Aug 21, 2019

Louisiana City Approves River Dredging for Flood Control

Resolution was passed after the Lafayette council heard from multiple residents advocating for the dredging

Resolution was passed after the Lafayette council heard from multiple residents advocating for the dredging

Officials in Lafayette, La., have approved dredging the Vermilion River to help flood control efforts. 

According to The Daily Advertiser, the Lafayette city-parish council voted unanimously Aug. 20, 2019, to approve a resolution that declared the need to dredge the Vermilion River. It defines "the urgent need to dredge the Vermilion River to prevent future flooding.” The resolution also calls on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help determine how much dredging is necessary and funding, according to The Daily Advertiser.

Councilwoman Nanette Cook proposed a plan to put $5 million toward the project in the next fiscal year, according to The Daily Advertiser. The council will vote on the project during its Sept. 5 meeting. 

The resolution was passed after the council heard from multiple residents advocating for the dredging who believe it will have an impact on drainage in the area, according to The Daily Advertiser.

However, some Vermilion Parish leaders have concerns that the river will flow more quickly to the south, according to Houma Today. Another concern is saltwater intrusion damage to marshes in the area. 

“The answer is not universal. To convey water from point A to point B, you have to have a conduit with a certain slope. Making the conduit bigger is equivalent to adding more storage,” said Emad Habib, Louisiana Watershed Flood Center director, according to Houma Today. “This storage can help during average-size storms, but might be overwhelmed during major storms.”

The river was last dredged in the 1940s but has not been touched since, except for a 1-mile dredging project two decades ago, according to Houma Today. The river is too shallow after unabated silting, increasing the flooding risk

“I live on the river, and every heavy rainfall I watch the river move upstream instead of downstream, as it’s supposed to,” said Sarah Schoeffler, resident, at the City-Parish Council meeting Aug. 6, according to Houma Today. “Those shallow spots just act as dams.”

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