Army Corps re-studying Amite River hoping for flood relief
DENHAM SPRINGS – The Army Corps of Engineers is taking steps to prevent flooding caused by Amite River backwater. But it'll be years before homeowners see any relief.
During an open house in Denham Springs, the federal agency announced Congress has set $3 million aside to re-study the Amite River basin. A similar study was conducted back in the 1990's. But since the 2016 flood, Congress wants to re-evaluate.
"To kind of get public opinion on the problems in the area and hear the options on how to address the flooding," said Lead Planner with the Army Corps of Engineers Travis Creel.
This isn't what some homeowners want to hear.
“We keep studying, we keep studying but no one seems to be able to come up with a project and get it done,” said Curtis Sutherland who lives in Galves.
Sutherland lives along the Amite River. He’s seen it change for the worse over the years.
“When my parents bought the property the river was 25 to 30 feet deep. Now, the average depth in front of my home is less than 10 feet," he said.
The river is filled with silt creating drainage and flooding problems. The WBRZ Investigative Unit recently reported the waterway hasn't been dredged since 1956.
“You kind of get frustrated with the amount of time studying, but if we can finally followup with actions then that’s fine,” said Denham Springs Mayor Gerald Landry.
The Army Corps of Engineers presented some preliminary options, including dredging the lower and central part of the Amite basin, and building retention ponds in the upper part. But just the study portion won't be complete until 2021. For many, patience is running thin.
“That's understandable,” said Creel. “We're doing everything we can to push these studies to the left and get it to congress and stakeholders for solutions as quick as we can."
Another open house meeting is being held Thursday night in Prairieville from 5:30 to 7:30p.m. in the parish library’s Galvez branch.