[StBernard] USACE mishandling of wetlands in St. Bernard Parish

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Mon Mar 21 11:51:13 EDT 2011

The attachment above was sent to Senator David Vitter and Senator Mary
Landrieu on March 20, 2011.

Larry Arcement

Dear Louisiana State Senators,

This is concerning the apartments under construction by Provident Realty
Advisors in St. Bernard Parish also know as Aberdeen Court apartments and
the Army Corps of Engineer's mishandling of the wetlands located on this

We requested and were provided a map by the Army Corps of Engineers showing
the wetlands that existed on the tract of land owned by the Meraux
Foundation and Provident Realty Advisors.

According to my calculations, two of the apartment buildings protrude into
the wetlands. The USACE has issued a Cease and Desist Order (after
construction started and after citizens of St. Bernard held up SIGNS on side
of the highway saying, "Wetland Cover up" and "Hold the Corps of Engineers
Accountable") but Provident Realty workers continue to build the apartment
building closest to West Judge Perez Drive that protrudes into the wetlands
and wetlands buffer zone.

Mr. Robert Heffner's (Army Corps of Engineers Representative) first visited
the site that was under construction. He marked the wetland perimeter with
flagging. Then, a few days later, the flagging was missing. We notified
Mr. Heffner of this, and he told me that they (pointing to the Provident
Realty workers) moved them. On Mr. Heffner's second visit to re-mark the
perimeter of the wetlands that Provident Realty workers pulled up and/or
moved out of the way. Mr. Heffner did not mark the same location of the
wetland perimeter as he marked on his first visit. The flagging now
bypasses (stays clear) the apartment building closest to West Judge Perez
Drive. Please note we have photos that show the original wetland perimeter
marked off by Mr. Heffner on his first visit and now in a different location
from the first wetland perimeter markings.

We have been notified, that the Army Corp of Engineers will "STREAMLINE"
Provident Realty's wetland permit application ( in less than 20 days)
because the property has only 0.3 acres of wetlands on it. First the USACE
states it had NO wetlands, then, they state it DOES have wetlands. Then the
USACE is saying the property only has 0.3 acres of wetlands and can be
streamlined. Now the USACE have missed wetlands located near the entrance
of the construction site. My calculations show a larger amount of wetlands
than indicated by the Army Corps of Engineers. Is this a USACE error,
miscalculation or do they not even know where the wetlands are actually
located? The wetlands have been chemically destroyed, drained and bulldozed
prior to the start of construction .

We need the USACE to conduct a detailed core sampling grid analysis on this
property to determine the exact location and exact amount of wetlands
calculated on this piece of property. This is the only way now to determine
the wetlands location and amount of wetlands because of the chemicals used
to destroy them (There are several witnesses and photos to prove this).
Very soon, Provident Realty Advisors will pour the concrete slabs over a
portion of the wetlands, and core sampling may be impossible to conduct.

Please note we have sent many emails to the Corps of Engineers, dating back
to January 2010, notifying them, with photos attached, that wetlands existed
on the Meraux Foundation/Provident Realty Property (Aberdeen Court Site)
that Provident Realty Advisor is currently building apartments on.

Please contact Mr. Heffner at Robert.A.Heffner at usace.army.mil to notify him
of these findings . Again, we need someone from the Army Corps of Engineers
to conduct a detailed grid of core samples and correctly mark ALL the
wetlands on this property. We also need the USACE to issue a Cease and
Desist Order on the wetlands located at the entrance to this same
construction site.

I have already notified Mr. Heffner, by email, with attached photos, on
March 15, 2011, that show Provident Realty workers digging, with shovels,
and dumping concrete, out of five gallons buckets, into the wetlands already
marked off by him. Mr. Heffner has not responded to that email. I will send
the complaint Certified Mail, Return Receipt next.

Please note, on the same tract of land, a new hospital for St. Bernard
Parish is also currently under construction. At a recent St. Bernard Parish
Council meeting, a member of the Hammes Group, the hospital developer,
stated that the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers would not "STREAMLINE" the
wetlands remediation permit for the St. Bernard Parish hospital development.
This Hammes representative also stated that it took the Hospital Service
District more than (4) four months to receive a USACE wetland permit for the
hospital site. He also stated that a wetlands permit was needed before the
USACE would even allow the Hospital Service District to "drive a truck" on
the wetlands, much less start constructing a commercial building.

A website is now online that has photos of the above at

Best regards,

Larry and Dana Arcement

2916 Jean Lafitte Parkway

Chalmette, La. 70043


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