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Leland Bowman Lock will be repaired by March 4

February 17, 2012

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the Leland Bowman Lock in south Vermilion Parish will be closed for repairs from Feb. 27 through March 3.
Strain said if the repairs go well, it is anticipated that the lock will be ready for service by March 4. He said the repair should help curtail the inland flow of saltwater that is affecting agricultural production.
The lock was damaged by a barge on Sept. 30 and subsequently removed for repair. However, the lock’s removal allowed an inflow of saltwater in the Mermentau Basin which threatened agricultural industries that depend on fresh water for irrigation.
In addition to the saltwater intrusion, Strain said agricultural producers in southwest Louisiana are also suffering continued losses from 2011’s drought and excessive heat.
“Researchers at the LSU AgCenter estimated that Vermilion, Cameron, Calcasieu and Jeff Davis producers had nearly $34 million in losses due to drought and saltwater intrusion,” Strain said. “More than 450,000 acres of rice, soybeans and pasture land suffered significant negative yield.
“I’m hopeful that the repaired lock will significantly reduce the flow of saltwater into the areas used by agricultural producers,” Strain said. “We’ll be monitoring salinity levels and collecting data.”
The gross farm value of all agricultural enterprises in the four parish area was $420,741,239 in 2010 according to statistics compiled by the LSU AgCenter.
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