DMR Working To Clean Up Broken-Down Piers

Most people say the only thing they're good for is a pit stop for weary birds. Bay St. Louis fisherman Peter Marchetta says they're just plan ugly.

"[They] don't look good to me at all," Marchetta said. "Believe me, they're just sitting up there doing nothing. I think they ought to be pulled up, taken up, make it look nicer here."

Crumbling piers along the coastline have created a different problem for one Long Beach resident.

"When the piers rot out and the tide's high, you can't see them there," Merlin Castleberry said. "It can cause damage to the bottom of your boat, which I've experienced already, almost over a grand worth of damage."

The Department of Marine Resources has been working for several months to solve the problem.

"The Department of Marine Resources has been actively working on pier standards since last May, when the commission on Marine Resources directed the DMR to develop construction and maintenance standards for private piers," DMR spokesperson Lauren Thompson said.

One of the proposed rules gives land owners 24 months to remove or rebuild their damaged piers. Others would impose fines for leaving piers in disrepair.

The department is also considering guidelines on how long and how high a pier should be.

Part of the proposed pier standards would address derelict piers which can pose a serious navigational hazard to boaters.

Until the DMR adopts guidelines for existing piers, there's not much it can do. If a pier is deemed a hazard to boaters, the department will try to eliminate the danger.

Right now, there's only one rule regulating piers. If you want to build a new one, you must get a permit from the DMR.