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LCG asks Army Corps to consider dredging the Vermilion River

Posted at 10:37 PM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 12:18:40-04

The Lafayette City-Parish Council is asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider dredging the Vermilion River.

Tonight, the council members voted unanimously to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to consider if dredging the river is what is necessary to alleviate flooding.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers makes the decisions regarding dredging of the river. The council approved a resolution that asks the Corps to either proceed with dredging the river now, or to at least dredge "hot spots" in the river that council members believe would help flooding.

Thirteen people signed up to speak with the majority in favor of the resolution; however, some in a neighboring parish are concerned about the possible effects.

On Monday, the Vermilion Parish Council approved a resolution opposing dredging without a study of what the actual effects of the action would be. Today, Police Jury President Kevin Sagrera attended the Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting.

"The concerns are just the increased flow," explained Sagrera. "We know in Vermilion Parish that water has to come down through Vermilion Parish to get to the Gulf of Mexico. We just want to make sure that the effects of that are studied."

He said that some in his parish are concerned that more water brought into Vermilion Parish may cause a higher risk of flooding.

"We want to be part of the solution. We don't want to stop any water. We're not trying to block anyone's water. We just want to make sure everything is holistic and it's comprehensive," said Sagrera.

Harold Schoeffler, who supports the resolution, says dredging the Vermilion River is necessary and long overdue.

"That's real important because of the 5,000 homes in '16 that flooded, 73 percent had less than a foot. So, a foot or two makes a lot of difference," said Schoeffler.

Schoeffler also says dredging the river does more than just alleviate flooding.

"There's economic opportunity, absolutely, in restoring the depth to navigable levels."

Lafayette council members said that the study will look at effects across Acadiana and that it is not solely concentrating on Lafayette Parish.

Once the Army Corps is finished with their study, they will advise the city council of their next step in the process.