Grant Allows PACIT to Build Dock
With the help of Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG) and other partners, the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe (PACIT) has a new bulkhead and dock.
“A grant opportunity from BHP Billiton, administered by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, had some very specific conditions,” said Melissa Daigle, LSG’s resiliency specialist. “The money had to go to a Native American tribe in either Terrebonne or Lafourche parishes.”
Since PACIT members live in both parishes, on both sides of Bayou Pointe-au-Chien, which is the boundary between the parishes, the tribe decided to pursue the grant. LSG personnel then hosted a Coastal Resilience Index (CRI) workshop to aid the tribe in determining possible projects that could be funded with the grant money.
“Two projects floated to the top,” said Matt Bethel, LSG associate director who has worked with the tribe for several years. “The first involved installing piers and a dock outside of the bayou floodgates so commercial fishermen with the tribe wouldn’t be trapped inside the gates and unable to fish during high winds and small squalls that cause localized flooding. Sometimes those gates are closed for days.
“But because of the complexity of that project, requiring permission from private landowners and the extensive process of getting permits, it was dropped,” said Bethel.
“The second project was the bulkhead and dock area across from the tribe’s community center,” he added. “That new dock would allow for the community to have a safe spot to tie-up and enter and exit their vessels – allowing for potential eco-tourism opportunities that could provide an additional source of funding for the tribe. Also, the tribe already owned the land.”
The permitting process for the second project was also less complicated, said Daigle. And LSG’s Law & Policy Program reviewed all the paperwork before it was submitted to ensure that all the proper permits were filed.
With tribe members volunteering labor so they could maximize the dollars, the bulkhead/dock construction was near completion in late January. The new dock is considerably longer than the previous dock and can handle larger boats as well as multiple boats at a time.
“I would like to thank the BHP Billiton Foundation, GOMA, Sea Grant, Lowlander Center and FPCC for making this project possible,” said Donald Dardar, PACIT co-chairman. “We now have a safe dock to load and unload people for boat rides and to tie boats safely during storms.” Other partners that helped with the project included the Lowlander Center, Terrebonne Levee District, First People’s Conservation Council (FPCC) and representatives from both parishes. BHP Billiton is a multinational mining and petroleum company.