Valero donates to Basin Foundation

Published 12:54 am Wednesday, May 16, 2018

NORCO — Valero St. Charles Refinery has recently announced a $17,000 donation to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to be used to help restore the Maurepas Land Bridge and Labranche Wetlands.

The Maurepas Land Bridge is a critical line of defense in reducing risk from storm surge for communities around Lake Maurepas as well as East Baton Rouge. The land bridge used to be covered with swamp forest until cleared by logging in the 1800’s and 1900’s.

Some natural regeneration occurred but it was limited by being cut off from the natural restoration capabilities of the Mississippi River, introduction of the invasive nutria, which eats the seedlings, and the construction of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, which further damaged any remaining plants through salt water intrusion.

A swamp restoration program on the landbridge will help the large-scale, long-term restoration in the Pontchartrain Basin. Working with local partners, LPBF has planted 32,100 trees on this bridge since 2014 resulting in 160 acres of swamp restoration.

Commenting Dr. John Lopez, Coast Sustainability Program Director says, “Restoring the Maurepas Landbridge and the surrounding Labranche Wetlands provides critical storm surge protection for the people living around the lake and outside of East Baton Rouge. We really appreciate this donation as it will enable us to continue and expand our swamp restoration program.

“Valero St. Charles Refinery has been a long-term supporter of LPBF restoration projects and their support has enabled us to make a real difference to people living here. We hope to continue to work in partnership with them.”