The Wildflower Energy Project Begins
The Friends of Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is supporting efforts in St. Mary Parish to develop an area consisting of wildflowers and grasses over the pipeline right-of-ways. The beginning phase of the Wildflower Energy project will be to create about a 20 acre area of native wildflowers and grasses. Over time, the project could be expanded to cover additional areas on pipeline and electric power line right-of-ways.
By planting wildflowers over the pipeline right-of-ways which cannot contain trees, the area would attract and aid pollinators, birds and many species of wildlife. If you would like to help please consider a donation to the Friends of Bayou Teche NWR.
Directions to the Wildflower Area
From Hwy 90 take the Centerville exit at LA317 and exit towards Burns Point. The GPS location at the overpass is N29 44' 36" W91 26' 09.2". Travel down LA317 for about .3 miles where you will pass a gas station located on your right and then a railroad track. Turn right onto Alice C Road at GPS N29 44' 18.8" W91 26' 22.5". Traveling down Alice C Road at about .7 miles you will cross a small bridge with a pumping station to your left. Continue on Alice C Road for about 1.45 miles (GPS N29 45' 21.7 W91 27' 48.2"). Turn left on Stephen R Road (this is a gravel road with a large wooden Bayou Teche Refuge sign). The project is located along the road near the sign and also at the back of the road at the pond.
Walking Area to View the Project
Use the map shown at your left and click on directions for detailed notes with GPS points.
The Wildflower Energy Area on the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge was once comprised of sugarcane fields. In the area are Right of Ways (ROW) that are oil and gas pipelines and power lines. These ROWs can be valuable to wildlife and humans as they not only transport energy but support, pollinators, insects, birds, rodents, reptiles and humans. The area being restored for wildlife also serves as a corridor for the Louisiana Black bear from the Atchafalaya Basin to the coastal forest and marshes.
Recently, the Friends of the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge received funding from Shell and TC energy to plant wildflowers and native grass which can absorb carbon creating a better environment. Since the tilling of the soil for farming releases the carbon content absorbed by the crops, research has shown that pipelines that were not farmed contained up to five times more carbon in the soil as the farmed land. That is why we hope to return this area to more natural state.
The Wildflower Energy Area allows visitors to see the beginning of the project and watch it grow. It is progressing every day with more birds and pollinators as time goes on.
This is not an official trail that is maintained, but is a great place to view birds and wildlife as the area develops. The grass on the pipelines may or may not be suitable for easy walking.
Please view the map for information on walking through the area. If following the red line as you walk, you will be traveling about two miles. The blue line is about one mile.
Before visiting the area, we suggest that you check the regulations at www.fws.gov/refuge/bayou-teche.