1. I’m having streambank erosion problems on my property, what can I do?
There is no simple answer to this question because there are many types of streambank erosion (that caused by runoff across a property, that caused by a stream cutting a bank naturally, that caused by an activity up or downstream of a property that changes the streams natural hydrology, etc.). LDWF is amenable to permitting bank stabilization methods that resolve or reduce the effects of erosion when the proposed method has likelihood of success, can be done in a manner which does not cause similar problems upstream or downstream and when the proposed method does not cause undue visual/ecological impacts to the present setting of the immediate project area and/or when visual impacts can be minimized or eliminated. Please consult with LDWF before commencement of any such work.
2. I witnessed littering or dumping or found a pile of litter or trash dump, what should I do?
Cases of littering or dumping should be reported to LDWF’s Enforcement Division at 1-800-442-4511 or to your local police department or sheriff’s office.
DO NOT tamper with piles or bags of litter. LDWF Enforcement will investigate cases of littering that are not witnessed firsthand and evidence can be lost or compromised by individuals digging through it!
3. Does a Scenic River designation give me the right to access the river and adjacent land?
NO! The Scenic Rivers Act does not convey any private property rights! Accessing Scenic Streams via private property requires the permission of the adjacent landowner as does use of land adjacent to a Scenic Stream. Scenic Streams can only be accessed like any other stream in Louisiana.
4. Can I clear a pathway through logs or debris to provide access for my canoe or boat?
LDWF allows clearing of small passageways through such obstacles to facilitate navigation. Clearing shall not be excessive and should be limited to the width of the vessel. Should multiple obstructions need to be addressed, LDWF must be contacted before any clearing is commenced. If the obstruction is a fallen tree still attached to the bank, permission from the adjacent landowner must be obtained before cutting it. Excessive clearing and snagging on most designated Louisiana scenic or historic river is considered a prohibited activity and a criminal offense.
5. Can I remove trees along my property’s bankline?
The cutting or harvesting of timber within 100 feet of the ordinary low water mark of a designated Scenic Stream is an activity regulated by the Scenic Rivers Act. Timber removal is classified into two categories; personal use and commercial.
The Scenic Rivers Act does allow property owners to cut trees on their property for their own personal use. LDWF encourages landowners to do so sparingly so as not to compromise stream shading and stream bank integrity. The trees and other vegetation within a riparian buffer are both valuable wildlife habitat and contribute greatly to the avoidance of future erosion and bank destabilization issues. Landowners clearing trees adjacent to a designated Scenic River need to be aware that it is illegal to leave tops of trees in the stream and that they are responsible for removing all cut trees from the respective stream.
Commercial clearcutting of trees within 100 feet of the ordinary low water mark of a designated Scenic Stream is prohibited. Not only does this apply to timber harvest but to all other commercial endeavors that involve clearcutting of trees such as residential and commercial development, mining, etc. LDWF CANNOT permit clearcutting of trees within this 100 foot buffer.
The commercial selective harvest of trees is allowed within this buffer so long as it is carried out in a manner that does not impact stream shading and stream bank integrity. The ideal manner for removing trees from this buffer is to fell them away from the stream, trim unwanted/unmarketable limbs and drag the desired timber out of the buffer. Use of tracked or wheeled equipment is not recommended because of the potential for destabilization of the bank and the destruction of mid- and understory vegetation as well as the younger trees that will grow to fill the opening created by the target tree’s removal.
ALL commercial timber harvests commenced adjacent to any Scenic Stream require the completion and submission of a “Timber Harvest Notification Form” found on this website. This form “exempts” the need for a Scenic River Permit to harvest timber adjacent to a Scenic Stream and failure to complete and submit this form may subject the logger to a criminal citation for operating adjacent to a Scenic Stream without a permit.
6. What is the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System?
LDWF administers Louisiana’s Scenic Rivers Program. The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System is separate from our State program. There is currently one Louisiana river designated in the National system, Saline Bayou within the boundary of Kisatchie National Forest. Saline Bayou is also a Louisiana designated Natural and Scenic River. For questions regarding the National system, please contact the following:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
64 Maple Street
Burbank, Washington 99323
Telephone: (509) 546-8333
7. Do I need a permit from the Scenic Rivers Program for removal of sinker logs?
LDWF does not often require a permit for sinker log removal, but the Department makes that decision based on information the applicant provides to us. Some of the information we take into consideration are location, how the logs are to be removed, and ownership of the logs (i.e., fallen trees belong to adjacent landowners or the state, while commercially cut trees are potentially considered salvageable if their ownership cannot be established). The retrieval and/or disturbance of native, naturally fallen trees and woody debris may or may not require a permit depending on the individual circumstance. Therefore, LDWF should be contacted and provided the above referenced information so that the need for a Scenic River Permit may be determined.
It is important to note that “clearing and snagging,” the removal of all or most of the obstructions, trees, snags and other impediments that retard the natural stream flow, is strictly prohibited (with a very few exceptions) by the Scenic Rivers Act.