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Army Corps study shows dredging the Vermilion River may not be the best solution

Army Corps study shows dredging the Vermilion River may not be the best solution
Posted at 6:46 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 19:14:02-05

Talks are continuing on how to better protect Lafayette homes from flooding.

A popular suggestion has been to dredge the Vermilion River, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday the $150 million dollar price tag will protect too few people.

In a press conference today, the study shows that dredging the Vermilion River isn't a long-term solution and some citizens feel it should still be considered.

"I would like to see the science that says only these neighborhoods around the river benefit from dredging this river," says Dave Dixon.

Dave Dixon has lived near the Vermilion River for nearly 30 years and believes the numbers presented by the U.S. Army Corps are not accurate and do not consider how long it takes for water to be drained out after flooding.

"That is a period of risk, so if you're already starting off with the river and you get a big event coming in, you're going to flood some people. That's exactly what happened in June," says Dave Dixon.

However, U.S. Army Corps engineer Mark Wingate says concentrating on the Vermilion River is not the best long-term solution, especially because less than 200 people would benefit form the multi-million dollar project.

Mark Wingate says, "It would require substantial investment with very limited benefits, but more importantly what it really shows us is if we're to move forwards as a region, we really need to look at more comprehensive solutions."

The final decision has not yet been made; officials say they're continuing to brainstorm to figure out what is best.

Congressman Clay Higgins says, "We want to find the best way to invest the people's treasure in order to impact the greatest number of those homes that were affected by that major water event. That's what we're measuring against."

See the findings from the study below: