August 2014 Newsletter

Shake Your Trail Feather 2014, Watershed Drain Markers, Water Bottles & Paddle Trail Maps and Operation Hippo

Shake Your Trail Feather

Saturday, October 18 at Parc du Ponts

The Third Annual “Shake Your Trail Feather” Festival will be held on Saturday, October 18, 2014, and will run from noon to 6 pm. The festival is a celebration of the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail and we will be unveiling the design for the new trailhead by Eddie Cazayoux and Glenn Angelle being built at Parc des Ponts. There is no charge; however, the TECHE Project is raising funds for the maintenance of the Paddle Trail amenities by selling an official festival pin for $5 and other merchandise. Concert performances will include David Greely & Megan Berard (12:00- 1:00), Soul Creole (1:30- 3:30, Cajun/Zydeco) and Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie (4:00-6:00, Zydeco). We will also be hosting a Heritage Tent with historical/cultural interviews (panel discussion on the influence of wars on bayou life) and a Bousillage Art demonstration.

For the third year, Pack and Paddle is providing a kayak for raffle. Tickets will be $3 and you must be present to win. Cajun Paddle partnered with us to host “Paddle to the Party”. Kayaks and canoes will paddle from Poche Bridge to the park with a floating band escort. In addition, The TECHE Project partnered with TRAIL to host the first annual “Trail Feathers” bike event. Both paddlers and cyclists will receive complimentary items for attending.  For more information about these activities, contact bayoutecheexpeience.com (paddle) and techeproject@gmail.com (bike).

There will be artisans, food and beverages, and the TECHE Project members and partner organizations will be there to provide educational information and demonstrations about the various projects taking place along the Bayou. There will be art activities and face painting for kids. We encourage folks to come adorned as birds and compete for the best “Bayou Bird” prize!

Come join us on the October 18th, and shake your tail feathers on the bayou! For more information, contact Patti Holland at howldogfarms@gmail.com.

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Dane Thibodeaux and Brent Miller with Cory Werk (back, right) with the St. Bernard Paddle Club.
Brent Miller helps Club members prepare drain markers for installation.

Drain Markers Installed

St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge

TECHE Project volunteers coordinated an effort to install metal, “No Dumping-Drains to Bayou” drain markers in St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge with children from the         St. Bernard Paddling Club. Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality donated 50 drain markers to the TECHE Project to use for youth education projects about water quality. The Paddling Club is participating in a summer camp with Breaux Bridge recreation outfitter, Cajun Paddle. As part of their service work, over 20 children, ages 7-16 installed over 30 markers with the support of the towns and local businesses. TECHE Project Council member and father of two participants, Brent Miller, led the event to teach young kayakers that good water quality in Bayou Teche is important so they can continue to paddle and swim in the bayou. “We are teaching these kids growing up on the Teche that if they want to keep paddling and swimming in our bayou, they have to protect the water quality. The TECHE Project and Cajun Paddle are pleased to provide an opportunity to the St. Bernard School Paddling Club to learn about paddling the bayou and how they can help protect the Teche,” said Brent Miller from the TECHE Project.

For more information on forming a youth paddle club or on how you can help with water quality, contact TECHE Project Council member Brent Miller at techeproject@gmail.com.

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32-ounce Nalgene waterbottles are available for $15 at TECHE Project events or Cajun Paddle in Breaux Bridge this Autumn.
Portion of the historic side of the official BTPT map created in cooperation with the Louisiana Geologic Survey and Dr. Shane Bernard.

Navigate*Hydrate*Geaux Paddle

Water Bottles and BTPT Maps

TECHE Project supporters helped us raise $1,655 to purchase Nalgene water bottles and complete the official Bayou Teche Paddle Trail map. With Cajun Paddle, we have presold water bottles to our members and supporters and will make them available for sale during events in October for $15.  At the TECHE Project, we know that conserving water and reducing plastic water bottle use is good for our environment. Our municipalities work hard to provide safe drinking water to the public and we encourage drinking more of it from reusable bottles. These water bottles are BPA-free and perfect for everyday use or long paddles or hikes. Stay hydrated!

The City of Breaux Bridge and the Breaux Bridge Chamber of Commerce also help fund our efforts to encourage the use of refillable water bottles. Stay tuned for our special series, Movies in the Parc, a family friendly event that will focus on water conservation. Movies will be shown in Parc des Ponts this fall. Check our website for more details this October.

We also continue to work with the Louisiana Geologic Survey to complete the BTPT map and aim to have this completed in October. Portions of the map will be in French and Chitimacha. We are grateful to Dr. Shane Bernard for helping us create the historic and culture portion of the map. This waterproof map is not only an important navigation tool but, with his help, a beautiful history lesson on Bayou Teche.

Thank you to early supporters for helping make this happen. Supporters will be sent their bottles, maps and t-shirts in October or you may pick them up at Shake Your Trail Feather or by making arrangements with Dane Thibodeaux thib514@yahoo.com.

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Hippo in water hyacinth/lillies in Africa. Image from framepool.com.

Operation Hippo!

Water Hyacinth Removal, September 27th

The TECHE Project announces 2014 “Operation Hippo”! In 1910, Louisiana Congressman Robert Foligny Broussard, a Democrat from New Iberia, Louisiana introduced H.R. 23261, “to appropriate $250,000 for the importation of useful new animals into the United States.” These “useful new animals” were the hippopotamus and he wanted to introduce them into the swamps and bayous of Louisiana for two important reasons; the first was to solve a critical meat shortage in the United States and the second was to battle the choking invasion of Eichhornia crassipes, commonly called water hyacinth/lillies. Water hyacinth is an aquatic plant native to the Amazon Basin and is a problem in many waterbodies in Africa and North Ameica. The “Hippo Bill” failed to pass by only one vote. Even though the meat shortage has been resolved, the problem of the water hyacinth is still an ecological and recreation problem for our Bayou.

While the Hippopotamus is currently on the World Conservation Union “Red List” for it’s threatened status and this project would not be feasible today, we pay homage to the historic and forward-thinking concern for invasive plant species with the whimsical name, “Operation Hippo”.

The TECHE Project is the recipient of a small grant from the American Canoe Association and L.L. Bean for the mechanical removal of water hyacinth from the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail. The TECHE Project is dedicated to an incremental approach to mechanically remove water hyacinth. We have consulted with leading experts in invasive plants at the US Geological Survey-National Wetlands Research Center and University of Louisiana at Lafayette to develop our initial plan.

All hands on deck! With this, we are asking volunteers to join us on September 27th in Franklin in St. Mary Parish to help remove the most significant mats of water hyacinth in preparation for the 5th annual Tour Du Teche which will be held on Oct. 3-4-5. This effort is the beginning of a long-term solution we plan to develop in cooperation with community leadership and conservation professionals.

To volunteer or to report on a trash or hyacinth issues on your part of Bayou Teche, contact Dane Thibodeaux at thib514@yahoo.com.

We would like to send a special thanks to Mrs. Lynn Landry of Franklin High School for inspiring her science students to learn more about ecology and their Bayou Teche. On Saturday, August 16, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Franklin High School, Cajun Paddle, and The TECHE Project, partnered together to collect samples of water hyacinth for testing in preparation for “Operation Hippo” on September 27. Cory Werk with Cajun Paddle, a Bayou Teche Experience, supplied canoes and gear so that these students could get out on the water and have first hand experience on how biologist collect, record, test, and analyze data.
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