The Vermillion River passes through many communities here in Acadiana. The two biggest issues that the river faces is Pollution and Flooding I talked to a local organization that is working to keep the Vermillion clean and the water flowing.
“Well, the Vermillion River is essential to the economy, our culture. The original name of Lafayette was Vermillionville in honor of the river because this was the superhighway of the time,” says David Cheramie, the CEO of the Vermillionville District.
The Vermillion River runs through the heart of Acadiana and is an important asset to the region, that's why it is so important to try to keep it clean. That is the mission at the Vermillion Bayou District where they collect trash almost every day from the river. While the group picks up about 1000 55 gallon drums of trash each year they say that keeping things clean can start with you.
“Of course coming through an urban core that means there are a lot of people living there. The population of people will generate a lot of trash, unfortunately. Part of our mission is to teach people to litter less, educating the public by working with different groups. LCG, Parish Proud, FrontYard Project, UL, etc. Just to let people know that hey there are other options than throwing trash out the window.”
Along with trash, the group will clean natural vegetation like trees to allow for good water flow and try to prevent flooding when possible.
“Mother Nature is going to do what she wants to like back in 2016, with 30 inches that’s 6 months of rain we got in 36 hours. So when mother nature does something like that, there is not a whole lot we can do. But, with the hurricanes, we had last year we were able to keep the Bayou level low enough in conjunction with our partners so it could absorb some of that capacity.”
Cheramie tells me that they will soon be opening up a new almost 1 million dollar facility here in Vermillionville to teach visitors about the Vermillion Watershed as well as host a lab where they will be able to test water quality in the near future.