In May, the Louisiana Stormwater Coalition (LSC) collaborated with The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) and Osprey Initiative to take state leaders on a tour of Bayou Fountain in canoes provided by Paddle BR. The group witnessed the success of the 75-foot-long litter boom maintained by Osprey Initiative and discussed how other technologies might also benefit Louisiana’s waterways. The leaders who gladly paddled out included Mark Cooper, Chief of Staff for Governor John Bel Edwards, Jay Dardenne, Commissioner of Administration, and Senator Franklin Foil of District 16.
In 2021, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, BREC, LSC, and Paddle BR entered a partnership and successfully installed the boom to clean up litter that washes down the waterway when it rains. Osprey Initiative, an environmental contractor, was contracted to maintain the boom made by AMPOL, a company from New Iberia.
In short, the device – navigable with a kayak rollover – serves as a floating barrier designed to strategically prevent litter from continuing to float downstream. Osprey Initiative explained to the tour group the process of tactical litter removal, disposal, and data collection.
Marie Constantin, a founding member of LSC, was impressed with the boom’s ability to catch 80 percent of litter floating on the water’s surface, commonly referred to as floatables.
Also participating in the canoe tour was Amanda Takacs, Assistant Director, BREC Natural Resource Management/P&E. Sharing Constantin’s sentiment, she explains, “We are excited that the litter boom on Bayou Fountain is successful in providing a litter-free paddle experience for outdoor recreation. BREC looks forward to creating similar paddling opportunities on our waterways within the parish with additional planned canoe and kayak launches.”
“The installation of this boom and the success it has had in trapping litter is an excellent demonstration of how great things can come from groups collaborating and pooling their knowledge and resources to make a difference,” says Susan Russell, Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful and a longtime supporter of LSC.
During the group’s time on the water, LSC was able to inform Cooper, Dardenne, and Foil about the various options available for other Louisiana waterways, such as the CDS hydrodynamic separators. This technology uses swirl concentration and continuous deflective separation to screen, separate, and trap 100 percent of floatables down to a hair on your head.
Constantin explains, “It’s important to note that the litter boom is a great technology for certain environments, like paddle trails, but it is not a one size fits all solution. With Louisiana being number one in rainfall in the U.S., we only have a few weeks to get litter up before it ruins a watershed. Some of the newer devices automate the system by intercepting litter before it even hits a watershed. These devices are often installed underground at the outfalls and sucked out every few months by a vacuum truck.”
“There are many opportunities for implementing green technology in Louisiana to combat our litter problem,” says Russell. “We must also work to prevent it from happening in the first place. Our bayous, wetlands, lakes, and rivers suffer because we are failing to address the root of the problem – our mindsets, the enormous amount of waste we produce, and the lack of infrastructural support for proper disposal.”
LSC and their partners were excited to have the opportunity to share the boom’s success with Cooper, Dardenne, and Foil, and they hope to continue making an impact in Bayou Fountain and our state’s other watersheds with the support of the public and government. LSC would like to extend a special thank you to Corey Wilson, BREC Superintendent, for without him, this project would not have been possible.
The public can support a litter-free Bayou Fountain by advocating for litter prevention, stormwater management, and by volunteering to paddle out and pick up floatables.
Visit the LSC website to learn more about their mission and how to get involved.