Henderson dredging project to start this week

The state Department of Natural Resources and St. Martin Parish announced Tuesday that work will begin this week on a cooperative project to excavate channels in Lake Henderson in the Atchafalaya Basin.

DNR Secretary Stephen Chustz said the Atchafalaya Basin Research and Promotion Board approved the project to link several existing boat launches along the western guide levee of the Atchafalaya River and Lake Henderson during low water for improved public access. The project is expected to take three to four months to complete.

The construction cost of the project is about $580,000, funded through the department’s Atchafalaya Basin Program, Chustz said.

St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier said these channels will allow boats to continue to access the Basin from the western guide levee boat launches during low water periods in the area, such as the periodic lowering of Lake Henderson in conjunction with the state’s ongoing hydrilla control program. Another benefit of the project is to deepen water habitat for fish during times when Lake Henderson water levels are low.

“The Atchafalaya Basin is not only a key part of the heritage and history of St. Martin Parish, it is one of the signature natural features of our state, drawing fishermen and tourists from around the state and the nation,” Cormier said. “Projects such as this can serve the two important purposes of supporting the ecosystem and expanding access for the public to enjoy the Basin.”

Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette joined with Cormier in recognizing the value of the project, noting the assistance with hydrilla control, as well as improved recreational opportunities for fishermen and boaters.

“This will allow our boat landings to continue to operate and provide boaters with lake access during periodic lake drawdowns required for the continued fight to eradicate the hydrilla plant which has been plaguing Lake Henderson for years,” Collette said. “Controlling the hydrilla through drawdowns is the most effective way to deal with this problem.”

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