The Catahoula Lake project is expected to start next summer.
St.Martin Parish President Chester Cedars said the Catahoula Lake is a hazardous situation and he made a promise to his constituents that it would be dredged. A million dollars has been allocated for this project from a December 2016 drainage project that the board approved.
The parish has hired Cellars and Associates to assist with the project. They are currently in the process of picking up bids and going through the permit phase. Cedars said the biggest issue with the project is finding somewhere to put the soil they dredge. The spoil site will depend on how deep and long they can dredge. They cheaper the location for the spoil, the more they can dredge from a financial standpoint, he explains.
The parish plans to select a spoil disposal site between May and August of 2018. After that, the parish will apply for a permit for the project from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in September 2018. The hope is that the permit will be issued by July 2019, with bids accepted for the project in August 2019, and work starting in September 2019. Cedars said he hopes the project will be complete by March 2020.
Cedars said the entire process could be expedited if a spoil disposal site can be found sooner; then the permit process can start sooner.
Cedars suggests the lake needs to be dredged because the sediment causes a safety hazard to boaters. The sediment is interfering with the flow of water from bayous, and that’s causing high water levels, he said.
"This is only step one, we need to design a method to make sure all water going through the lake and to the gulf," Cedars said.