GDD8 of WARD 1 POLICY:
It is the intent of this document to define the scope of work, or the area of service that the staff of GDD8 shall provide.
The mission of GDD8 is to drain the lands of the district. To accomplish this GDD8 staff will work to rehabilitate and maintain the existing (off road) drainage system, and consider the construction of new (off road) drainage channels in areas where engineering assessments indicate the need and feasibility of such projects.
Roadside ditches are the responsibility of the Calcasieu Parish Policy Jury (CPPJ) Dept. of Public Works (337) 721-3760. GDD8 is responsible for the off-road drainage system of Ward 1.
All work by GDD8 staff is dependent upon the legal access to private property through Right-of-Way, or Right-of-Entry documentation.
Wetland areas are protected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Work in a wetland area is dependent upon Corps approval or by utilizing non-regulated work methods.
TO REQUEST WORK:
Please call the GDD8 office to request work. The requests are entered into a database, reviewed, determined to be for Public or Private benefit, prioritized, and scheduled. Requests can also be made online at: http://gdd8.net
Each request will prompt an inquiry as to whether or not a perpetual right-of-way exists on the channel in question. Property owners who request and/or expect routine maintenance on a channel should dedicate the required perpetual easements, before the maintenance work is performed.
WORK REQUESTED OF GDD8 MUST BE FOR A PUBLIC PURPOSE:
In accordance with the Louisiana State Constitution, Public funds cannot be spent for private purposes.
Whether the request is for culvert setting, tree removal, ditch rerouting, etc; it is the purpose of the work that will determine the legality of the expenditure of public funds. If the purpose of a particular project is for the benefit of the general public, it is legal. If the work is for the sole benefit of an individual property owner, it is illegal for GDD8 to expend Public Funds on the project.
PRIORITIZATION OF WORK:
GDD8 staff operates on a priority system that places Public Safety-First, Potential for Property Damage-Second, Minor or Nuisance Flooding-Third, and all other-Fourth.
The Vegetation Management Program for developed areas will include a minimum of two and a maximum of four herbicide applications per growing season. Mowing will augment the spraying and will be utilized two to three times per growing season (where and when mowing equipment can access the easement).
GDD8 will not kill all vegetation, especially in areas prone to erosion.
In fact, it is the goal of the herbicide program is to control trees and brush and establish low-growing grasses, preferably Bermuda grass. Shorter grasses allow for water flow while keeping erosion in check. Smaller ditches in flat area may allow for more aggressive weed control.
Gardens and other desirable plants growing near a drainage easement may limit the ability of GDD8 applicators to control excess vegetation within the easement.
The Vegetation Management Program in non-developed areas is designed to control trees and large brush and encourage the growth of grasses to allow the unrestricted flow of water and still guard against erosion. This will include one or two herbicide applications and at least one mowing per growing season (where accessible).
GDD8 is working to re-establish a maintenance bank along channels that have become overgrown with trees and brush. Our intent is to mow at least one bank of each channel to allow GDD8 personnel access for routine inspection and maintenance throughout the entire drainage network.
Channels that often swell beyond their banks may have the underbrush removed in a very wide swath, about 100', on both sides of the channel. This is referred to as Overbank Mowing. This practice was recommended in the Parish's Master Drainage Plan. It entails mowing the underbrush and cutting the undesirable trees while leaving the desirable trees (as dictated by the property owner).
GDD8 does not require a Perpetual Drainage Easement to perform Overbank Mowing. A Temporary Right-of-Entry granted by the property owner is sufficient to allow GDD8 personnel to mow these areas.
GDD8 may remove standing dead or dying trees when said tree removal is within the scope of a drainage maintenance effort, or when such standing trees pose a threat to the safety of GDD8 maintenance personnel.
GDD8 will not remove standing dead or dying trees for the sole purpose of protecting or improving private property.
Every effort to remove debris that restricts drainage shall be made, but GDD8 staff will not remove litter that poses no impairment to drainage.
DRAIN GRATE CLEANING:
Some drain grates are easily clogged by pine needles, grass clippings, and other debris. Residents who depend on these grates for drainage are encouraged to monitor and clean them as needed to ensure proper drainage.
GDD8 will remove sediment from channels on an as needed basis. Many channels are made functional by the removal of trees and brush or debris, while others will need to have sediment removed. The general method is to excavate the sediment and deposit it on the maintenance bank. If conditions are too wet, the material will be left to dry and GDD8 crews will return to spread the material at a later date. On occasion, the sediment can be trucked away.
