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Atchafalaya Basin

Fisherman not happy about being linked to illegal dam in Atchafalaya Basin

Henderson – Jody Meche, a commercial fishermen and vice president of the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association – West, is threatening to sue the state for linking his name to an obstruction in one of the Basin’s natural bayous.

Meche and others complained about culverts blocking Brown Bayou in Iberville Parish to the Atchafalaya Basin Program (ABP), which operates within the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. The culverts were installed to build a road that the fishermen and Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Dean Wilson, say was not properly permitted.

Not only does the road block the fishermen from the swamps at high water but it also stems the life giving flow of fresh floodwater in winter and spring, they say.

Meche says the state agency ignored their complaints until 2010 when the culverts became so rusty they began to collapse and needed to be replaced.

By that time, ABP, which for decades had spent millions on tourism projects outside the Basin, had begun to concentrate on projects to improve water quality in the Basin. When the agency’s officials asked for suggested projects in a public meeting, Meche proposed the state remove the culverts from blocking the bayou.

“The Atchafalaya Basin Program changed my proposal to read ‘change existing culverts in Brown Bayou’ instead of removing the dam,” Meche said. “By doing that they are planning to use public funds to remove the dam, place new culverts and rebuild the dam again for the land owner for free, and legitimizing the landowner’s illegal activities.”

Adding insult to injury, he said, DNR refused to remove his name from of the “proposed project by Jody Meche.”

Meche said he will sue in civil court to have his name removed from the project.

Read more: - Fisherman not happy about being linked to illegal dam in Atchafalaya Basin