Yesterday, Jindal, landed on the sand berm at the Chandeleur Islands to highlight the significant construction progress being made and to show that the sand berms are working effectively to block oil from impacting Louisiana’s fragile wetlands.
Afterwards, Jindal attended a press conference along with Plaquemines Parish President, Billy Nungesseer and St. Bernard President, Craig Taffaro, to discuss the progress in the Gulf of Mexico.
Governor Jindal said, “To date – Louisiana has more than 425 miles of oiled shoreline. The sand berms we are working to create – including the one in the Chandeleur Islands – are important defense mechanisms to protect our interior wetlands from oil impact.
“The sand berm at the Chandeleur Islands is an impressive structure. We will see land creation rates increase dramatically on the west side of the river once the operations shift there from moving materials to create berm. Under our implementation plan, the project will continue to ramp up to include over 150 vessels working concurrently on multiple segments. Each segment will be treated as a separate project with dredges and other equipment working simultaneously.
“We expect ten dredges to be working on these projects, making this one of the largest and most intense dredging projects in our nation's history. Once completed, the roughly 40 miles of sand berms will benefit and protect 2,000 to 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline – keeping our battle against this oil well away from our interior marshes and wetlands.
“The elevated portions of the project have provided protection with the help of the Louisiana National Guard. Over 500 pounds of oily debris was collected off of the berm at the Chandeleur Islands during one day last week and tar balls are constantly washing up, proving that sand berms are an effective protection measure against oil. In fact, beach fronts and sand berms are utilized by the Coast Guard and Oil Spill Response Contractors as best practices for natural collection to facilitate removal. Both the Coast Guard and BP contractors recommend that oil be allowed to collect along the shore for removal as a more effective measure than a booming defense strategy.”
The Governor also noted that along East Grand Terre, three miles of sand berm have already been built, with over two million cubic yards of dredged material. Governor Jindal said the project was instrumental in preventing oiling of interior wetlands.
Also, Jindal said he hoped that commercial fishing will open as recreational fishing has recently. On Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) announced significant openings to recreational fishing. With this action, approximately 86 percent of recreational fishing in Louisiana was opened immediately yesterday – July 14. The openings will allow recreational anglers, including recreational shrimping, crabbing and fishing, to resume.
Governor Jindal said, “We are pleased by the action – and in fact I plan to go down to Grand Isle tomorrow to see some of the recreational fishermen out there. Of course, we continue to caution all fishermen to exercise caution while fishing in areas closed to commercial fishing.”
This opening includes licensed charter boat guides and bait fishermen or dealers who harvest for and sell to recreational fishermen exclusively. It is important to point out that recreational fishing is allowed subject to continual testing and monitoring. Although recreational fishing will be allowed in portions of the previously closed fishing areas, certain delineated areas, including heavily oiled areas, areas associated with boom and areas of active cleanup continue to be closed to recreational fishing. Recreational fishermen are advised to avoid areas where oil is observed and to respect oil cleanup and removal activities by steering clear of boom.
Governor Jindal added, “We would also like to see commercial fishing open as quickly and safely as possible. The FDA has oversight of commercially sold seafood and LDWF has already sent them a proposed plan to open the same areas that the commission approved for recreational fishing. In fact, LDWF has provided the FDA with input and testing samples that are awaiting the FDA labs to be reviewed. Last night, the LWFC passed a resolution urging the FDA to review the testing samples that are sitting in their labs and we support that resolution so we can open commercial fishing quickly in the areas where it is safe.”
Governor Jindal At News Conference
St. Bernard President Craig Taffaro
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser