Lower Amite River plagued with shallow, stagnant water
MAUREPAS - The Amite River Basin Commission is getting the ball rolling to solve water quality problems on the lower Amite River.
Amite River Basin Commission Executive Director Dietmar Rietschier says the lower Amite River is not getting enough flow past the Diversion Canal. The water is too shallow along the river in areas from French Settlement to Lake Maurepas.
In the 50s a rock structure called a "weir" was built to force water into the Amite River and let flood water flow into the Diversion Canal. Over the years that structure sank down to the point of keeping water away from the Amite River.
"Very little water is going through the old channel," said Rietschier. "It is both an environmental issue on the one hand. It's also a hydrological issue on the other in terms of bringing the river back to some normalcy so there is some flow into Lake Maurepas."
Rietschier says the weir will be rebuilt to bring water back into the old channel. Then the group plans to address poor water quality in the shallow, stagnant areas of the Amite River by clearing obstructions and dredging.
People who live along the Amite River feel this is a great start.
"They gotta do something with this. I mean when you can see across the canal a lot and you see nothing but bank that can't be too good for the wildlife," said resident Dennis Dillenkoffer. "This is some of the lowest water I've seen in a very long time since I've been here."
The Amite River Basin Commission plans to apply for grants and seek funding through the state and federal government to pay for the necessary work.