BP disaster funds proposed for Des Allemands’ new boat launch

By Anna Thibodeaux

Public can comment on the project

After years of pursuing a new boat launch for Des Allemands, St. Charles Parish Councilman Paul Hogan said the project is now being considered for BP disaster funds.

“I think it’s great that the project is listed in the plan after years of pursuing grant funding,” Hogan said.

The proposed boat launch is named on the Louisiana Trustees Restoration Plan, which proposes projects to restore lost public recreational uses and reduce agricultural nutrient runoff in Louisiana’s coastal watersheds injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The public can comment on the projects and/or draft plan until May 21.

Having the land donation lined up for the site made it possible to propose it for grant funding with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department (W&F), according to Hogan.

W&F submitted the project along with others to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). Hogan said the agency contacted state entities for possible projects for disaster funding.

CPRA has proposed $38 million in project alternatives aimed at creation and enhancement of recreational opportunities, which includes public access to natural resources for recreational use; infrastructure for fishing, camping and boating, as well as educational and outreach components to support use and stewardship of natural resources.

Hogan said he’s encouraging parish residents to comment on the boat launch to ensure the estimated $1.8 million project stays in the plan and is funded.

“Even if it’s partial (funding), I’m satisfied and appreciate the funds,” he said.

Hogan said the parish is making headway with the Wiegand property with an appraisal done and negotiation underway for a potential West Bank boat launch.

Property owner Robert Wiegand has agreed to donate 4 acres in Des Allemands that Hogan has long pushed to accept. Fellow council members, however, maintain Hogan has usurped the recommendations of the West Bank Boat Launch Citizens Advisory Committee, which was named to recommend launch sites to the administration.

Committee President Richard Whitney agreed with the Des Allemands location, as well as favors Parish President Larry Cochran’s move to buy Wiegand’s entire 15-acre parcel off WPA Road fronting on Mud Lake, which appraised at $60,000.

Efforts shifted toward finalizing the donation in addition to buying additional acreage there when it was determined the parish’s levee expansion could take up half of the donated land in the future.

Comments on the project can be submitted in writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 49567, Atlanta, GA 30345.

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