Commissioner of Conservation and staff meet with new CAGWCC Executive Director
Office of Conservation continues to support development of specific plan to manage Capital Area fresh water aquifer system
BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation Richard Ieyoub met last week with the new Executive Director of the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation Commission (CAGWCC) to discuss potential avenues for cooperative efforts between the two entities in their shared goal of protecting the sustainability of the freshwater aquifer system that supplies Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.
Ieyoub said he expects the meeting with CAGWCC Executive Director Gary Beard to be the first of several opportunities for himself and his staff to explore cooperative efforts for improving groundwater management strategies in the region.
“For an initial meeting, it was very productive and encouraging,” Ieyoub said. “Executive Director Beard certainly seems not only to have an understanding of technical issues and the realities of managing such a complex system, but also a very strong forward-looking vision for conserving and protecting the groundwater resources into the future.”
Beard said that he felt it was important to meet with Ieyoub and the staff of the Office of Conservation’s Ground Water Resources Program early on in the process of familiarizing himself with his new role.
“The Office of Conservation can be a critical source of good science, historic information on ground water use and practical regulatory experience for the efforts of the CAGWCC going forward,” Beard said. “We have a lot of work to do to map out the right path for managing this aquifer system and ensuring we make efficient use of the financial and scientific resources available to us as part of that process.”
Beard said he would like one of the CAGWCC’s primary focuses in the near term to be finding funding to make further progress on the next phase of the comprehensive management plan to be developed in conjunction with The Water Institute of the Gulf.
He said he would like to see CAGWCC be able to fund the completion of the management plan, and also find ways to get better data on water usage and saltwater intrusion in CAGWCC’s jurisdiction.
“Executive Director Beard’s thinking is very much in line with what I have maintained when it comes to the aquifer system here, that commitment to a formal planning process driven by solid science, with set goals and deadlines, is the best way forward,” Ieyoub said. “I think this gives us an excellent baseline for future cooperative efforts in our shared jurisdiction and shared commitment to a sustainable freshwater aquifer system.”
Patrick Courreges, 225-342-0510
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