We caused problem, now time to correct it

May 04, 2009 at 11:51 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to spend some $1.7 million of stimulus package money on making the Davis Pond Diversion Project in St. Charles Parish work effectively.

The project, which was opened in 2002 after years of planning and construction, was expected to divert fresh water from the Mississippi River into the Barataria wetlands. This water was supposed to go through gates at the river into a leveed diversion canal which is right next to Willowdale and Willowridge Subdivisions and then through a rock filtering dam into Lake Cataouatchie.

From there it would spread into Lake Salvador and bring life to vegetation in the upper regions of the Barataria Basin. The project was planned to help restore the wetlands that protect populated areas from hurricane surges.

But at first the water threatened to top the levees along the diversion canal and flood nearby residential areas.
As a result, the locks at the river could not be opened enough to do any good. This has been corrected but additional money apparently is needed to cut an opening into the Cypress Lumber Canal levee, which is expected to allow the project to divert the 10,000 cubic feet of fresh water per second that was intended.

We’ve already seen some restoration of wetlands from the project but we need a lot more to make coastal Louisiana solid in our area. And many more fresh water and sediment diversion projects are needed to stabilize the coast.

When we built levees to prevent river water and silt from overflowing into surrounding areas, we caused the problem. Now we have to correct it.

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