Naomi Yoder

Swamp with osprey nest in the top of a cypress tree, Bayou Benoit, Atchafalaya Basin.

Bayou Bridge Pipeline: Field Notes

A spoil bank is the pile of soil and debris left behind by the excavation and dredging machines that dig a trench through the swamp. In coastal Louisiana, all of the pipelines are buried or submerged (as opposed to being built above ground). The method for burying the pipe, then, is to dig an enormous trench. The material from the trench is then dumped right next to the new channel, and suddenly a wall is created that cuts off water and organisms from each other that were connected before. Companies are required by law, according to their permits, to return these spoil banks to their natural state once constructions is complete. However, very few companies comply with this stipulation in their permit leading to a basin filled with spoil banks, limited access to bayous and less productive crawfishing harvests. 

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