Rita Debris

Reported by: Associated Press

Four-wheelers, trees, boats, sheet metal and even the 64-foot frame of a mobile home are among the hundreds of items being pulled from Calcasieu Lake which flooded during Hurricane Rita in 2005.

The state wildlife department launched the cleanup program in November. The contractor, CrowderGulf Disaster Recovery and Debris Management of Theodore, Alabama, is expected to be done next week.

Such cleanup programs statewide are intended to restore Louisiana's oyster and shrimp fishing grounds. They are funded by $54 million from Congress and require contractors to employ Louisiana-based commercial and charter boat fishermen to remove the debris.

CrowderGulf has scanned 33 four-square-mile grids of the lake with a towable sonar for an overall view and with side-imaging sonar to get a closer picture of debris. Outlines of debris can clearly be seen on printouts of the sonar.