As we continue to celebrate the tens of thousands of acres of cypress forests saved in southern Louisiana, the Save Our Cypress Coalition continues to monitor the situation on the ground to ensure cypress are not being improperly harvested. And we keep asking, why are Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart continuing to sell unsustainable cypress mulch at all?Below is the field report from a recent trip I took.——————-On April 9th, Dean Wilson, the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, and I went out to inspect a new mulch plant that Dean spotted on a monitoring flight in January. It’s located west of Baton Rouge just a few miles north of I-10 in Port Allen, LA (google map link). They are producing various types of mulch, and there is an adjacent pallet manufacturer (hard to tell if they’re run by the same company). There were piles of various mulches and bagged mulches, the overwhelming majority being cypress. The only trees we could see on site were cypress trees that, conveniently enough, had signs leaning against them labeled ‘mulch’ and ‘mulch trucks’ with arrows pointing to the cypress tree loading zone.The pallets appeared to be hardwood. The other mulches being produced also appeared to be hardwood mulch, most likely with a lot of by-product from the pallet operation. It was being dyed in various colors.The bags of mulch are from a company called Green Country Soil, and the address on the bags is Miami, Oklahoma. Obviously, the mulch is not coming from Oklahoma.There was also a sign on site labeled Southern Mulch, and equipment labeled Sports Mulch. It appears those two are probably the same company/management. Seems to be a smaller-scale supplier and may not even bag mulches.———————-Here are some other recent updates from Dean Wilson, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper:”-On January 21st. 2010 a truck LI# 68822T with “Westside Galvanizing” written on the side door was spotted going northbound on Hwy 1 at 2:17 pm full of cypress logs, most of the logs too small for lumber. The truck went to Hwy 190 and was coming from south of the I-10/ I-12 corridor.-A flight was scheduled for January 5th to find the cypress mulch facility and the cypress logging operations. A new huge mulch plant was identified from the air along Hwy 190 just west of Port Allen. From the air we can see huge piles of mulch and piles of what appear to be wood pylons. Because of high water we could not find the logging operations that we know are taking place south of I-10.”The plant referred to in the paragraph about the flight is the same that we visited on the ground. Here are pictures of it from the air. ———————–Things seem to be pointing to renewed cypress mulch production in coastal Louisiana, very likely south of I-10. We fear that when the water levels recede in the summer, there may be a surge of unsustainable logging.Also, emerging science shows that cypress in other areas of the southeast are also endangered. Swamps are being lost forever due to the mulch industry and other factors in places like Georgia. Wherever this issue has been studied in detail, the situation for these incredible ecosystems and natural flood defenses appears to be quite dire.The Save Our Cypress Coalition continues to ask: with all this evidence of unsustainability, why do Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart continue to sell cypress mulch? We don’t have an answer, so you’ll have to ask them.