Eunice City Lake
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the City of Eunice have launched a project to rehabilitate Eunice City Lake after a Union Pacific Railroad explosion in May 2000 potentially released hazardous materials and chemicals into the surrounding area.
Thirty-three of the 113 cars making up an eastbound Union Pacific Railroad train derailed northwest of Eunice, Louisiana. The derailment occurred on a bridge crossing an unnamed tributary to Bayou Des Cannes. Fifteen of the derailed cars contained a variety of hazardous materials and chemicals, and two rail cars exploded, potentially sending their contents into the surrounding area, including Eunice City Lake.
The total amount for environmental rehabilitation projects that will be executed by the LWFF and LDWF exceeds $1 million. After all claimants had been paid following the incident, residual funds were left in the account. The Honorable Richard T. Haik of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, the presiding Judge overseeing the train derailment litigation, awarded the monies to the LWFF to fund the improvement projects on the lake.
Although it was determined that there were no health risks involved in eating fish from the lake, concerns about fish contamination discouraged recreational use of the lake. Improvement projects will include draining the lake, removing the existing fish population and restocking the lake with bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and sac-a-lait.
Existing facilities will also be revitalized to accommodate those seeking an outdoor recreational refuge within the community. A large pavilion will be constructed as a revenue generating space available to the community for private outdoor events.
Other site improvements include the construction of a deck and pier, restroom facility, picnic pavilions, nature walk, welcome center and asphalt road and parking. Repairs will be made to the existing fishing and boat dock, boat slip and the existing lake control structure will be replaced.