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|Black River Lake environmental impact study underway|
A $3.6 million flood control/recreation project on Black River Lake -- already funded and now being assessed for its environmental impact -- would have provided some drainage relief last week when more than 10 inches of rain fell in some locations in the parish.
Project engineer Randy Denmon of Denmon Engineering of Monroe also said the project will include a flood control structure that will connect Black River Lake to Black River to assist in drainage, while the work will also improve fishing on the lake.
"This is a good project," he said.
The Black River Lake drainage project is designed to considerably reduce the fluctuation in the water level in the Black River/Horseshoe Lake area. Denmon said the environmental impact study should be completed in a few months and that construction could begin as early as next summer in 2010.
"We will have to build this thing from July through November when Black River is at pool stage," said Denmon.
Former Rep. Bryant Hammett secured funding for the project when he was Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, beginning with $100,000 to study and prepare plans. In 2006, $1 million was secured for construction, while the remaining $2.5 million for construction of the project has been approved by the state Bond Commission.
This portion of the project will provide a gated structure through the levee into Black River and will allow Black River to back up into the complex during times of low water and allow runoff to flow directly into Black River during times of heavy local rainfall.
This drainage structure is the first phase of a three-part project. Modifications to the weir at Cocodrie Bayou and the installation of a set of locks in Cross Bayou, both of which will help maintain a higher water level in Horseshoe Lake, are also part of this water quality enhancement project.
Biologists from the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Department (LWFD) say the fisheries will be significantly enhanced by more adequately handling the water level and providing water flow through the structure.
After funding was approved, Hammett, while chairman of the LWFD, said a public boat ramp will be constructed adjacent to the control structure.
"These type projects that enhance and preserve our natural resources and make these resources more available to the public are vital to insure that our children and grandchildren have the opportunities to enjoy all that the Sportsmen Paradise has to offer," said Hammett.
The Black River Lake Commission, which is the governing body of this complex, includes Van Strebeck, J.W. Calhoun (chairman), Edwin "Boo" Holland, Tim Richards and Phillip Spinks.
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