NewsLafayette Parish


Volunteers clean Vermilion River for International Coastal Clean-up Day

Posted at 1:58 PM, Sep 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-20 00:09:31-04

LAFAYETTE, La. - Volunteers joined together Saturday for International Coastal Clean-up Day.

Parish Proud and United Way of Acadiana partnered with the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act, TECHE Project, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Bayou Vermilion District, Acadiana Native Plant Project, Paddle the Gulf and Gulf of Mexico Alliance to clean up the Vermilion River.

International Coastal Clean-up Day is a coastal-wide cleanup day with site locations from New Orleans to Lafayette.

As the southern portion of the US, South Louisiana knows what it looks like when "all waterways lead to the coast." Water doesn't flow uphill and what our neighbors to the north put in the rivers and streams flows downward to our southern region of the state and into the Gulf of Mexico. Likewise, loose debris upstream makes its way into watershed. This litter not only impacts appearance, more importantly, it contributes to flooding as well.

Executive Director, Katy Dupre said she's excited to see change happening in our community. Volunteers met at Lajaunie Road in Lafayette, which follows along the river. Lajaunie Road is a known litter hotspot in the area and is a source of litter for the Vermilion.

"Our coast was designed to protect us from mother nature's wrath, like Hurricane Laura, as well as provide us with a sense of place. Over the years, our wetlands and marshes have eroded as a result of us not taking care of the places we call home," Dupre said, "We need to keep the Vermillion River, as well as our entire watershed, clean and litter-free."

Joining Parish Proud at Lajaunie Road, United Way of Acadiana brought their volunteer expertise to help join the fight to clean up Lafayette.

"United Way of Acadiana is encouraged by Parish Proud's efforts to improve the visual quality of our space," said Carlee Alm-LaBar, President/CEO. "This is just another step in our partnership to match volunteers with opportunities that better our community as a whole. United Way of Acadiana believes we win by LIVING UNITED - by forging unlikely partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems, and mobilizing the best resources. This beautifully displays United Way's partnership with Parish Proud to improve Acadiana through beautification efforts."

"Unfortunately, Lajaunie Road has a history of dumping, so we regularly see bags of trash and junk piled along the roadway, it really is a detriment to what should be a scenic area," Bess Foret, Environmental Quality Manager at Lafayette Consolidated Government said, "The continual clean-ups cost the taxpayer's money, so we are working with other agencies to determine how to stop the dumping through education and enforcement. We're grateful for volunteer clean-up efforts like this and excited to continue supporting Parish Proud!"

"We address it on regular basis and we start with a day of awareness and action like today for Coastal Clean-Up Day," said Jennifer Guidry, Outreach Coordinator for CWPPRA. "We can have a great impact that continues to perpetuate itself."

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