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Iberville Parish president rejects Army Corps' possible flood control project

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IBERVILLE PARISH - The Army Corps of Engineers is looking into turning Spanish Lake in Iberville Parish into flood storage for water from the Amite River and Bayou Manchac. However, the parish president is shutting the idea down.

“I can take care of my own. Keep water in East Baton Rouge Parish, in East Baton Rouge Parish. Build that reservoir in their parish,” said Mitch Ourso.

Ourso found out about this possible project from a report in The Advocate. Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers held an open house to discuss preliminary ideas on how to control flooding in the Amite River basin. That included using Spanish Lake as a flood storage area.

"This can't happen,” said Ourso.

Iberville Parish has invested millions of dollars in repairs after the 2016 flood. Water overflowed from Bayou Manchac, crossed Manchac Road, and filled up the Spanish Lake Basin.

“Water stayed in my people’s homes for over 30-some days before I had to make the road cuts,” said Ourso.

The parish upgraded their flood gates in St. Gabriel to prevent backwater from entering Spanish Lake. Ourso wants to keep it that way.

“The gates were designed for one way, and that's the only way they're going to work."

Ourso sent a letter to U.S. Representatives voicing his opposition to the Spanish Lake idea on Monday.

The Army Corps told WBRZ last week all projects they're looking into surrounding the Amite basin are just possibilities right now. The federal agency received $3 million to re-study the area. That will be complete in 2021.

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