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|Alexander pushing Cocodrie drainage study|
Fifth District Congressman Rodney Alexander says he is working with the Corps of Engineers and state officials to speed up efforts to alleviate drainage problems in Concordia, particularly with the parish's major drainage channel, Bayou Cocodrie.
Alexander will be in Concordia on Thursday and plans to continue discussions on the issue with local officials. He'll also be speaking to the Ferriday Rotary Club at noon Thursday.
Cocodrie and parishwide drainage drew a crowd at the Police Jury's regular meeting Monday night.
"We do need a drainage study and we will do what we can do to get the funding," Alexander said Tuesday. "We have earmarks for the Corps of Engineers and hopefully we can divert some of that money in the right direction."
He says he's talked with local legislators and state officials about the problem, adding that the drainage problems with Cocodrie "are frustrating."
Undue regulations also get in the way, he said, noting, as an example, that "a tree grows in the wetlands and we're told you can't remove it although at one time the tree wasn't there. We shoot ourselves in the foot a lot of times and these things come back to haunt us."
Keith Cascio, who serves as Scenic Rivers Coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, told the Police Jury Monday night that the agency "will never stand in the way of protecting life and property."
Cascio said a feasibility study is needed, particularly a look at the hydraulics of Cocodrie.
He reminded jurors that the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act protects only a portion of Cocodrie -- from Wild Cow Bayou to Little Cross Bayou.
The act was passed by the Legislature "for the purposes of preserving, protecting, developing, reclaiming, and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regime of certain free-flowing streams..." and "for the purpose of preserving aesthetic, scenic, recreational, fish, wildlife, ecological, archaeological, geological, botanical, and other natural and physical features and resources found along these streams..."
"This is something we've been working at for a long time," said Jury President Melvin Ferrington. "We're moving it along as quickly as we know how."
Juror Randy Temple said part of the drainage problem is due to the fact that "we've improved drainage" in the northern end of the parish. He said he recalled when several years ago the Jury discussed work to improve Cocodrie's drainage but the result was "we liked to have had a mutiny" in the lower end of the parish.
Rep. Andy Anders said he will do "whatever it takes" on the state level, but suggested if efforts to speed up a feasibility study by the Corps can't be accomplished that maybe a private consultant can be hired for the work.
The water level of Lake Concordia was also discussed at the meeting.
Ronnie Tyson, a resident of the lake, said he believed the pool level being maintained is too high, but members of the Lake Concordia Advisory Committee said the 10-inch rain over three days two weeks ago and poor drainage were the reasons some piers on the lake went underwater.
Board members Ronnie Hendricks and Johnny Patrick said a 2 x 12 board will be removed from one of the weirs once it is safe to do so to reduce the pool stage, but noted that in 2006 lake levels were so low that many residents thought the pool level should be raised.
Heavy rains during Gustav last year and 10 inches of rainfall two weeks ago overflowed area lakes and drains and brought to the forefront drainage issues parishwide.
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