROLOGICAL: The entire unit lies within Region 4 of the water quality standard and, therefore, has limited potable water supplies. Hamilton Lake near Johnson's Bayou is the only lake in the area.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: This entire area is located in flood zone V-12, and is susceptible to extreme flooding.

VEGETATION: Intermediate, brackish, saline marshes, and alluvial chenier ridges.

LAND USES: Recreational, oil and gas exploration, and commercial hunting and trapping.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

RECREATION: Fishing, hunting, and trapping.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: Five known shell middens

PROBLEMS:
  1. Shoreline erosion.
  2. Saltwater intrusion.
  3. High salinity groundwater base.
  4. Open canal cuts on Hamilton Lake.
GOALS:

To preserve the environmental characteristics of the marsh, to the extent possible, while insuring compatible development.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. To stabilize shoreline erosion.
  2. To reduce saltwater intrusion.
  3. To reduce contamination of groundwater base.
  4. To reduce salinity and chemical leakage in the Hamilton Lake.
POLICIES:
  1. Use of shell and rip-rap along Hamilton Lake.
  2. Install sediment catching fingers along the lake bank.
  3. Recommend the plugging of all canal cuts to within 75' of existing water bodies.
  4. Recommend the use of board roads wherever possible.
  5. Restrict, to the maximum extent practicable, canals leading off of Hamilton and Sabine Lakes.
  6. Recommend all chemical puts to be neutralized upon abandonment.


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GROUP V

Big Pasture Area Big Burn East Pumpkin Ridge Big Burn West

These EMU's are located east of Calcasieu Lake and lie south of the Intracoastal Waterway and north of Highway 82. The major problems in these areas are excessive flooding from floods and runoff, saltwater intrusion, street water flow interruption, marsh disruption, adverse activities associated with oil and gas exploration, and water flow from Grand Lake through the Catfish Locks operated by the Corps of Engineers.

Each of their characteristics, problems and recommendations for solutions is covered in the following pages.

BIG PASTURE

LOCATION: Runs from Calcasieu Lake on the west to Highway 27 on the eastern border and lies between the Grand Lake Ridge boundary on the north side to Sabine Wildlife Refuge annex and the Cameron-Creole EMU border to the south.

TOPOGRAPHIC: This is an area of mineral and organic fresh to brackish marsh that occurs near sea level. The area is flooded most of the time by fresh water on the northeast side of the unit. The west side is flooded by saltwater except where protected by dikes or levees and pumped off or controlled by flood gates. Much of the area is affected by tidal action and occasional tropical storms.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None.

SOILS: Primarily Haplaquolls-Hydraquents Association, but there are also soils of the Medisaprists-Haplaquolls, Morey-Beaumont, and Mowata-Morey-Crowley Associations

SUBSIDENCE: Very low in the northwestern part of the unit, very high in the northeastern part of the unit, and medium in the southern part of the unit.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: High along the shoreline of Calcasieu Lake, its western boundary. Medium in the rest of the unit.

HYDROLOGICAL: Located in Region 2 of the water quality standard guide, potable freshwater sources, no lakes or rivers in the unit.

FLOOD POTENTIAL: High. Unit split by Zone V-5 and Zone A-2.

VEGETATION: Primarily brackish marsh with some modified wetlands and coastal plains to the northwest, and brackish and fresh marsh to the northeast.

LAND USE: Wildlife habitat, cattle grazing, some energy exploration, fur trapping, and hunting.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: North central section used for rice production and cattle raising.

RECREATION: Fishing and hunting.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: Two shell middens

PROBLEMS:
  1. Saltwater intrusion from Calcasieu Lake and Intracoastal Waterway.
  2. Shoreline erosion.
  3. Sheet water marsh flow inhibited by freshwater levees.
  4. Flooding.
  5. Chemical pits left un-neutralized.
GOALS:

To reduce marsh disruption and to see that proper mitigation is undertaken to restore those marsh areas which are adversely affected by certain coastal uses.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. To reduce saltwater intrusion into freshwater marsh areas.
  2. To stabilize shoreline erosion on Calcasieu Lake and the Intracoastal Waterway.
  3. To provide adequate tools necessary for restoration of sheet water flow in marsh areas.
  4. To reduce flooding where possible.
  5. To insure continuous ring levees and neutralization of chemical pits in the Big Pasture area.
POLICIES
  1. Recommend the plugging of all new levees leading into the marsh on the west side of the Calcasieu Lake between the Sabine Wildlife Refuge annex and the Intracoastal Waterway, and leading in south from the intracoastal Waterway between Sweetlake Canal and Highway 27. Also, plug canals which come south off of Sweetlake Canal.
  2. Recommend the use of rip-rap and shell to stabilize shoreline erosion along the west side of Calcasieu Lake.


