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Jan 30, 2014
Gov. Jindal Highlights $2.7 Million False River Restoration Project

NEW ROADS – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal highlighted a $2.7 million restoration project to restore fisheries and water quality in False River.

Governor Jindal said, “Growing up, we all loved making the short trip from Baton Rouge for the great ‘trophy’ bass fishing and skiing. Numerous record bass, catfish, and other fish have been pulled out of this lake over the years. However, many people that have been fishing here for decades will tell you that things have been changing. They will tell you that they are not catching as many fish and that the fish they do catch are smaller. The water quality in the lake has decreased and too much siltation is getting in here.

“That shouldn’t be the reality. I want your kids and my kids to have the same memories of False River as I do – a fun place to visit and a great place to live, and a place where you can catch record fish, water ski and enjoy all of the great restaurants, antique shops and other sights.

“Dating back decades ago, a number of well-intentioned projects resulted in draining hundreds of thousands of tons of sediment, fertilizers and other runoff into False River.   While those projects may have achieved some parochial objectives, they have had a negative impact on this lake. We waited for years on the Corps of Engineers and other agencies to study the problem, but we never saw action. We simply don’t have time to wait anymore.  We need action.  False River is too important to this area and our state to simply let it go to waste, and that's why the state is stepping up to restore fisheries and water quality in False River.”

The immediate priority of the False River Watershed Council is to construct a terrace for the South Flat. Part of the $2.7 million will be used to design and construct an estimated 16 acre island using over 100,000 cubic yards of dredged sediment. The construction of the island will help to solidify the dredged sediment and prevent resuspension of the silts that causes turbidity problems on False River.  The project is expected to create over 3,500 feet of shoreline habitat, increase water oxygen levels and improve water clarity.

Governor Jindal said this project is important to help reestablish aquatic vegetation and water oxygen levels. Construction is expected to start in the fall. Funding will also help address a future project to be developed by the watershed council to address siltation issues on the north flats on False River.

State Rep. Major Thibaut said, “I grew up going to False River, and I want future generations of Louisianians to have the same experiences I had. We waited for the Army Corps of Engineers to study False River and they never acted. State and local government have stepped up to the plate to invest in improving False River so we can make sure False River remains one of the greatest natural resources in Louisiana.”

State Senator Rick Ward said, “False River is the economic cornerstone for Point Coupee that outside of agriculture sets our parish apart from so many others. It is vital that we continue our efforts to restore it to what it once was. I am excited about the progress we have made over the last several years but we still have a long way to go. I am thankful that Governor Jindal and his administration see the importance of this project and have been there throughout to help us secure the finances that make this project possible. It has been a pleasure working with State Representative Major Thibaut, DNR and all the other state agencies involved to get to where we are today. It is important to keep in mind is that this will be an effort that will require our continued attention. I believe the plans that have been put together by the false river watershed council and the participating state agencies is one that is designed specifically for this lake. There is no doubt in my mind, as it is implemented, we will begin to see positive results.”

Additionally, the state has already been working with local officials to restore fisheries and water quality in False River.   The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has stocked the lake with bass, and in 2012, released 300,000 red-ear or Chinquapin.
Recently, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Point Coupee Police Jury, the local Kiwanis Club and private donors helped to construct gravel spawning beds to help the fish populations in False River.

For the first time in 20 years, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission opened False River to a commercial fishing season to help reduce the population of the garfish and other rough fish, such as buffalo and carp. Tens of thousands of pounds of fish have already been caught.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has also established the False River Restoration Fund as a repository for monetary donations from individuals, groups, industry, other foundations and businesses to help restore and enhance False River and its surrounding watershed and habitat.

At the event, NRG Energy also announced the company is donating $1 million to the False River Watershed Program.

“As stewards of our environment, bringing back the health of False River is important to the many NRG Energy employees who call Pointe Coupee Parish home and all of us who have fond memories of time on the lake,” said Jennifer Vosburg, a Senior Vice President of NRG Energy and President of its Louisiana operations
 
 
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