Saturday, November 26, 2016

St. Charles Parish Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy Tree Threatened by Levee

Here is the story from the St. Charles Herald Guide about a St. Charles Parish Louisiana Purchase Legacy tree that is being threatened by levee plans.

http://www.heraldguide.com/details.php?id=17710

Owner fights to save 300-year-old cypress

Tree stands in path of current levee alignment

Anna Thibodeaux
October 27 at 8:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Owner fights to save 300-year-old cypress
Hidden in a Des Allemands backyard is a towering cypress tree that's been described as a treasure, but its future is uncertain even though it bears a placard saying it's been alive since 1803.


Like a natural, historic monument, the tree stands in stately beauty in Murray Dufrene’s backyard. It also rests halfway on the proposed servitude being sought for St. Charles Parish’s West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee, which could mean cutting the tree down to make way for the project.

“My position is I understand I have as much skin in the game,” Dufrene said. “I agree a levee needs to be built and maintained, but they also need to look at options to save the tree. I’m not interested in money for the tree. I want to save the tree.”
Dufrene has initiated a campaign to save what local county agents are saying is a “historical treasure,” which stands near the Paradis Canal and Grand Bayou at the toe of the existing levee.

In the last year, Dufrene has sought help to preserve the tree, but more recently GCR, the parish’s land acquisition contractor for the levee project, has advised it is seeking a portion of his property for a perpetual servitude. He is convinced signing that agreement will doom the tree and is prepared to go to court if necessary to save it.

“There was never an agreement on paper that the levee is on my property so they want to purchase a perpetual servitude,” he said. “They are saying they have no alternative but to cut the tree to meet FEMA’s standards.”

While Dufrene isn’t trying to stop the project, he doesn’t want to see this tree go under the blade.
“There are options that should be looked at for a tree of this magnitude,” he said. “This tree is about 14 feet or more in diameter and probably 70 feet tall.”

In a letter to state officials, Harvey Stern, coordinator with the Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy said it is “likely one of the oldest living cypress in St. Charles Parish” based on the organization’s core ring sample taken in 2010 that put its age at more than 300 years old. Stern said he believed this tree would easily qualify as a  “tree of value” under Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) provisions to safeguard recognized trees (by age, size and cultural significance).

Stern also asked that the parish and Lafourche Basin Levee District give the tree the same consideration and protection.

Parish President Larry Cochran said they are reviewing Dufrene’s request.
“We are looking into this and are open to saving the tree if it does not impede work on the West Bank Hurricane Levee,” Cochran said. “However, this is a new development and we cannot commit to a decision without doing further research.”Calling it a “parish treasure,” Parish County Agent Rene’ Schmit also appealed to parish officials.

“I can say without hesitation that this cypress tree … is absolutely one of the most unusual, impressive and stately trees to exist in Louisiana,” Schmit said in an Aug. 29 letter to the parish government. “As there are only a handful of aged cypress trees left in the whole of Louisiana, it seems we would want to do everything possible to protect this ‘one-of-a-kind’ majestic tree located in our own backyard.”

Schmit said anyone who knows the parish’s rich history would also know it is a “unique and historical treasure.”

Mike Hebert, Lafourche Parish’s county agent who has assisted Schmit, also asked parish officials to find an alternative that could save a bald cypress that has “withstood all the tests of time.”
“No amount of money could replace a tree of such stature,” Hebert said. “Because there are so few trees of this age and physical health left in the state it would be a travesty to remove it from its current site in Des Allemands. It is part of our history and heritage and if left alone will continue its long life for many more centuries to come. It is a sound, healthy and vibrant tree.”
Dufrene added, “I am not willing to see the tree go down. I do feel very strongly about the tree.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

Terrebonne Parish Cypress Landmarked

Bonnie Caro, Berris Rodrigue, and Daniel Brien beneath 220+ year cypress


Congratulations to Bonnie Caro whose majestic cypress on her property near Houma is the first cypress in Terrrebonne Parish honored with a LPCL plaque (#45) proclaiming "Alive in 1803". Here are the measurements:
Circumference above buttress : 11 feet   Diameter: 42 inches  Radius: 21 inches
Boring sample 5.25 inches
Rings counted: Approx 65
Projected age: 220+ years
GPS coordinates: N29 40.175  W090 44.093


Although relatively small in circumference compared to other landmarked LPCL cypress, this tree likely originated in the type of environment that promoted slow growth for many years-- growth rings are closely spaced. The tree is located on Bonnie Caro's family homestead, originally settled by her Great grandfather. This beautiful cypress and several of similar size and full canopy on her property make it a favorite location in the Houma area for wedding photographs.

Until we find an older tree in Terrebonne Parish, this is the oldest live cypress we are aware of in Terrebonne. There are likely to be larger/older Terrebonne Parish cypress near Gibson-- we'll keep you posted. We're particularly gratified to find a healthy LPCL cypress this far south. It's no secret that saltwater intrusion, hydrologic modification and similar influences have substantially reduced the healthy cypress habitat in coastal Louisiana.  So, in addition to finding and registering the oldest cypress in each Louisiana Parish, we'd love to find  and landmark the the oldest and  southernmost cypress in the State.

