In 1995, Pontchartrain Conservancy released the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) for the restoration of the Pontchartrain Basin. The CMP was developed jointly with the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and numerous other federal, state, and local agencies, elected officials, area universities, sporting and recreational organizations, citizens groups, commercial fishing organizations, and representatives from the agricultural community and the business community. Its contributors exhaustively cataloged the threats to the Basin by sewage, agricultural and urban runoff, saltwater intrusion, and wetlands loss.
The process began in 1991 with meetings of experts and the public, and concluded with recommended action items. The CMP listed a number of suggested mitigation efforts to solve cumulative impacts on the Basin’s water quality and habitats. The major recommendations of the final report are listed below.
Sewage and Agricultural Runoff
- Agricultural runoff management by construction and maintenance of waste retention lagoons for livestock operations;
- Maintenance and education for the owners/operators of small community/business Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) and individual home WWTPs;
- Septic disposal facility construction;
- Fund parish planning and construction of larger community/regional sewerage systems and better maintenance of existing systems.
- Funding for stormwater system investigations and repairs;
- Investigate the flow balancing method of temporarily holding polluted water for later treatment;
- Investigate stormwater treatment through the use of wetlands;
- Investigate the use of bioremediation (using microorganisms) for destroying pollutants in drainage canals;
- Expanding public education to reduce pollution at its source.
Saltwater Intrusion/Wetland Loss
- Coordinate efforts to phase out the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet;
- Investigate the use of offshore structures, beach replenishment, and oyster reefs to combat shoreline erosion – current techniques using riprap cause damage to submerged aquatic vegetation
- Plan to integrate freshwater diversions with other projects to mitigate any potential negative effects of diversions (i.e. nutrient overloads/induced flooding/displaced fisheries).
These recommendations have served as a “road map” for Pontchartrain’s restoration. Since 1995, many of the listed items have been or are being addressed and numerous projects implemented. Education and outreach programs have addressed urban runoff, wetland loss, and water quality issues for students and adults. On the ground habitat restoration projects have tackled submerged aquatic vegetation, shoreline stability, and using wetlands to filter and treat stormwater and waste water treatment.
PC has also partnered to develop several waste water management plans and infrastructure improvement plans, construct livestock waste retentions lagoons, implemented extensive water quality monitoring, and other activities.
All of these projects, as well as plentiful technical investigations have contributed greatly to the understanding and restoration of the Pontchartrain Basin.
Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP)
Comprehensive Habitat Management Plan for the Pontchartrain Basin
With the SAVE OUR LAKE campaign declared a success in 2002, PC created a Comprehensive Habitat Management Plan (CHMP) to provide goals, strategies and methods designed for Basin sustainability. The CHMP was developed by a science and engineering committee and reviewed by a second panel of coastal experts. For more information, please visit the other sections of our website.