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GROUP VI

West Black Lake Black Bayou

These EMU's are located in the northwest corner of Cameron Parish above the Sabine Wildlife Refuge. The West Black Lake Management Unit is perhaps the worst unit in the parish. It suffers from extreme subsidence caused primarily by depletion of underground oil and gas resources, which were taken out in the 1930's and 1940's and for which no replacement substance such as water was added. This problem is especially acute in the east side of the unit, which is constantly flooded and therefore has little vegetation left. The outline to remedy some of these problems and to prevent further damage to this unit is outlined in the goals and objectives section.

The Black Bayou area is in fairly good shape; however, it suffers from numerous canal cuts along the Black Bayou itself as well as saltwater intrusion and shoreline erosion. The goals and objectives section of this unit follows.

WEST BLACK LAKE

LOCATION: Located between the Calcasieu-Cameron Parish line to the north and the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge and the Hackberry EMU to the south. It runs from the Cameron Farms road to the Calcasieu River.

TOPOGRAPHIC: This is perhaps the worst EMU in the coastal zone of Cameron Parish. The west side of this unit is poorly drained, subject to constant tidal action and flooding, has highly organic poorly drained, dark colored soils which are subject to subsidence. In the earlier days of drilling, oil taken out of the ground caused large amounts of subsidence and caused much of the area to sink below sea level. Several saltwater ponds and open water areas occur in the unit.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None

SOILS: Haplaquolls-Hydraquents Association and Mowata-Crowley Association.

SUBSIDENCE: Medium to high.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: High along the banks of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, medium in the rest of the unit.

HYDROLOGICAL: Region 2, Black Lake located in the unit.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: Zone A-2, extremely high in east side of the unit.

VEGETATION: Primarily brackish marsh with some intermediate marsh and some modified wetlands in the west section of the unit.

LAND USE: Oil and gas exploration, and commercial fishing.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: Near Cameron Farms on the west side of the parish.

RECREATION: Hunting, fishing.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: Three shell midden sites around Black Lake.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Severe subsidence problems.
  2. Continuous flooding.
  3. Excessive saltwater intrusion.
  4. Sheet erosion due to lack of marsh vegetation.
  5. Lake bank erosion.
GOALS:

To restrict further deterioration to the marsh, and to restore to the extent possible the environmental characteristics of the original marsh

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Reduce the subsidence potential from non-environmental sources.
  2. Reduce water level in the EMU and reduce chance of future flooding.
  3. Inhibit saltwater intrusion.
  4. Restore vegetation and remove EMU from tidal action.
  5. Restore lake bank to inhibit shoreline erosion.
POLICIES
  1. Strongly recommend that any oil company doing exploration in the unit to refill the area where oil or gas is extracted with freshwater, to reduce the chance of soil subsidence.
  2. Suggest draining the east side of the unit and levee the north side of the unit near Kelsoe Bayou.
  3. Recommend plugging any and all canals leading into the Calcasieu Lake, Black Lake, or Calcasieu Ship Channel.
  4. Recommend the installation of culverts and other water flow devices, to recreate the natural sheet flow of the unit.
  5. Recommend replanting native vegetation in the drained areas which will not currently support vegetation.
  6. Recommend the use of rip-rap and shell to stabilize shoreline erosion on the north bank of Black Lake and the west bank of the Calcasieu Lake.

BLACK BAYOU

LOCATION: From Cameron Farms to the Sabine River/Texas border lying between the Cameron-Calcasieu Parish border and the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.

TOPOGRAPHIC: The eastern part of the unit is poorly drained, dark colored soils on the prairie. The west part of the EMU is mineral and organic brackish marsh.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None.

SOILS: Haplaquolls-Hydraquents and Morey-Beaumont Associations.

