Corps should accept west bank levee compromise

March 19, 2008 at 11:37 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

While other areas are in the process of trying to get upgrades in their hurricane protection levees, the west bank of St. Charles still does not even have such a structure.

This has resulted partly as the result of a stalemate in the beginning as to where the levee should pass.

The parish favored a southern route which would have left a significant amount of wetlands between the levee and populated areas. This was deemed beneficial in leaving ponding areas for rain water. Property for that route would have been donated by the company that owns most of the land in the area.

But the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers didnít buy it. They foresaw the development of that wetlands into subdivisions in the future. Its choice for the levee was to abut it right up against areas that are already populated which would not allow room for rain water falling in the subdivisions to flow into the wetlands.

Now a new route has been proposed by Parish President V. J. St. Pierre and state Senate President Joel Chaisson II which compromises the levee location. It would leave some space south of the levee as a drainage basin for existing subdivisions. This had also been proposed by former President Albert Laque.

Though the original parish-preferred route would have left room for development of another subdivision, this compromise would leave room for very little development. And besides, the Corps rules the roost over any development in wetlands, whether it is leveed or not. If it does not give permits for such development, there will be none.

Work has been underway on a small three-mile stretch at the western end of the proposed levee which begins at Cousins Canal. The new proposed route would take a southern dip for a short ways behind Willowridge Subdivision and then turn westerly again to rejoin the route chosen by the Corps.

There should be little opposition by the Corps to this newly-proposed route. It will be cheaper to build the levee and should require less pumping capacity to keep existing residential areas on the west bank dry.

View other articles written Allen Lottinger

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