Scenic Rivers

In 1970, the Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System. The System was developed for the purpose of preserving, protecting, developing, reclaiming, and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regimes of certain free-flowing Louisiana streams. Today, there are approximately 3000 miles of Louisiana designated Natural and Scenic Rivers. These rivers, streams and bayous, and segments thereof, are located throughout the state and offer unique opportunities for individuals and communities to become involved in the protection, conservation and preservation of two of Louisiana's greatest natural resources; its wilderness and its water.

The Louisiana Scenic Rivers Program is administered by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Sierra Club Delta Chapter was active in creating the Scenic Rivers System and continues to be active in monitoring LDWF administration of the program. Delta Chapter has also been active in pushing for high quality rivers, streams and bayous to be added to the list of protected waterways in the Scenic Rivers System. To see the official Scenic Rivers Page you can go to: LDWF Scenic Rivers

Bad Project Stopped – The Washington Parish Reservoir - Update

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US Army Corps of Engineers received an application for a 404 permit to dam up Bogue Lusa Creek approximately 5.8 miles south of the city of Sheridan and conduct mechanized land clearing for the creation of an approximately 3,262 acre reservoir in Washington Parish, Louisiana. The applicant’s stated project purpose was to provide water, recharge aquifers and provide recreation areas and economic development opportunities… The impoundment would produce a long, thin, five finger lake 5.5 miles long and up to 3,000 ft wide.

Another Louisiana Scenic River Saved From The Frackers

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Sierra Club has been notified that Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has denied a request from Comstock Resources to withdraw 12,600,000 gallons of water from the Amite River in East Feliciana Parish for use in fracking for oil and gas. The water would have been withdrawn from the Scenic River, used for fracking and then disposed as hazardous waste.

Update - LDWF will hold public hearing on Oct 29, 2014 to consider permit application to withdraw water from the Amite River for fracking

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LDWF will hold public hearing on Oct 29, 2014 to consider Scenic River permit application #906 to withdraw water from the Amite River for hydraulic fracturing. The permit application is submitted by Comstock Resources to withdraw 12.6 million gallons from the Scenic Amite River. 

We are asking Sierra Club members and allies who are opposed to fracking in the Florida parishes to show up at this public hearing. You can also submit written statements to the hearing record. 

Four of the five permits to be considered at public hearing have been withdrawn

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In a victory for the environment four out of the five applications to withdraw huge amounts of water from our scenic rivers have been withdrawn. This represents a significant victory for Sierra Club Delta Chapter. We have been in the forefront of the battle to protect our Louisiana Scenic Rivers by keeping the oil and gas companies from using huge quantities of scenic rivers water for fracking in the Florida parishes.

Sierra Club had filed comments on all the applications for withdrawal of water from scenic rivers pointing to numerous areas in which insufficient or contradictory information has been provided. And we demanded that public hearings be held regarding the permit applications. A public hearing had been set for Oct 29, 2014 for five recent applications to withdraw water. That public hearing is in now in doubt because four out of the five applications to be considered at that hearing have now been withdrawn. We have sent a request for clarification to LDWF and will update you here. 

Recently withdrawn permits include #s 902, 903 and 911 on the Tickfaw River in St. Helena Parish, and #904 on the Amite River in East Feliciana Parish. The withdrawal of these permit applications means that we have saved a total of 75 million gallons of scenic river water from being turned into toxic waste. 

Frackers Withdraw from the Tangipahoa River

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The Delta Chapter Sierra Club has worked for years to protect Louisiana's Scenic Rivers. Our work has paid off on the Tangipahoa River. On 8-29-2014, Goodrich Petroleum voluntarily withdrew its Application for a Scenic River Permit to "extract" twenty five million (25,000,000) gallons of "outstanding natural resource" water from the tiny river for use as fracking fluid. 