SUBSIDENCE: Medium to very low.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: Medium to low.

HYDROLOGICAL: Black Bayou is located in the unit, potable groundwater base.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: From low in some areas to high in others (near Sabine Lake), Zone A-Z.

VEGETATION: Fresh, intermediate and brackish with some coastal plain around the Cameron Farms area.

LAND USE: Agricultural, recreational, oil and gas exploration, and commercial hunting and fishing.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: Three shell Hidden sites.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Saltwater intrusion.
  2. Extensive canal cuts.
  3. Stream bank erosion along Black Bayou.
GOALS:

To protect the marshlands of the Black Bayou EMU from deterioration and excessive adverse coastal uses.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Limit saltwater intrusion.
  2. Limit canal cuts.
  3. Inhibit further shoreline erosion along Black Bayou.
POLICIES:
  1. Canal cuts leading into major waterways which are not used for navigation should be plugged.
  2. Recommend the use of board roads for transportation into the marsh, where feasibly.
  3. Rip-rap and shell should be used to stabilize banks of the major water body in Black Bayou.


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NON-GROUPED EMU'S

These EMU's are addressed separately, due to special characteristics or their inability to be associated with other groups.

WEST COVE

The West Cove area covers the west cove of Calcasieu Lake, which is located west of the Ship Channel and that area of land west of the lake and east of Highway 27. The problems of this unit include the stirring of heavy metals from the bottom in the shallow areas of the cove caused by multiple drilling sites, high turbidity levels and oyster reef destruction from underwater construction activities and saltwater intrusion, flooding, erosion on the land or marsh area of this unit.

Several ideas to reduce these problems are given in the policy section of this unit.

LOCATION: Located west of the Calcasieu Ship Channel to Highway 27, and lying between the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge and the Gulf of Mexico.

TOPOGRAPHIC: An area of mineral and organic salt and brackish marsh subject to tidal action and frequent flooding.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None.

SOILS: Haplaquolls-Hydraquents and Haplaquolls-Udipsaments Associations.

SUBSIDENCE: Primarily medium and some low near the coast (along the chenier ridge).

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: High along the cost and along the banks of the West Cove of the Calcasieu River.

HYDROLOGICAL: Contains the West Cove of Calcasieu River and has primarily a potable water base.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: Very high, Zone V-12.

VEGETATION: Primarily brackish marsh, some salt and intermediate as well.

LAND USE: Industrial development along west bank of ship channel, oil and gas exploration, and commercial fishing.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

RECREATION: Boating, fishing, and hunting.

HISTORICAL, ARCHEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: None.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Dredging activities in the shallow waters of West Cove cause the resuspension of heavy metals, which have settled on the bottom into the water.
  2. Oyster reefs must be protected from disrupting activities such as pipeline construction.
  3. High turbidity levels.
  4. Saltwater intrusions.
  5. Shoreline erosion.
GOALS:

To reduce detrimental effects to marine life in Calcasieu Lake, and to reduce marsh disruption in the West Cove EMU.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Reduce frequent drilling activities in different sites in the West Cove of Calcasieu Lake.
  2. Protect oyster reefs from disruption.
  3. Reduce turbidity levels in Calcasieu Lake.
  4. Inhibit saltwater intrusion.
  5. Prevent further shoreline erosion.
POLICIES:
  1. Recommend that multiple well drilling in the shallow areas of West Cove be carried on from a central point, to reduce redispersal of heavy metals and to reduce turbidity.
  2. Recommend underwater construction activities, such as pipelines through state-designated oyster reefs, be restricted to the maximum extent practicable.
  3. Provide jetties on either side of the open areas of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, to reduce turbidity.
  4. All but main transportation canals leading into land areas from the West Cove of Calcasieu Lake should be plugged, to reduce saltwater intrusion.
  5. Rip-rap and shell should be used to prevent further erosion along the banks of the Calcasieu Lake.

HOLLY BEACH

Holly Beach is the primary recreational beach in Cameron Parish. It is located south of Highway 27, a few miles west of the Calcasieu Ship Channel ferry. its foremost problems are erosion, which has been significantly reducing the beach area for years, littering, and lack of beach maintenance and emergency vehicles.

This beach is used by visitors from all over Louisiana and surrounding states and is an important part of Cameron Parish's tourism business.

