Avoyelles Police Jury creates Lake Commission for Spring Bayou

9-member board to be installed Aug. 27

After several months of “will they/won’t they” and discussion on the eventual purpose of the board, the Avoyelles Police Jury created a “Lake Commission” to help protect fish and wildlife in Spring Bayou.

The first order of business will apparently be choosing an appropriate name for the new board, the jury decided at its Aug. 14 meeting.

The nine-member panel will hold its “organizational meeting” at 6 p.m. on Aug. 27 at the parish-owned LSU AgCenter building in Mansura.

Jody David of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries will be guest speaker at the meeting.

The nine members are Rayford Laborde of Hessmer, Dr. L.J. Mayeux of Marksville, Arthur Hale of Mansura, Roland Dugas of Baton Rouge (Spring Bayou landowner), Jimmy Landry of Hessmer, Phillip Lamartiniere of Fifth Ward, J.K. Bordelon of Moreauville, Terry Laborde of Mansura and Kenneth Pickett of Mansura.

Police Jurors Mark Borrel and Trent Clark will serve as ex-officio non-voting members.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

There was a brief discussion over the new commission’s name and the extent of its authority.

When the Police Jury considered the item at its agenda-setting committee meeting on Aug. 9 it was listed as the Spring Bayou Lake Commission. On the Aug. 14 meeting agenda it was listed as the Avoyelles Parish Lake Commission.

Landry asked the jury if the scope of the commission’s mission had changed from Spring Bayou to parishwide. He said it should focus only on Spring Bayou.

“Why change the name,” Landry asked.

Police Jury President Charles Jones said the resolution refers to it as “a Lake Commission to assist and make recommendations in the management of the Spring Bayou watershed.”

The original resolution did state that the commission would be called the Avoyelles Parish Lake Commission, but jurors amended the resolution to omit the name. Jones said commission members can choose a name for the board.

“I think it is just a matter of semantics,” Jones said. “It is a commission for the Spring Bayou watershed.”

However, Jones said that having a more general name would make it easier to expand the commission’s responsibility in the future should a future commission wish to add another waterway under its jurisdiction.

Landry also expressed concern about including the entire watershed, and not just Spring Bayou itself, in the commission’s jurisdiction.

Jones said the state law allowing the creation of such commissions uses “watershed,” and the language was just carried over to the resolution creating the local board. He said the commission can also establish its guidelines after the Aug. 27 installation.

TERM ENDS JAN. 1, 2020

The commissioners will have to be reappointed when the new Police Jury is seated in January 2020.

Bobby Bordelon of Spring Bayou asked how the commissioners were selected. Jones noted that this first group of commissioners were all volunteers.

Jones said a selection/appointment process for future commissions will be developed before this commission’s term expires.

The resolution creating the Lake Commission states the commissioners must be citizens or taxpayers of the parish, serve without compensation with terms that are concurrent with the Police Jury that appoints them.

The resolution also states the commission “may make rules and regulations for the government, regulation and control of the preserve and for the conservation, protection and propagation of game and fish in the preserver, provided that such rules and regulations shall be finally approved, adopted and promulgated by the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Commission.”

The commission will meet monthly or as necessary.

Jones said most of the language in that resolution comes straight from the state law allowing creation of local fish and game commissions or from the Attorney General’s opinion concerning the creation of such a commission.

“This is just a framework,” Jones said. “If the commission wants to change any part of it, they can come to the jury with revisions.”

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