CHANNELS IN AND AROUND WETLANDS:
The United States Army Corps of Engineers has specific requirements for work performed in wetland areas, either natural or man-made. Neglected channels with poor drainage from overgrown of heavy brush and trees are often considered a wetland area. Such conditions dictate these specific requirements. GDD8 must use non-regulated maintenance practices to re-establish routine maintenance. These non-regulated maintenance practices include mowing, tree cutting while leaving stumps in the ground, and herbicide applications. Once this routine maintenance is established sediment can then be removed and placed along the maintenance bank. This must all be done when dry conditions allow for equipment to do this work without compaction of the soil (cutting ruts).
The Board of Commissioners may consider the re-routing of a numbered lateral by the property owner on a case by case basis. The property owner shall submit a re-routing plan to the GDD8 Superintendent with drawings of both the existing, and the proposed channel locations. The GDD8 board will determine the requirements necessary for approval after review of the plan and inspection of the site.
GDD8 will not re-route a channel for purposes of improving or developing private property.
GDD8 will only self perform a channel re-route when engineering recommendations indicate the need to reconstruct the channel to improve capacity, maintainability, or other reasons that meet the overall public need.
GDD8 is assisted by CPPJ engineering and Public Works for the determination of pipe size requirements.
Repairs to existing pipe:
GDD8 may make minor repairs to existing culverts, such as minor grouting or resetting. Pipe that have deteriorated and have passed their life expectancy will not be replaced at GDD8 expense. See; Installation of Property Owner Purchased Pipe, below.
GDD8 may install drop pipe to enable unobstructed travel down the length of a maintenance bank. Generally drop pipe are installed where an open ditch cuts through the maintenance bank. Some locations may be more suited to the installation of revetment mats instead of drop pipe.
GDD8 may purchase and install culverts in the road ditch for the purpose of equipment access to the drainage maintenance bank.
On April 5, 2011, the GDD8 Board of Commissioners suspended its policy that allowed the GDD8 staff to install culverts when the property owners furnished all materials. The policy was reviewed by legal counsel and determined to be out of compliance with Louisiana Law.
Please see: WORK REQUESTED OF GDD8 MUST BE FOR A PUBLIC PURPOSE), above. You may also follow the link below to review the Louisiana State Attorney General's opinions on this issue.
and see Opinion # 05-0153
An effort was made to develop a legal method to assist the citizens of the District with culvert installations. It was determined that the only way that GDD8 could install culverts for a private landowner is if the landowner paid for ALL costs related to the work. Not just the materials as in the old policy, but all costs including equipment usage, fuel and labor which would also need to be done on an overtime basis so as not to interfere with the routine maintenance operation that the GDD8 is responsible for. The District would have to be reimbursed each and every dollar spent on the installation. GDD8 would never be able to give a citizen a set price like a contractor does.
Subsequently GDD8 will not set culverts that are primarily for the benefit of a private landowner. Such culverts may be set by the landowner. See below.
Installation of Property Owner Purchased Pipe:
Property Owners occasionally offer to purchase all the materials to pipe-in a drainage ditch. The request for such assistance will be considered by the GDD8 Board on a case by case basis and the following criteria must be met:
1. Owner will submit, to GDD8, an application with a written plan for review and consideration.
2. The property owner will agree to grant the GDD8 a permanent ROW agreement
3. If approved, a permit will be issued by GDD8 to allow the owner to install piping. The permit shall state necessary requirements and the stages at which GDD8 inspection will be required.
4. GDD8 will inspect the installation at key steps of the process to the completion of the project.
5. Upon completion, GDD8 will issue documentation to certify the completion.
GDD8 may upgrade an existing culvert that is determined to be undersized and the following criteria are met:
1. The culvert's capacity must be confirmed as insufficient by the CPPJ Engineering Dept.
2. The undersized culvert must pose a threat to Public Safety or have the potential to cause severe Property Damage.
3. The owner of the proposed upgrade is not the sole beneficiary, whose own drainage structure is the threat to his own safety or property. (such owners should refer to: Installation of Property Owner Purchased Pipe)
4. The property owner will agree to grant the GDD8 with ROW agreement applicable to the ditch or lateral affected by the pipe installation.
Conditions may require GDD8 to place aggregate at access pipe crossings, generally at areas where GDD8 trucks, trailers, and equipment can be parked out of traffic.
TO PETITION THE BOARD:
To petition the GDD8 Board of Commissioners about an issue, call the GDD8 office at 855-4388 and ask to be placed on the next scheduled board meetings agenda. The deadline to have items placed on the agenda is seven calendar days before the scheduled board meeting.