of Engineers propose to cut trees along 200 miles of Ouachita
rivers across the nation also in danger - The
Corps of Engineers controls 13,000 miles of levees in the
United States, the proposal to cut "all" trees along
the levees also includes all of the scenic rivers that have
levees controlled by the Corps of Engineers.
Here to visit the News Star Forum and voice your opinion
on this issue.
Recent Media Coverage:
- Special thanks to Mr. Chuck Redden for help with spreading
the word about this project.
covers the annual levee inspection
(October 16, 2007) KNOE
met with representatives from the Ouachita River Foundation,
Corps of Engineers and Tensas Basin Levee Board for a status
update on the "tree removal" project.
(October 16, 2007)
thanks to Opus Broadcasting for providing coverage on Tuesday,
October 16th. Live interview on 106.1 FM at 11:20 a.m.
(October 11, 2007)
thanks to Comcast Spotlight for providing coverage on CTV
Channel 6 and the Weather Channel Crawl.
News Special Feature with Reporter Griffin Scott: On
location at the Breston Plantation in Caldwell Parish and
along Riverside Drive in Monroe and how the proposed tree
removal project will impact the local community.Click
Here to view the transcript (October 5, 2007)
of the President of the Ouachita River Foundation concerning
the Corps of Engineers Tree Cutting Proposal, as well as additional
comments on how the Corps of Engineers Proposal COULD RAISE
YOUR RESIDENTIAL AND BUSINESS INSURANCE, PLUS CHANGE THE REGULATIONS
ON ALL BUILDING CONSTRUCTION IN THE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
ALONG THE OUACHITA
President of the Ouachita River Foundation, I am seeking everyone's
support in stopping what could be the future destruction of
the beauty of many of America's scenic rivers, and especially
the beautiful Ouachita river that runs through our state of
Louisiana and Arkansas.
following is a general synopsis of events that have transpired
since hurricane Katrina that is now, because of new rules
set by the Corps of Engineers could possibly mean the destruction
of the Ouachita and many more scenic rivers in various states.
U.S. Corps of Engineers is in the process of implementing
the cutting of all trees on both sides of the levees along
a 200 mile stretch of the Ouachita river in our area and also
thousands of miles along the levees of many other scenic rivers
in America. This plan which was legislated by the U.S. Congress
will utterly destroy the beauty of these scenic rivers in
plan is the result of a Congressional Committee and various
studies made following hurricane Katrina, which recommended
that trees not be allowed to grow "ON" a levee. The Corps
decided in reaction to this, that they'd cut ALL trees that
are within fifteen feet of the base of the levees, plus remove
all of the stumps. A project of this magnitude would by necessity
destroy more trees than those within fifteen feet of the levees.
This would especially apply to the trees on the river side
of the levees, because of right-of way access required for
machinery, stump removal and grading, all of which would add
to the destruction. It should also be noted that the Corps
of Engineers are cutting the trees as far as 100 feet from
the Lake Pontchartrain levee, so the distance from the levee
that was supposed to be 15 feet has grown to 100 feet because
there they call the base of the levee a "berm" that needs
are 13,000 miles of levees under the jurisdiction of the Corps
and all are inspected for safety each year. After, almost,
100 years, SUDDENLY, all of the "safe" levees no longer qualify
for certification under this new tree rule. Congress's attempt
to save our levees from storms like Katrina has resulted in
mandating the destruction of the beauty of many of our nation's
scenic rivers. In the case of the Ouachita where trees and
levee follow close to the river, the appearance of the river
would be reduced to that of a "drainage canal". This would
also be typical for many other scenic rivers..
asked if this plan could be reversed, the Corps of Engineers
answer was, " if an extensive study was made PROVING that
trees could exist adjacent the levees without harm to the
levees", its possible.
