Mrs. Glockner is one of the people who started the movement to stop shell dredging in Lake Pontchartrain and save our lake. Luckily for us we had the opportunity to interview Mrs. Glockner at her restaurant, Glockner's, on Lake Road in Lacombe, Louisiana.
She became involved in this affair because she was the president of the Concerned Crabbers. She was one of the many crabbers and fishermen who needed environmental destruction to stop for their jobs and joys. Now Mrs. Glockner is still in the fight for our lake but she has started a restaurant. The crabbers and fishermen rebelled when they realized the damage done to the lake by dredging. Dredging caused pollutants and silt to enter the lake, which blocked the sun and killed plants and animals. Dredging is a process where shells are removed from the bottom of the lake floor by dragging something similar to a giant claw across the bed of the lake. In the dredging process many fossil and shell beds are destroyed. The company which would dredge the lake, used the shells to make asphalt and cement. In its place we now use limestone. Dredging started in Lake Pontchartrain in 1930 and ended in 1991. Even though dredging was once allowed it was never allowed on the reefs and within one mile from the shore. They still dredged close to shore.
Since 1991 a battle has been going on over who should be able to use the lake for the purposes of their jobs. For now, the fishermen have won the battle because the dredgers could move to a different job in the same business, but the fishermen could not. Even though the issue is now settled the battle is still going on. During important parts of the stages to bring down dredging, dredgers went so far as to issue death threats. When people came to give presentations about saving the lake, the government treated them with no respect and ignored their presentations, yet they still managed to win the fight temporarily.
When dredging was stopped people began to think a little more about how they could protect the lake. Mrs. Glockner believes that pollution will never stop, but we can still try to make our lake better. If that happens, we will be able to make a cleaner lake and restore the wildlife we have destroyed. Now thousands of people are involved in trying to save Lake Pontchartrain. If we tried to bring our lake back to its original state it would take one hundred years to make it as healthy as before.
Now Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation's biggest goal is to try to close the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, which is the leading source of damage and pollution to the lake because it introduces saltwater intrusion. MRGO was built in the 1960's as a canal to shorten the time for boats to travel between New Orleans and the gulf. Interestingly, the outlet was built on land owned by Lady Bird Johnson. She then sold the land to the government for very little money. The outlet was about to close until September 11, 2001. According to Mrs. Glockner, they couldn't close MRGO because the government needed funds to protect the country against terrorism. As time goes on our chance to close it grows thinner because there is only one place left to close MRGO and it is deteriorating. So we must work even harder than before to encourage government officials to quickly close MRGO.