- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Ideas to turn the ailing LSU lakes into a showcase range from dredging the sediment that’s been choking the water bodies to building boardwalks and parks and restricting traffic.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1vehL1w ) hundreds of residents pored over maps of potential traffic changes, ecological features and where dredge material from the lakes could be placed Thursday night.

There was no shortage of passion - a prediction made by John Spain, executive vice president with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, at the beginning of the session.

“Rest assured, you’ll find things you’ll really like and some of you will find things you don’t care for,” Spain said before sending the several hundred participants to smaller groups to pick apart this first proposal.

Some wanted to know what would be in front of their house and if their view of the lakes would be obstructed; some absolutely hated certain proposals, like one-way traffic on Lakeshore Drive; and some liked the idea of boardwalks, while others thought it was too much.

Consultants hired by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation will now sift through the wide-ranging opinions to try to find consensus on items that could be included in a second draft to be released later this year.

Thursday’s meeting was the latest step in a process the foundation started last year to address environmental problems in the six lakes, which are located between City Park and LSU.

Dredged from a cypress swamp in the 1930s, the lakes have been filling in with sediment, making them shallower. A major improvement might involve dredging the sediment and using it to build up lake shorelines, creating small pockets of cypress swamp and areas of wetlands. The wetlands would not only provide habitat but also would help clean water draining into the lakes of fertilizers, oil and other pollution, said Kinder Baumgardner, a landscape architect with SWA Group.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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