Release Date: 12/27/2005

The hurricane debris removal efforts of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Resource Section will equally benefit the agency and property owners in southeast St. Tammany Parish.

Cooperative recovery projects of this nature, where state and parish government utilize their resources, are an important part of the massive post-storm clean up that is now underway, said Parke Moore, Office of Wildlife assistant secretary.

Acres of wetlands in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) adjacent to the West Pearl River were moved by Hurricane Katrinas wind and storm surge into the main channel of the river. River navigation and the flow of water were blocked in what is a primary drainage artery for the parish. The debris mass, composed of trees, limbs and marsh vegetation, was also diverting water through the wildlife management area. 

I want to thank the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries for their assistance in this project, said St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis. Many subdivisions east of Slidell depend upon the Pearl River basin for drainage.  It is essential that the river be open and flowing to prevent home flooding when the spring rains start.

Pearl River WMA lost an estimated 80 percent of the canopy cover of its hardwood trees, according to Randy Myers, LDWF biologist manager. I didnt recognize the area when I first flew over it, said Myers. It had changed that much.

An estimated 35 thousand cubic yards of debris were removed from the West Pearl during the project that began Dec. 5. LDWF personnel moved an agency tugboat and crane into position and worked 10-hour shifts daily through Dec. 15 to clear the blockage in the rivers main channel. 

We needed to clean the West Pearl as quickly as possible, said LDWFs Construction Manager Dennis Kropog.  The blockages were changing the hydrology of the area and the Pearl River was starting to re-channel. 

EDITORS: For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.louisiana.gov. Projects photos are available upon request.