LOCATION: South of Highway 82 between the West Cove and Johnson's Bayou environmental management units.

TOPOGRAPHIC: Chenier ridge sandy soils with poorly drained clayey soils between cheniers. Primarily beach area adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico.

SOILS: Haplaquolls-Udipsaments Association.

SUBSIDENCE: Low.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: Very high.

HYDROLOGICAL: Saltwater ground base due to proximity to Gulf of Mexico.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: High, Zone V-12.

VEGETATION: Saline marsh and saltwater beach vegetation.

LAND USE: Recreational, and commercial hunting and fishing.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: None.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Shoreline erosion.
  2. Littering.
  3. Lack of adequate beach maintenance and law enforcement.
GOALS:

To restore the recreational quality of Holly Beach, and to reverse shoreline erosion along its Gulf of Mexico banks.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Stabilize shoreline erosion.
  2. Upgrade policing activities.
  3. Insure adequate beach maintenance.
POLICIES:
  1. Recommend the use of jetties, breakwaters, and other sediment-catching devises to reduce harmful erosion effects of tidal action, and to restore some of the beach area.
  2. Increase policing of Holly Beach and give tickets for littering of the beach.
  3. Recommend the purchase of equipment to maintain the beach and for emergency purposes.

CALCASIEU RIVER

Saltwater intrusion reaches from Calcasieu Lake to north of Lake Charles on the Calcasieu River. This translates into almost 40 miles of saltwater intrusion into southwest Louisiana, due in part to barge traffic through the Calcasieu Ship Channel and the Intracoastal Waterway. There is also a large petrochemical industry base set up along the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles which releases pollution into the water. Therefore, the Calcasieu River unit is a special unit which has been set up to monitor saltwater and pollution levels in Calcasieu Lake.

The goals for its operation are found on the following pages.

LOCATION: A narrow strip following either side of the Calcasieu Ship Channel between the Calcasieu Parish line and the Hackberry EMU.

TOPOGRAPHIC: An area of organic and mineral brackish marsh through which the Calcasieu Ship Channel passes.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None.

SOILS: Hapaquolls-Hydraquents Association.

SUBSIDENCE: Medium.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: High.

HYDROLOGICAL: Potable groundwater base, ship channel, flooded marsh areas.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: High

VEGETATION: Brackish marsh.

LAND USE: Oil and gas exploration, commercial barge traffic, and commercial hunting and fishing.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

RECREATION: Fishing and hunting.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Pollution.
  2. Saltwater intrusion.
  3. Flooding.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: None.

GOALS:

To provide better water quality for recreational purposes in Calcasieu Lake and Cameron Parish.

OBJECTIVES: To monitor pollution levels and saltwater intrusion levels in Calcasieu Lake.

POLICIES:
  1. A water quality station should be set up at this EMU to determine the effect of pollution from the north of Calcasieu Parish and from the traffic in the Calcasieu Ship Channel.
  2. Monitor the extent of saltwater intrusion in north Calcasieu Lake and the effect which the ship channel and the Intracoastal Waterway have on this saltwater level.

HOG BAYOU

Hog Bayou is the primary saltwater marsh area along the Gulf of Mexico in Cameron Parish, as such it is the foremost estaurine breeding ground for saltwater marine life. Because of its sensitivity to many coastal uses and the importance of its role in the seafood industry, certain guidelines to preserve its character must be set forth. They are listed in the goals, objectives, and policies sections for this EMU in the following pages.

LOCATION: West of the Mermentau River to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge and south of Highway 82.

TOPOGRAPHIC: This is an area of organic saltwater marsh that occurs at or many times below sea level in the southern part of the parish. The area is flooded by saltwater except where protected by dikes and drained by pumps or where it is controlled by floodgates. Much of the area is affected by tidal action and occasional tropical storms. Many saltwater ponds and tidal channels are present.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: Large saltwater estuarine area.

SOILS: Haplaquolls-Hydraquents Association.

SUBSIDENCE: High throughout the unit.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: High along the coastal area, medium in the northern part of the unit.

HYDROLOGICAL: Saltwater surface ponds, potable water underground source.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: High, Zone V-12.

VEGETATION: Saline and brackish marsh.

LAND USE: Oil and gas exploration, marine estaurine area, recreation, and commercial hunting and trapping.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

RECREATION: Fishing and hunting.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: Shell midden sites along the Mermentau River.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Extremely sensitive estuarine areas.
  2. No flooding protection along Bayou Labauve.
  3. Chemical pits un-neutralized at drilling sites.
  4. Shoreline erosion.
GOALS:

To protect one of the major saltwater nursery areas in the parish, and to protect the natural marsh characteristics of the Hog Bayou EMU.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Reduce potential for detrimental effects on sensitive estuarine areas.
  2. Reduce flood hazards from freshwater areas.
  3. Reduce hazard of un-neutralized chemical pits seeping out into marshland.
  4. Reduce potential for shoreline erosion.
POLICIES:
  1. To limit the amount of detrimental activity in the estuarine areas of Hog Bayou by recommending use of board roads and directional drilling (where feasible) for well sites, and for pipelines to go around estaurine areas (where feasible).
  2. Recommend the neutralization of chemical pits at drill sites.
  3. Recommend restricting increased salinity levels in estuarine areas which could damage the habitat.


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WATERSHED WORK PLAN

CAMERON-CREOLE WATERSHED

Cameron Parish, Louisiana

January 1967, 1971, 1982

SUMMARY PLAN

This work plan is for watershed protection, flood prevention, and agricultural water management in the Cameron-Creole Watershed. It was prepared by the Gravity Drainage District No. 3 and Gravity Drainage District No. 4 of Cameron Parish, the Cameron Parish Police Jury, and the Gulf Coast Soil and Water Conservation District as the sponsoring local organizations. Technical assistance was provided by the Department of Public Works of the State of Louisiana, the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife of the U. S. Department of Interior, and the Soil Conservation Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

The watershed contains about 11 3,ooo acres, or 177 square miles, in Cameron Parish. Approximately 1 percent of the area is in crop-land, 8 percent is in pastureland, 68 percent is in rangeland, and 23 percent is in miscellaneous uses which include the National Wildlife Refuge, villages, farmsteads, roads, etc. The Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife administers 14,926 acres, and the Cameron Parish School Board administers about 1,280 acres. The remainder of the area is privately owned.

All of the watershed land is level to nearly level. The elevations range from sea level to 8 feet above sea level. All land below the approximate elevation of 2 feet above sea level is considered marsh and approximately 82 percent of the watershed is in this category. Land that is above this elevation consists of several ridges, locally referred to as "cheniers", and practically all the watershed residents have their homes on these cheniers.

Cameron (population about 3,000) and Creole (population about 500) are the only villages in the watershed.

There are both saltwater marshes and freshwater marshes within the watershed, and both are highly productive range sites for grazing cattle and for wildlife habitat. The natural vegetation that is desirable as forage plants for cattle produces from 2,000 pounds of air-dry herbage per acre up to 10,000 pounds. This marsh area is centered in one of the major duck and geese wintering areas of the United States.

This area has deteriorated as a wetland marsh since the mid-1940's. due to increasing soil and water saline content, undesirable fluctuation of low water levels, and extremely high floodwater inundation.

These conditions alternately occur. Flooding of the marsh occurs from storm runoff in the Calcasieu River watershed, from abnormally high tide events, and from high direct precipitation.

The primary objectives of the project are watershed protection, flood prevention, and water management for range. The proposed plan will meet these objectives by installing, in a 5-year period, a project for the protection and development of the watershed. The total estimated installation cost is $32 million for the levee and approximately $3~ million for the structure. Public Law 566 will bear about 75-80 percent of this cost. Other interests will bear the entire cost of operation and maintenance.

Structural Measures

Structural measures planned consist of about 19 miles of single purpose levee for flood prevention, 35 miles of multiple-purpose channel improvement for flood prevention and agricultural water management, multiple-purpose water control structures for flood prevention and agricultural water management.

Benefits

Approximately 3,600 persons live within the watershed and will receive benefits from the installation of the project. Benefits will result directly to about 98,074 acres involving about 295 landowners and operators and to 14,926 acres of the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge administered by the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife.

An estuaries study is presently being carried out by Louisiana Cooperative Fishery Research Personnel from LSU to determine the number and kind of structures to be placed in the openings going into Calcasieu Lake.