Ironically, the perfect PROVEN study model already exists
that would be typical for all rivers with tree growth and
levees, This would be the Ouachita river, for trees have been
growing adjacent the levees of the Ouachita for almost 100
years without any problems . . . but this model has been totally
ignored by the Corps of Engineers...
interesting aspect to the Congressional legislated destruction
of the Ouachita and other scenic rivers is that while the
Corps of Engineers are planning cutting the valuable tree
growth that has existed for hundreds of years along 13,000
miles of rivers, they are at the same time receiving 100 million
dollars from the U.S. Congress to restore the wetlands below
New Orleans .
wetlands are vital to the New Orleans area especially during
a hurricane because they are a buffer to storm surges that
would in turn produce flood waters. A past study has shown
that the major reason for the deterioration of the wetlands
was the Mississippi levee systems that were built by the Corps
of Engineers following the flood of 1927. This levee system
was constructed to hold water within the Mississippi river
channel, but in doing the system prevents the wetlands from
being refurbished with silt that is vital to rebuilding the
wetlands each year. .
question at this point is "why did the Corps of Engineers
let trees grow along the levee system for the last 100 years
if they posed a problem. The answer is that the trees have
never posed a problem and what is actually taking place is
an over reaction to a hurricane and resulting Congressional
criticism of a levee system in New Orleans that was not high
enough. This has absolutely nothing to do with trees and the
Corps of Engineers knows it and Congress should know it. It
is simply a matter of the levee not being high enough to protect
new Orleans from a flood of the magnitude of that of Katrina.
talk about trees is simply a diversion to keep the focus off
the fact that the levee was not high enough, and everyone
has agreed on this. If the real problem in New Orleans was
that the levee was too low and they are having to raise it,
using the same guide why are they not proposing to raise all
13,000 miles of levees along our rivers, instead of cutting
trees that were not the problem in New Orleans and have never
been a problem for the last 100 years along our rivers.
talk about the danger of trees along levees has almost reached
the point of paranoia as exemplified in a recent Corps of
Engineer News Letter. "The Corps of Engineers is cutting almost
400 trees along lake Pantchartrain ( the same trees that survived
the Katrina winds ) because they might blow over in a storm"
Also, Less than 30 trees were blown over by Katrina in Jefferson
Parish and none were associated with levee failure. .
detrimental aspect of the tree cutting project is digging
out all the stumps which would require regrading and refilling
large areas of ground that would be exposed for years before
settling into a unified structure that could possibly withstand
a flood without eroding.. In the mean time the levee system
would be subject to the yearly high water that would surely
wash out the fill areas and jeopardize the levee system..
the Corps of Engineers were to cut all of the trees along
our rivers as planned, and dig out all of the stumps, in the
years to come Congress will have to fund another multi-million
dollar program to plant new trees along the levees of our
destroyed rivers to prevent erosion of the levee system just
as the 100 million dollar program that they are now funding
for the replacement of the wetlands that the Corps of Engineers
we hear that Congress ( who is funding the project ) is blaming
the Corp ( who wrote the tree cutting rules ) and the Corp
is blaming Congress but neither has said they would change
the tree cutting rule, for now they seem to be content with
passing the blame while the project to destroy the Ouachita
We appreciate your support in helping save the Ouachita, please
contact your state and federal representatives and voice your
opinion to stop the tree cutting project.
Glenn Gore, President
Ouachita River Foundation
YOUR RESIDENTIAL AND BUSINESS INSURANCE RATES COULD BE RASISED
PLUS CHANGES ON THE REGULATIONS OF ALL BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
Corps of Engineers tree cutting proposal Could Raise Your
Insurance Rates. The new regulation set forth in CEMVK-OD-M
District Regulations Number 1130-2-530 of the Corps of Engineers
Owners Maintenance Manual has not only posed a serious
problem in relation to the destruction of the scenic beauty
of the Ouachita River, but could become an even more serious
problem financially for everyone living along the Ouachita.
levee system is subject to a certification inspection by the
Corps of Engineers each year. Therefore, if the trees are
not cut in accordance to the new Corps of Engineer's regulations
the levee system cannot be certified as required. If the levees
are not certified most of the areas along the Ouachita would
then be declared a Flood Zone by FEMA who is the governing
authority for such declarations.
effect that a Flood Zone classification would have on both
residential and business insurance premiums in the Ouachita
valley would be an unbearable financial burden for all of
the communities. Not only would every residence and business
property owner be forced to pay astronomical insurance rates
but every municipality would be forced to pay higher insurance
rates which would be passed on to the public in the form of
service and utility rate hikes. Also, to add to the insurance
cost would be new requirements set forth by FEMA for building
structures such as houses and commercial buildings in a designated
Flood Zone. All foundations for new construction would be
required to be raised above the flood level which could be
several feet or much higher in some cases. This requirement
to raise all building foundations above normal standards would
increase the costs of both residential and commercial buildings
dramatically or even prohibit buildings from being built in
closing, It should also be noted that even if the Corps of
Engineers were to say that they will not cut the trees, the
issue would not be totally resolved. The Corps of Engineers
must be required to remove the "tree cutting" regulation from
their Levee Maintenance Manual, for without the removal of
this regulation there is no assurance that, at some time in
the future, this regulation would not be used to declare the
Ouachita valley area a Flood Zone. Call your representatives
and ask that they have this regulation deleted from the Corps
of Engineer's Levee Manual.
Ouachita River Foundation
Links & Resources:
Information - Media Kit
(updated 10/8/07) The
following document was compiled by the Ouachita River Foundation
and features a composite of numerous resources, articles,
quotes and other helpful references pertaining to the "Tree
Here to download/view the document as a PDF.
Symposium held in California
September of 2007, more than 500 people from as far away as
Holland attended a special symposium, organized by the Sacramento
Area Flood Control Agency and the Corps of Engineers. Some
asked what the consequences would be to flood safety if trees
were clearcut from levees, leaving their roots behind:
Shields, a hydraulic engineer at a U.S. Department of Agriculture
lab in Mississippi, has studied levees on the Sacramento
River and elsewhere. He said tree roots improve the shear
strength -- the point at which soil yields under stress
-- of the soil they grow in.
and large ... trees have a positive or beneficial influence
on the safety of levees," Donald Gray, a geotechnical engineering
professor at the University of Michigan, told the symposium.
"You see a major increase in factor of safety as we move
from a minimal root area ratio to a higher level," he said.
"We concluded that maintenance standards should favor shrubs
and woody trees." This year, he and several colleagues used
a computer model to show that trees also offer more erosion
protection than a uniform carpet of grass, the levee cover
favored by the corps.
Davis horticulture professor Alison Berry said this could
destabilize levees by causing a large and disparate root
mass to decay in unison. Levee erosion also might increase.
Van Vuren, a UC Davis professor of wildlife biology, said
removing trees could create better conditions for animals
that are most troublesome for levee managers: burrowing
rodents. Gophers, ground squirrels and voles are the most
prolific burrowing mammals on area levees, Van Vuren said.
But they actually prefer open landscapes to easily detect
predators. So a tree-clearing program on levees, he said,
is likely to improve their habitat and cause their numbers
CORPS OF ENGINEERS: The corps' regional commander, Brig.
Gen. John McMahon, said Friday that removing trees won't
necessarily make levees safer, because rotting roots left
behind could provide a path for seepage that could compromise
the levee. "There's no doubt in my mind our headquarters
would like one standard applied broadly across the full
spectrum of levees," said McMahon. "I personally don't think
that's the right tack to take in this situation. Not all
vegetation on levees is bad."
Arrich, chief of Water Resources' flood project integrity
and inspection branch, said the goal is to persuade the
Corps of Engineers to consider natural resources in its
maintenance policies. Without that consideration, he said,
many of Sacramento's urban levees are likely to fail the
national policy when next evaluated by the corps.
Fema Document 534 Connection ???
Much of the corps' policy is based on a Federal Emergency
Management Agency document called "FEMA 534 Technical Manual
for Dam Owners," (115 page document from September 2005
following Hurricane Katrina) which explains threats to earthen
dams from trees and other vegetation.
Download/View the Manual