Mar 28, 2013 2:53 PM by Ian Auzenne
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is considering designating the Bayou Teche as a historic and scenic waterway. Several of our viewers contacted us to express concern that such a designation would harm the local economy by restricting sugarcane farming and other industries tied to the bayou. We contacted DWF to find out whether these concerns are valid.
According to Kyle Balkum, a biologist with LDWF, current sugarcane activities on the Bayou Teche would be grandfathered into any new act. Balkum also states the designation would not harm any recreational activities on the bayou. However, Balkum says any new construction or other activity along the Bayou Teche would have to be considered for a permit.
One viewer asked whether he would still be able to cut down trees on his property. According to Balkum, landowners would still be able to fell trees on their property for personal use. Balkum stated that clearing trees within 100 feet for commercial purposes would be illegal if the Bayou Teche receives the historic designation.
Balkum listed several other prohibitions that would be put in place if the Bayou Teche is named a historic and scenic waterway. The removal of most trees and obstructions would be banned, and resevoir obstructions would be prohibited. In addition, no one could create a canal from the bayou or realign the bayou's path. Balkum added, however, that exemptions to these prohibitions could be added into a bill before the historic and scenic designations are conferred.
(Photo Courtesy: www.TreesAcadiana.org)