THE BIG BURN MANAGEMENT AREA

Location: The Big Burn Management Unit is located in the western portion of the Mermentau drainage system and is situated approximately 15 miles south-southeast of of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and 8 miles north of Grand Chenier, Louisiana, in Cameron Parish It is bordered to the west by Louisiana Highway 27, and to the east by Grand Lake The north is bounded by the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge; the southern boundary is adjacent to and north of Little Chenier Ridge and the Mermentau River.

Size and Location

Large ponds, bayous, and canals make up approximately 7% of the 59,301-acre management unit (Fish and Wildlife Service, 1982). The major pond area is located directly in the center and the southeast corner of the management unit

The western side of the area is interspersed with small ponds and broken marsh. The extreme western edge of the area, totaling several hundred acres, is open water. This phenomenon was caused by saltwater intrusion. The northeast section of the management unit is a closed stand wiregrass marsh interspersed with location canals.

HISTORY

The Big Burn marsh received its name following the 1924-25 drought. During the drought, extensive peat burns scoured the marsh 1.5 to 1.8 meters to the clay subsoil (Lynch, 1941; ol Neil,1949) . Since the 1924-25 burn, many of the ponds created by the peat burn have reverted to climax vegetation. Although this area was historically an estuarine nursery ground, it no longer functions in this capacity as far as fisheries are concerned (Gunter & Shell, 1958; Morton, 1973). Since the installation of a number of water control structures in 1950, (at Catfish Point, Schooner Bayou, Superior Canal, Vermilion River, Calcasieu River, and Freshwater Bayou) the Mermentau Basin has essentially become one large freshwater impoundment (Gosselink et al, 1979).

Ecological Stage

The major portion of the management unit is included in the fresh marsh area of the Vegetative Type Map of Louisiana Coastal Marshes (Chabreck and Linscombe, 1978) A narrow strip of marsh running along the east side of Louisiana Highway 27 from the Gibbstown Bridge to Little Chenier Road is classified as intermediate marsh. The portion of the management unit designated as fresh marsh is in a climax vegetational state, while the narrow band of marsh running along the east side of Louisiana Highway 27 is in a sub-climax state.

In 1978, saltwater intruded into the west side of the Big Burn Management Unit, causing the destruction of several hundred acres of fresh and intermediate marsh plants (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1979). When environmental factors have stabilized, this area should revert to a climax vegetational situation.

BIG BURN WEST

LOCATION: Runs from Highway 27 to Grand Lake and the Mermentau River, and lies between the Intracoastal Waterway and Little Chenier Ridge.

TOPOGRAPHIC: This is an area of mineral and organic fresh to brackish marsh that occurs near sea level occurring at or near sea level. The area is flooded most of the time by water, except for the west side of the unit which is flooded by saltwater much of the time and is slowly becoming a brackish marsh. Peat soils make up about 60% of the area with organic surfaces from 18-40 inches thick over a grey clay subsoil.

SOILS: Primarily Medisaprists-Haplaquolls Association with Haplaquolls-Hydraquents Association in the southeast corner.

LAND USE POTENTIAL: High throughout most of the unit.

HYDROLOGICAL: Located in Region 2, no major water bodies in unit.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: Very high, located in Zone V-5.

UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL FEATURES: None.

SUBSIDENCE: Very high throughout the unit.

VEGETATION: Fresh and brackish marsh.

LAND USE: Recreation, oil and gas exploration, and commercial hunting and trapping.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

RECREATION: Hunting and fishing.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Excess flooding from rain and runoff from surrounding areas.
  2. Water control structures need to be operated according to weather conditions.
  3. Saltwater encroachment on the freshwater marsh areas.
  4. Lake bank erosion on Grand Lake.
GOALS:

To maintain characteristics of fresh- and saltwater marshes, to control flooding and its harmful effects, and to inhibit saltwater intrusion.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. To reduce chance of flooding.
  2. To suggest maintaining the Calcasieu locks according to weather conditions, as well as other criteria.
  3. To reduce saltwater encroachment.
  4. To reduce erosion on lake banks.
POLICIES:
  1. Recommend the installation of culverts and other water-flow structures.
  2. Monitoring of the Cameron-Creole Watershed Project.
  3. Suggest that the Corps of Engineers consider weather conditions (such as drought or flooding) as well as water level on Grand Lake for opening and closing the Catfish Locks on Grand Lake.
  4. Consider the building of levees between the fresh- and saltwater or brackish marshes near the Little Pecan Lake area.
  5. Recommend the plugging of all canals leading off Grand Lake not used for commercial transportation.
  6. Recommend the use of rip-rap, shell, and sediment catch-ing fingers to reduce erosion on Grand Lake.

