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|Giles Island lawsuit may delay levee upgrades|
A federal lawsuit filed this summer against the Fifth District Levee Board may delay work in progress to raise the mainline Mississippi River from Morville to north of Vidalia in Concordia Parish, according to levee board officials.
The lawsuit was filed June 10, 2011, in Jackson, Miss., by Clarkban and Bancroft Enterprises, LLC, and concerns Giles Island property.
Speed Bancroft is President of Bancroft Enterprises, located in Monroe.
Fifth District Levee Board President Reynold Minsky said the mainline levee north of Vidalia that includes the Giles Island property is "the lowest point in Concordia we've got left to raise."
He said the work should not be delayed because "I don't think the levee there is sufficient to hold another flood like we had this year. If it happens again and the levee's not raised we'll be teetering on levee failure."
The Giles Island property is located on Mississippi soil but approachable by land from Louisiana. Giles Island was formed during a Corps of Engineers project in 1933 to excavate a cut-off from the Mississippi River above Vidalia at Giles Cut-Off, also known as Cowpen Bend Cut-Off.
Levee Board Superintendent of Operations Jason Trichell said the Bancroft property on Giles Island is located on the riverside of the mainline levee north of Vidalia and protects Louisiana citizens from flooding.
Trichell said the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development informs the levee district of "the property owners we need to contact for rights-of-way and the location of the barrow area where dirt will be removed to raise or build the levee."
In a March 2010 letter, the levee board notified Bancroft Enterprises that the levee district was giving the company 60 days notice to "remove any timber deemed merchantable within the right-of-way. After sixty days, USACE (U.S. Corps of Engineers) has the right to remove any timber within these limits."
In April 2010, the levee board informed Bancroft that it had adopted a resolution to appropriate Louisiana lands required for rights-of-way work for levee enlargement and berns from Morville to Vidalia. The levee board said it would have the tracts of land along that route appraised and that negotiations for compensation of acreage would be initiated.
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