Teche-Vermilion Pumping Station
What's the Story?
Efforts to control water in Louisiana have always been affected by the extreme natural and weather-related events that occur here. Additionally, solutions to one problem often create another, as is the case of the Atchafalaya River and the West Atchafalaya Basin Levee.
The West Atchafalaya Basin Levee was constructed between 1920 and 1940 to protect agricultural, industrial and residential lands on the Basin’s western side. But it also blocked periodic high water from the Atchafalaya River that previously flowed through bayous and canals into Bayou Teche and the Vermilion River. After the levee was built, the water in both rivers fell to very low levels multiple times, causing saltwater to flow in from the Gulf of Mexico. This made Bayou Teche and the Vermilion River unsuitable for irrigation. Excessive water use and pumping by agricultural entities created further problems.
The Flood Control Act of 1966 authorized the Teche-Vermilion Fresh Water Project, which provided funding to build the system that now transfers water from the Atchafalaya into these waterways. To control flow levels during periods of low rainfall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed a plan to pump up to 1,040 cubic feet per second of fresh water west from the Atchafalaya River (just north of Krotz Springs) through an outlet structure and 6-mile-long conveyance channel and across the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway to the western levee. It eventually flows into Bayou Courtableau, which feeds Bayou Teche and the channel formed by the borrow pit of the West Atchafalaya Basin Levee. From Bayou Courtableau, fresh water is distributed to various points downstream, including the Vermilion River at an upstream diversion via Bayou Fuseilier and the Ruth Canal. These rivers are connected by a series of bayous, drainage channels and other structures that allow water to flow between the two during high water events. Flow in the borrow pit continues to several bodies of water, including Lake Dauterive, Lake Fausse Point and, eventually, the Gulf. When this project was completed in 1982, the controlling authority became a collaborative venture between federal, state and local governments under a governing body called the Teche Vermilion Fresh Water District.
Without the Teche Vermilion Pumping Station and conveyance canal, water in the Teche and Vermilion rivers would not be adequate for irrigation needs, and water quality would be severely degraded due to stagnation and saltwater intrusion.
Every effort to control water has separate and sometimes unintended consequences. This project restores the historical connection between the Atchafalaya River and Bayou Courtableau, providing improved habitats, recreational opportunities and a better quality of life for residents along the Teche and Vermilion rivers.
This site’s geology/geomorphology: Holocene natural levee deposits of Atchafalaya River
Site Access: This trail kiosk is only accessible when the site gates are open. Visitors can call in advance to check open hours and arrange a free tour of the station - (337) 566-8927.
Site GPS Coordinates: 30.566683, -91.760967
Closest Address: 7644 Hwy. 105 N., Krotz Springs, LA 70750 ***Pump Station telephone number is (337) 566-8927. Call ahead to arrange a free tour of the station***
Driving Directions: From Krotz Springs, head north on Hwy. 105 for ~1.5 miles.
Trail Site Information
No Entrance Fees