LAND USE: Agriculture, oil and gas exploration, water storage, wildlife habitat, and commercial hunting and trapping.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

RECREATION: Hunting and fishing.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: Twenty-one shell midden sites throughout the unit.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Excess flooding from rain and runoff in the area.
  2. Lack of seasonal adjustments from the Catfish locks on Grand Lake.
  3. Recommend that mitigative measures for marsh restoration include educating the landowner as to possible alternatives, and include him in the decision-making process.
  4. Severe land loss and subsidence potential create conditions which are non-conducive to board roads for oil and gas exploration activities, therefore canal cuts have become numerous in some areas.
GOALS:

To control excessive flooding in the unit, and to direct coastal uses in the unit in a way as to reduce marsh disruption.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Insure that runoff and rainwater have proper drainage to prevent excessive flooding.
  2. Alleviate detrimental effects from coastal uses.
POLICIES:
  1. Monitor the efficiency of the Cameron-Creole Watershed project, which is designed to alleviate this excess flooding.
  2. Recommend that transport activities associated with energy exploration be limited to existing canals, since board roads are not feasible (due to soil conditions) and since numerous canal cuts already exist.
  3. Request that the Corps of Engineers at the Catfish Locks on Grand Lake consider weather conditions, as well as water level, on Grand Lake.
  4. Based on the experience of Rockefeller Refuge personnel, the CAC recommends that any state or federal agencies demonstrate evidence to the landowner that backfilling is the best mitigative measure for that particular area,

PUMPKIN RIDGE

LOCATION: This EMU runs from Highway 27 to the Mermentau River and lies between Little Chenier Ridge and the Mermentau River and Lower Mud Lake.

TOPOGRAPHIC: Primarily intermediate and fresh marsh with organic peat soils, flooded most of the time from the Mermentau River to the west and Big Burn West to the north with freshwater.

UNIQUE GEOLOGICAL FEATURES: Alluvial chenier ridges.

SOILS: Haplaquolls-Hydraquents Association interspersed with Haplaquolls-Udipsaments Association.

SUBSIDENCE: Low subsidence potential throughout the EMU.

LAND LOSS POTENTIAL: Medium land loss potential.

HYDROLOGICAL: Region 2 of water quality standards, no major rivers or lakes in the unit.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: High throughout the unit, which is located entirely in Zone V-5.

VEGETATION: Primarily intermediate marsh with some chenier ridge areas and fresh marsh to the north, and brackish marsh to the south.

LAND USE: Recreation, oil and gas exploration, and commercial hunting and trapping.

IMPORTANT FARMLANDS: None.

RECREATION: Hunting and fishing.

HISTORICAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL: One shell midden along the Mermentau River.

PROBLEMS:
  1. Saltwater intrusion from the south.
  2. Occasional flooding from the north.
  3. Siltation along the banks of the Mermentau.
GOALS:

To maintain good marsh habitat and preserve individual marsh characteristics.

OBJECTIVES:
  1. Reduce flooding potential.
  2. Reduce saltwater intrusion.
  3. Reduce detrimental affects to the Mermentau River.
POLICIES:
  1. To insure proper water flow from the Little Chenier areas to the north.
  2. Recommend that all canals opening into the Pumpkin Ridge from the Hog Bayou EMU to the south and from the Mermentau River to the east be plugged.
  3. Plug canals along the Mermentau River to help eliminate siltation from the Pumpkin Ridge EMU, and reduce the potential to decrease river velocity.

Assumption
Calcasieu
Cameron
Iberia
Jefferson
Lafourche
Livingston
Orleans
Plaquemines
St. Bernard
St. Charles
St. James
St. John the Baptist
St. Martin
St. Mary
St. Tammany
Tangipahoa
Terrebonne
Vermilion