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Log jam on East Pearl causes major problems

Mother nature, especially the Pearl River, has a mind of its own. That is no more evident than two to three miles south of the Pools Bluff / Duck Pond area, just south of Bogalusa, where a log jam has formed that changed the course of this majestic waterway.

Gum Bayou is the best locational landmark to use to give someone a quick reference to where the Pearl River diverts from its natural path to form a near straight shot due to water flow restricted by logs, entire trees, debris, trash, appliances, boats, lumber, and yes Virginia, even an abandoned house boat.

When the river is at what is considered a low level (8 feet on the gauge at Bogalusa), the massive collection of ‘stuff” is simply put, amazing. It’s at this point where the river used to make a near complete circle heading west then back east for what is about a mile or so. What was once the actual river, is now an oxbow, formed when nature decided the new path of the Pearl is a near straight shot to the south. This ‘diversion’ at low water flow basically cuts off the old route of the main river.

This area is by far the most challenging spot to maneuver on the Pearl River between Bogalusa and Walkaih Bluff. If you can’t travel this area with a veteran, one should not even attempt to navigate this ‘new river’ because your outboard’s lower unit is destined to some sort of obstruction and ultimately damage.

The log jam, according to river expert Jeremy Magri, began shortly after Katrina’s wind and high water put more trees in the Pearl and floods along with other storms have only made it worse.

“This is as far as a normal boater can go, whether running north or south, without putting yourself at the risk damaging or even capsizing your boat, “ Magri stated.

“It’s a combination of a lot of things, particularly past storms, that brought this all together. What was the river, is now just about nothing more than a shallow creek that’s cutoff from the main flow,” Magri stated a few weeks back while on the river at the log jam. (story continues after videos and photos below)

Magri discusses river at 14 feet

Below views when Bogalusa is at 14 feet

Magri discusses river at 8 feet

Below views when Bogalusa is at 8 feet

“It’s basically so shallow now with the buildup of sand and silt, even after all the crap creating this jam up would hopefully be removed, I’m not sure you could get through with a boat at low water. Let’s hope we get a chance to see one day, “ Magri added with a hopeful smirk.

During this particular trip, the water level at Bogalusa was around 8 feet which highlights the log jam even more.

Magri said he has heard that a cleanup effort is scheduled for the log jam. After checking with authorities in both states, it was learned that Louisiana State Representative Malinda White (Washington / St Tammany parishes) has spearheaded an effort for a cleanup of the log jam that could come as early as this calendar year. It appears that effort will be led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Baton Rouge office.

Tomorrow, we look at the sill dam at Pool’s Bluff considered yet another factor in the restricted flow of the Pearl River.


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