Fracking Threatens Scenic Rivers in the Florida Parishes

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Oil and gas development companies are proposing to drill wells and conduct fracking operations in the Tuscalusa Shale in East Feliciana, St. Helena, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany Parishes in eastern Louisiana. One of the major impacts of the proposed fracking for natural gas and oil will be the huge volumes of water required. Each fracking operation can have three, five or up to ten or twelve wells and can use anywhere from 3 to 8 million gallons of fresh water. The water for each well may be mixed with 60 to 160 tons of chemicals used to facilitate the fracking process.

Update on La Wildlife and Fisheries Commission consideration of rule banning ATVs in Scenic Rivers

We did good in the La Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting on Oct 3. The meeting room was full with people standing around the sides. We were outnumbered by ATV people who were there in opposition to a rule restricting use of motor vehicles in Louisiana Scenic Rivers. La Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club Delta Chapter were there along with concerned landowners to testify in favor of the rule. The Commission voted unanimously to file a notice of intent to amend the Natural and Scenic River Systems Rules and Regulations. The Commission seems to be leaning toward enacting the rule but they need our support. The hearing record is open for public comments until Nov 29. Please send comments to LDWF supporting the rule to prohibit use of motor vehicles in Louisiana Scenic Rivers. For more info you can go to our earlier story on this website entitled "ATVs Turn Scenic River into a Motorway."

Please submit written comments on the amended rule to:

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Keith Cascio, Scenic Rivers Coordinator, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email at kcascio@wlf.la.gov through Dec. 20, 2013 [the original Nov. 29, 2013 deadline for comments has been extended].

Here is a link to the LDWF explanation of the proposed rule.

Here below is a sample comment letter. Your comments can be very simple as in the following letter, or you can make changes that reflect your own experience and interest in conservation of natural waterways. What counts is that we get a lot of supporting letters to LDWF.

ATVs Turn Scenic River Into a Motorway

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The stretch of the Comite River that runs from the Wilson-Clinton Hwy in East Feliciana Parish to the entrance of White Bayou in East Baton Rouge Parish is a Louisiana Scenic River protected by the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act. In the last few years some stretches of the river have been turned into motorways by hordes of ATV riders blasting through the water and along the sandbars. Videos titled "Riding the Comite River" which were taken by the riders themselves and posted on Youtube show the damage. The Scenic Rivers Act states that This system shall be administered for the purposes of preserving, protecting, developing, reclaiming, and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regime of certain free-flowing streams or segments thereof.

HCR 68 Continues Study of Bayou Teche

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House Concurrent Resolution 68 by Representative Stephen Ortego has passed the Louisiana Legislature and continues the study of Bayou Teche for designation as a Historic and Scenic River under the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act. HCR 68 focuses the study on the portions of Bayou Teche flowing through St. Martin Parish and St. Landry Parish. HCR 49 in last year’s (2012) legislature had requested La Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries to study inclusion of the entire length of Bayou Teche in four parishes.

Scenic Rivers on a Roll

The Sierra Club campaign to elevate the visibility and effectiveness of the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Program is on a roll. On Feb 23 we organized and presented a Scenic Rivers Panel at the Tulane Environmental Summit. A room full of people learned about the legal basis, the history and the practical effect of the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act. The panel was organized by our Scenic Rivers campaign leader Hugh Penn.

Second, the Delta Chapter has several wins to report. In the time we have been working on this, the Secretary of DWF has agreed to write new Management Plans for the Scenic Bayou Liberty, the Scenic Bayou Manchac and the Scenic West Pearl. These three new plans will serve as templates for other new plans state wide and will result in better protection of existing water quality, wilderness qualities and scenic values.

We are also working with LDWF to improve their website for use by the public. We are working to persuade LDWF to post the eight hundred (800) existing Scenic Rivers Permits, all 63 Management Plans and new Applications for Scenic Rivers Permits online for public comment.

The Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act is one of the best statutes in the country for helping to preserve and enhance natural streams. The Act was passed into state law in the early 1970’s and if administered with adequate resources could be one of our most effective tools in helping to protect natural places in Louisiana.

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