Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards was joined by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and LSU officials to announce federal and state funding for the first phase of the major cleanup of a borrow pit at Burden Museum and Gardens that has been inadvertently collecting trash from stormwater for decades. Burden is part of key demonstration sites being implemented for stormwater management programs. In addition, members of the Governor’s Litter Abatement and Beautification Task Force have submitted their initial report with recommendations for establishing and sustaining litter prevention efforts across Louisiana.
“The difference between today and a little more than six months ago when I stood in the exact same spot at the Burden Museum and Gardens is simply astonishing,” said Gov. Edwards. “I’m grateful to the federal government, DEQ Sec. Chuck Brown, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, the volunteers, and The Osprey Initiative for making this cleanup happen. Litter is a serious problems in our state and to help communities, I signed Act 228 into law this year which will allow municipalities to fund stormwater management. It provides them a local option to declare stormwater a utility and establish a fee for permanent funding to support programs for flood prevention and litter abatement."
"I also want to commend members of the task force. They have been diligently working for months and developed a comprehensive plan designed to decrease litter and illegal dumping in Louisiana. It’s focused on education, public awareness, enforcement of laws already on the books and community engagement that can be used to cleanup and keep Louisiana the beautiful sportsman’s paradise that we all love.”
Gov. Edwards established The Governor’s Task Force on Statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification by executive order in January of this year. It has been managed by the Keep Louisiana Beautiful program in the Lieutenant Governor’s office. Members were charged with finding policy solutions for Louisiana’s litter problem, educating the public and promoting community litter abatement activities. Their initial recommendations and key priorities are as follows:
Click here to read the report.
Both federal and state dollars will be used to fund the cleanup, and the stormwater demonstration and education site at Burden. The Environmental Protection Agency Trash Free Waters Grant totaling $500,000 was awarded to the LSU AgCenter to cleanup and implement three litter abatement demonstration sites across Baton Rouge including a community engagement campaign. Those include The Burden Museum and Gardens, the Capital Lakes and Bayou Fountain at BREC's Highland Road Park. Supplemental funding totaling $400,000 was provided by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and $75,000 by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.
“It has been an honor to chair the Governor’s Statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification Task Force. We spent many hours on this report, but this is not the end. I’m very passionate about cleaning up our state and Keeping Louisiana Beautiful so we can Let Louisiana Shine. It is important for our quality of life and the millions of visitors we welcome each year, as well as potential visitors looking for a cleaner destination,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.
The initial tactical removal process of the trash at Burden began on July 18, 2022 and was conducted by The Osprey Initiative.
"Louisiana is the Sportsman's Paradise because it is rich in both culture and natural resources. Litter affects our roadways, quality of life, and poses a threat to what makes our state great. It is important for everyone in our state to continue working together on this issue and take every action we can," said Mayor-President Broome.
"As part of this abatement initiative, Burden Museum and Gardens will add two destinations in the trail system that will serve as research and demonstration sites for water quality, remediation and urban watershed management," said Matt Lee, interim LSU vice president for agriculture. "These sites offer an excellent opportunity for public education on stormwater management."
The partnership includes: the LSU AgCenter, the Office of Governor John Bel Edwards, the Office of the Commissioner, the City of Baton Rouge, the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the Louisiana Stormwater Coalition and TriCoeur Engineering Services.
Click here to see pictures.