False River improvements could come at expense of land owners

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

FALSE RIVER, LA (WAFB) - The Pointe Coupee Police Jury is considering a new idea that scientists believe will help rehabilitate False River, but the improvements may come at the expense of the property owners.

If you're looking to relax, people who live on False River say the lake is the place to be. With an extended July 4th weekend for many, there's no shortage of fun on the water. Larry Maddox says it's why he moved there two years ago.

"It's very nice. It's not deep. It's 4 to 5 of water right here," said Maddox.

Maddox is one of nearly 900 property owners who have bulkheads to protect their properties from erosion. Most of them were designed to also protect the lake and its marine life, but now some researchers say it might not be enough.

Pointe Coupee Police Jury Vice President Kyle Olinde is now proposing that everyone who builds a bulkhead on False River follow a new design.

"What we have right now is a vertical wall. Wave action hits the wall, comes out the bottom, and keeps stirring up the turbidity in the water and keeps the mud stirred up. The wall will come in and have rock jetties in front of it to protect the wave action, slow down the wave action before it goes out, and creates muddy water," said Olinde.

Olinde says depending on the height and length of the seawall, it could cost the property owner between $1,500 to $6,500. That concerns visitor, Dawn LaViolette, who is spending some of her Independence Day weekend scouting nearby properties to build her retirement home.

"If it's part of the state, part of the parish, then it seems like there's something we can do to help with that cost instead of laying it on the homeowner," said LaViolette.

Maddox doesn't like it, but he says he's willing to eat the cost to keep his piece of paradise. "If it cost me $2,000, then I spend $2,000 on it," said Maddox.

Olinde says current land owners will be grandfathered in, but the next time they do any improvements on the bulkhead, they too will be required to follow suit.

"We're not here to make everybody happy. We're here for the betterment of the lake," said Olinde.

The measure is up for a vote on Tuesday, July 11. Another river drawdown has been scheduled for September.

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