After losing 1,000 acres to Hurricane Katrina, restoration is continuing at the Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe/Mandeville.
The project, on the drawing board since 2003, plans to dump the sediment in three areas near the mouth of the Bayou Lacombe including Goose Point and Point Platte.
Billed as a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week effort to pump 3 billion cubic yards of water and mud from the floor of Lake Pontchartrain and into the refuge, via a mile long pipe, was postponed as hurricanes Gustav and Ike ripped through the area.
The project, part of the Coastal Wetland Planning Project Restoration Act created in 1990 is just one of dozens funded in 18 years throughout coastal areas.
For those of you who like to hike or bike, Big Branch is a wonderful 4.5 mile rountrip walk which takes you through several refuge habitats to the edge of
Bayou Lacombe. A 1/4 mile boardwalk trail also begins here, and travels to the edge of a nearby cypress slough.
Boy Scout Road is also great for a 4.5 mile bike trip, with a smooth graveled surface. Mountain bikes are recommended. The interpretive guide to Boy Scout
Road will help you enjoy your trip. The Tammany Trace paved bike path, while not on the refuge, runs very near it and provides access to several refuge locations.
We've seen gators and owls there, as well as evidence of wild boar. It's a peaceful trip where all you can hear is the wind rustling thru the trees. No cars, trucks or anything else.
For more info, check out this flyer for Big Branch.