LWF comments on Wetland Assimilation Program

Louisiana Wildlife Federation sent the following letter to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) regarding the wetland assimilation program. In the 2019 legislative session, House Concurrent Resolution 42 (HCR42) passed calling for a study of the “overall impacts of wetland assimilation projects prior to approval of additional such projects and to provide a comprehensive program evaluation report”. Sent with the letter was LWF’s comprehensive comment paper on the program addressing both the internal (LDEQ) and external (Naturally Wallace Consulting) reviews of the wetland assimilation program as well as other concerns.

Read LWF’s full response here for more details about our concerns for the wetland assimilation program and our continued position in support of a moratorium on new projects.

Related documents:

  1. HCR 42 full text
  2. LDEQ Report in response to HCR 42.
  3. Naturally Wallace Consulting report on wetland assimilation program.
  4. LWF’s letter and comment paper in response to LDEQ and Naturally Wallace Consulting reviews.
  5. LWF’s 2019 blog announced the passage of HCR 42.
  6. LWF’s support for a moratorium was announced in 2017.

Dear Secretary Brown:

On behalf of Louisiana Wildlife Federation, I am attaching our comments to the South Slough Wetland Evaluation Report prepared by Naturally Wallace Consulting, LLC and the Department’s report on the Wetland Assimilation Program that was in response to House Concurrent Resolution 42 of 2019. We appreciate the agency’s attention to these comments and look forward to a response.

Thank you for engaging additional external review of the most highly criticized wetland assimilation project, the City of Hammond/South Slough Wetland Wastewater Assimilation Project. We ask for independent review of other projects across the state so the public can get a fuller view of the long-term impacts of these projects and whether they have met the expected benefits for maintaining healthy wetland habitat, along with meeting the state’s Coastal Master Plan’s goals of reducing coastal flood risk, promoting sustainable ecosystems, providing habitats for a variety of commercial and recreational activities coast wide, and strengthening communities.

LWF continues to support a moratorium on new permits for additional wastewater wetland assimilation projects due to our concerns outlined in the attached document.  The Naturally Wallace Consulting report makes it clear there are still several issues to be addressed in wetland assimilation projects across the state.

LWF is keenly interested in the state agencies involved in conserving, protecting, or restoring Louisiana’s coastal wetlands coming together for discussion about the program’s successes and challenges. We look forward to assisting that discussion in any way we can be of service.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Triche
Executive Director

cc: Bren Haase, CPRA; Secretary Tom Harris, LDNR; Secretary Jack Montoucet, LDWF; Representative Jerome Zeringue; Members of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee; Members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee; Members of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

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