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Project Clearwater — Expedition Seven [upcoming]

2014-01-13

Project Clearwater

Expedition Seven [upcoming]

And so it begins.  We have reached Blockage #15, which we have now laser-measured at 65 yards long.  This blockage is the pinnacle of Bayou Fountain logjams, both in its size and in the fact that it is the halfway point of the project.  Once we’re through it, it’s all downhill from there (in the figurative sense, that is).

There is *plenty* of litter in the flotsam if you’d like to pick litter.  You’ll likely need a kayak and push poles or hand rakes to work your way through the dense flotsam if you want to pick litter from a boat, and we can set some pull-along lines for you if you so desire.  We’ll be working on pulling and winching the huge quantity of logs onto one side of the bayou to open the other side for passage, and it will certainly take multiple trips to break through this one.  If you’re working the wood or winches, you will certainly get muddy, so wear your boots.  We like to wear chest waders and just work waist deep in the bayou, but there’s plenty of above-the-water options available as well.

Departing as usual from Highland Road Park at 8am Saturday (January 18, 2014).  Look for the red Kia with the canoe trailer and PaddleBR window stickers.  If you bring your own boat, the best launch is from just right/upstream of the archery range.  Head left/downstream and go about 2-1/4 miles and you literally will not be able to miss us.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Josh permalink
    2014-01-18 10:18pm

    Hello! I just saw a piece on the work you do featured on the ten o’clock news. I looked up info on helping. I saw the only time mentioned was 8am Saturday. Is there another day you’d be working out there as my wife as I would like to help? If not, would starting sometime after lunch help any? I have a 14’bateau with a 8hp motor on it. Also a 14 keel bottomed aluminum boat I could tow behind it for trash and debris. It has a very low drift and 1 1/2 – 2ft deep water is no problem. I’ve seen the bayou behind the park though and don’t know where or if theres a back down launch? Also, I live on bayou Francois and have cleared fallen trees out my mine and my neighbors boat sloughs with the use of a chainsaw which I could also use if it’d help. I’d like to offer my help but my schedule is pretty erratic. Please let me know what you think. Thanks very much.

    • 2014-01-18 11:18pm

      There are no public launches on Bayou Fountain (except launching canoes down the bank at the park). Coming from Bayou Manchac, it may be possible to get perhaps 3/4 of a mile upstream, but that’s about it. On a previous kayak trip, we encountered some very shallow water in a spot or two, much less than a foot deep. (It’s trivial to paddle across those areas, but anything bigger than canoes would likely bottom out in bayou mud — I even had to hop out of a stuck canoe once.) There is also a huge amount of submerged wood, which makes it all the better for paddling but would do a number on a prop. With no launches and inadequate conditions to support pretty much any motorized boating, it’s all paddling, but fortunately we’ve got significant hauling capability, nonetheless. (We can carry *several* dozen bags of litter at once with the Canoemaran — it’s a sight!)

      As for scheduling, for the duration of this project at least, we’ll be out there launching canoes behind Highland Road Park at 8am each Saturday. It’s now about 2-1/4 miles each way to get to the work area, so it generally takes about 45 minutes to an hour paddling each way. (Once we get through this huge jam, it’ll gradually get longer until we finally reach Bayou Manchac at 4-1/4 miles down.) We’ve had people ride along, and we’ve had people with their own canoes and kayaks just show up whenever they want and leave at their leisure. We personally launch at 8am so we have as much time as possible to work and still be back before dusk.

      We always enjoy having people show up to help, but we certainly understand that not everyone can work with the logistics of this particular project (which is, by far, the largest and most exhausting project we’ve undertaken). This work on Bayou Fountain is paddles-only by necessity. On the other hand, once we make it through to Bayou Manchac, we’ll be doing some cleanups on Bayou Fountain and Bayou Manchac where having motorized assistance could help quite a bit.

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