Please e-mail any leads to Harvey Stern, coordinator, Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy
LaPurchaseCypressLegacy@gmail.com
504-891-7116

Monday, December 7, 2015

                  Ancient Ascension Parish Giant Landmarked

 FOX 8 "Heart of Louisana" Feature story on La. Purchase Cypress Legacy

Our quest to find the largest/oldest cypress in each Parish recently took us to the Martin lake vicinity of Ascension Parish, where Terry Matherne took us to view a beautiful old cypress he found on his property, located between Lake Martin and the Amite river.



This was truly an impressive cypress.
Here are the stats: Circumference: Approximately 21’10 “  (where the trunk meets the buttress)
Diameter  6’11”    Radius 3’ 5.5”
1st coring 2.75”  rings counted: 100+ 



 

 2nd coring 2.5”   rings counted: 60+    


 


Projected age: 700—1000 years  This is a conservative estimate;  if very close spacing of rings were to hold up through the entire radius, this tree would be well over 1000 years old. However, it is likely that the tree grew faster (with rings correspondingly further apart) in its early years and "adolescence". Coring samples are from later growth periods

You can follow our trek to this beautiful tree and learn more about our efforts to identify and landmark old growth cypress throughout Louisiana  by linking to David McNamara's recent Fox 8 "Heart of Louisiana" series feature on the Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy here: http://www.fox8live.com/story/30484500/heart-of-louisiana-legacy-cypress

This is now the oldest documented live cypress in Ascension Parish and was awarded LPCL Plaque #45.  As a proud owner of this tree and of several other old growth specimens nearby, Terry Mathern's intent to leave his property in its natural state  exemplifies the stewardship of our natural heritage that can be found throughout Louisiana. 

Know of any cypress that may be larger/older in Ascension or in other Parishes throughout the state?  Let us know at LaPurchaseCypressLegacy@gmail.com


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Shell Bank Bayou Cypress at Least 450 Years Old


N 30 09.910  W 090 27.033

           Here is the data on the landmarked cypress featured in the December BLOG entry.

Diameter 49 inches
Radius 24.5 inch
Bore obtained: 3.25 inches
Rings counted:  Approx. 90

Projected age Calculation:
                   3.25/24.5  (core sample/ radius)= 90 (rings counted)/x
X = 676 years

Based on a projected ring count of 676, a conservative estimate of the tree's age is 450 years. This estimate takes into account the likely faster growth at the tree's earliest phase of growth, which would show up in more widely spaced annual rings were a full radius boring (24.5 inches) obtained. As with many cypress trees this age, the hollow trunk precludes obtaining  a longer length boring; therefore a conservative age estimate is appropriate

 
Circumference: 12'10''


Vertical lines in section of 3.25 inch core (enlarged) show variation in spacing of annual growth rings. Closely spaced rings indicate slow yearly growth
Location of landmarked cypress-- upper center on map

 

Additional  old growth in small lakes south of Shell Bank Bayou (N 30 09.494 W 090 27.375)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

How Old Is This Shell Bank Bayou Cypress?


This cypress on Shell Bank Bayou (St. John the Baptist Parish) is a Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy Tree - “Alive in 1803” - based on comparison to other trees we’ve cored throughout Louisiana.

Can you estimate its age and circumference based on the age and circumference of other Cypress Legacy trees we’ve landmarked? (See our registry here of oldest known cypress in each parish for comparison to the Shell Bank Bayou tree).
Also check out previous Blog entries.

Please enter your “best guess” estimate in the comment  box below We’ll be posting the estimated age based on a circumference measurement and coring sample shortly--early January 2015.  Check back!


 LPCL Plaque on Shell Bank Bayou tree - GPS coordinates       30 09.910 N - W 090 27.033

Tuesday, December 31, 2013



500+ Year Old Cypress Landmarked on Bayou Dorcheat, Webster Parish, Louisiana



Bayou Dorcheat 500+ year cypress landmarked


Bayou Dorcheat is one of the most scenic of  Louisiana’s  designated Scenic Streams, extending from Lake Bisteneau through Webster parish into  Arkansas.  Hundreds of old growth cypress line its banks,  enriching the  timeless sense of wilderness experienced while paddling along this remote stream. The Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy landmarked one of these cypress—LPCL Plaque # 38.Here’s what we found out about this representative example of the old growth cypress along Bayou Dorcheat:

GPS coordinates 32 54.837 North  093 23.211 West (on left bank of bayou paddling south)
Circumference (above buttress) 13 feet 4 inch circumference
Diameter: 50 inches  Radius: 25 inches
Core sample: 4.5 inches
Rings counted: Approximately 130
Projected age; 500+ years

Projected age of 500+ years takes into account likely faster growing period during early growth period. Like most of these ancient trees the inside is hollow, meaning that core samples reflect slower growing later years.

To view this tree, launch boat at the Hwy 2 access. Paddle south about twenty minutes. Tree is located on left side (east bank) about two minutes paddle before teaching the overhead power lines.. The plaque is not easily visible as you paddle south towards the power lines; however, it will be visible viewed on the right bank heading north about two minutes from the overhead power lines. It is quite a distinctive tree with a full canopy and swirling bark.
We'll be adding this tree to our State wide registry of oldest known trees in each Parish.
If you know of possibly a large/older cypress in Webster Parish please let us know!



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Honoring the Monarch Press Release, June 19, 2012


Here is a video of the local Fox TV press release for the Monarch Cypress Tree at Jean Lafitte National Park near New Orleans.