Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Better Shreveport focused on the Coates Bluff map

Hydrologist and LSUS faculty member Gary Hanson, director of Red River Watershed Management Institute (RRWMI) joined the meeting on Coates Bluff nature Trail held recently at Montessori School for Shreveport.

July 12, 2011

In attendance:  Garrett Johnson, Jennette Ginsberg, Robert Trudeau, Gary Hanson, Cynthia Keith, Sid Crump, Dan Goodman, Susan Keith, William Hartman, Will Loe, Jon Soul, Nadine Charity

We began with introductions and members who had tasks reported on their progress.
Robert has contacted Larry Raymond to further explore partnerships w/ land trust entities.  The birding group is more interested in birding than administering the Audubon Society.

Sid asked the group about a trail along the river which is falling in and it was noted by a geologist that was probably the reason for the kids drowning last summer because Petrohawk was pumping sand and it has become a hazard along the river--literally quick sand.

Cynthia will bring the dog park committee to Coates Bluff, and introduce with dogs, and help install poop stands. 

Robert called The Times and they will run a correction about the four-year old photo on the front page introducing the Dog Park, and they have made the correction on their website.  Robert asked about the situation on the wrought iron fence.  Oliver Jenkins will talk to Shelly Ragle about existing chain length fences on the riverfront, including the city-owned chain length fence at Stoner Boat Launch.

Sid has hiked the trail since he was 9 years old.  Has a friend with the Caddo Commission that is interested in seeing a proposal for our protection plan, including a conceptual bike path.

Dan supports the safety and enhancement of the existing and future bike path along Clyde Fant Pkwy.  He lives on Preston, and hates the zoning changes that have led to the degradation of the neighborhood , and is interested in keeping property values.

Susan has been studying Coates Bluff since 1989, and placed a historical marker at Olive & Youree in 1987.  She works at the Red River History Center downtown.  Dianne Kappos says there are grants that we can tap into since Coates Bluff is located in Bossier Parish.

Feico reported the Audubon Society has funds that are available, but we need a chapter, and would take 6 months to get it together.  We would need 40 members, and 25 individual members.  We can call the Audubon Society any name that we want.  Tyler, TX is the closest society to Shreveport.

Nadine got in touch with art teachers and came up with ideas for painting sewer culverts with educational themes.
Feico noted the artists could also help with signage.  The other item would be a tree show in the fall.

Jon reported a Stoner Hill clean up about one month ago that he visited and took a group through Hopewell Cemetary, and spoke with Jeff Everson about some tax dollars coming to town for historical purposes, and sent him the edmodo link, and Jeff was interested in an inventory of headstones.  There is an access trail, and we need to put up a gate, and need a stairstep that could be accomplished by September.  He needs 10 people for a Saturday clean up--Sid will help.  Robert can get Magnet students in September as the students need to ‘buy in’.  A manhole cover is busted on the trail and there are noticeable signs of discharge.  Jon took a pic and sent to Shreveport Streets & Drainage and asked if any heavy machinery would be involved, but has not heard back from them.   Jon spoke with Friends of Red River Wildlife and asked if Coates Bluff can be encompassed, but it can’t.  But Red River Wildlife can do specific invitations.  Jon spoke with Mary Anne Bowie about watershed protection as being a viable tool for education for Coates Bluff.  This is a great model for teaching watershed studies.  Jon looked at City DOS, and talked about a stormwater quality issue.  A grate WOULD NOT be blocking the water, it would be blocking the trash flow.  There are 4 stations that could be installed.  Susan said check with the National Geographic as she did a storm drain in University Terrace, and they provided stenciling paint.  There is a lot of light trash.  Susan asked if there were federal laws that are eroding the cemetery graves that protect it?  Archeaologic.  There are military family located in the park. 

William asked what the School Board intention is and they said tell them what you want and they will decide. 

Red River Watershed Management Institute (RRWMI)
The Red River Management CEA is twenty years old.  Gary Hanson plans to extend it as a park.  Gary asked  if there is a plan for Veterans Park.  It has incredible topography and geological, boulders could be part of the outreach, and Louisiana Geological Survey (LGS) is doing a lot of boulders and moved a 22,000 pound sandstone/ironstone boulder from the I-49 corridor to the RRWMI.  These are great exposures and need some signage with LGS to get involved.   Steph asked if that model was applicable to Coates Bluff.  Gary responded that he modeled the RRWMI after the Savannah, GA hydrology model of research. Gary wanted the oxbow lake to be a research park and brought the idea to Murray Lloyd.  Murray did the politics, and Gary did the science.  The Committee went to the national level including the National Wetlands Center, Corps of Engineers, Jim Holt, Port Authority, and LSU faculty.  Lots of meetings took place, and Mayor Hightower approved the agreement between him and the Chancellor because the Mayor thought it would cut costs to the City, but it came with a full spectrum of disciplines and a built park was a way to pull together ideas and purchase 30 acres (Board of Regents), 10 on soccer field, 20 on other side of levee.  The LSU President was involved, and LSUS applied for grants with EPA, Rep. McCrery for infrastructure, water wells, and infrared mapping.  On the Educational Committee, three teachers came in and required others to be instructors.  The building was funded by a McCrery earmark, and gas companies currently want to donate funds to study better methods of water management.  The Committee consisted of 40 people, then a steering committee was formed to carry out the plan.  It consisted of 2 city appointmees (mayor and Shelly, Wes Wyche), 2 university appointees, and one rotating public member appointee, and the LSU Chancellor.  Bill Bebe is the public member, The process began in 1998 the RRWMI formed in 2000.
Water Resources Committee was born out of RRWMI, a committee with oil/gas operators. The Water Energy Working Group is another initiative which has national attention because it has been a leader of being proactive and getting gas operators off ground water. 70% of water used for fracing is now surface water. Before the Water Energy Working Group formed, 100% ground water was used for fracing.  Other successes of the RRWMI include an Adaptive Management Water Act passed, and Gary got to write the application.  This act deals with water ownership.  The City owns all flow rights now.  

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