Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Residents think dredging is damaging property

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DONALDSONVILLE- Eric Weil has owned Cafe Lafourche for decades, but it wasn't until four years ago he started having serious problems with his building, located just feet away from Bayou Lafourche.

"They did all the dredging on the upper end here, and they created a problem, not only for me, but other land owners along the bayou," said Weil.

The Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District has dredged the waterway as part of a project meant to widen the bayou and improve flow. The bayou is a source of fresh drinking water for many communities.

"My deed said to the water's edge, the water's edge used to be another 18-20 feet out there," said Dan Safford, who owns property on the bayou, "they destroyed my bulk head, they didn't replace it, they destroyed my shed as you can see it's no longer here."

Weil is worried the project is causing some unintended consequences, claiming it's led to several cracks in his building and loss of land near his parking lot.

"Several times, I've had people coming in looking at purchasing the building, even Realtors bringing people in and I had to disclose my problem, and that lost my sale," said Weil.

The property owners think the problem is serious enough they've begun litigation with the Freshwater District. Ben Malbrough, executive director of the Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District, said the dredging operation does not go outside the state-owned water bottom, and experts take soil samples and carefully analyze the slope stability before they do the work.


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