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Boating club organizes bayou channel marker partnership

December 30, 2018

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A Louisiana boating education club has organized a private-public partnership to put up channel markers along a bayou where water often hides cypress stumps and knees.

Since Contraband Bayou isn’t usable for commercial navigation, the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers can’t install markers, Ben Garber of the Lake Charles Sail and Power Squadron told local news outlets.

His group spent about a year surveying the bayou and getting permits from the Coast Guard and Corps, he told The American Press.

Cypress trees once lined the bayou, but were killed by saltwater after the Calcasieu Ship Channel was dredged, Garber said. They can easily be seen when the water is low, but at other times are an unseen hazard.

The stumps have damaged a lot of boats, Darrell Walker of Blue Star Marine told KPLC-TV.

“We volunteered for installation of the signs,” he told The Associated Press. He estimated that crew time and use of a crane boat totaled about $9,800.

Walker said numbered red squares mark one side of the channel for nearly two miles, until it is no longer navigable. Those on the other side are green. Below each marker is a metal sign stating “IDLE SPEED NO WAKE ZONE.”

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury donated the signs, valued at about $8,000, Garber said, and The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Marine Division, city of Lake Charles, and the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau contributed $7,500 each.

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Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com

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