Levee board hears reports, answers rumors
Reports were delivered Thursday to the St. Mary Levee District on the various flood protection efforts across the parish.
Also, the district answered questions posed by attendees to dispel rumors.
President Bill Hidalgo said a section of the sheetpile dam erected in the Franklin Canal will be removed to provide marine navigation and drainage for rain water. But the section can be quickly put back for hurricane surge protection if need arises, he added.
Elsewhere, Hidalgo said rumors that cattle guards in place of gates will have to be installed on levees are false.
He said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will allow the return of cattle on the levees once the river stage at Morgan City is down to 6 feet, projected to be by the end of the month.
Gates on the levees are now open but once the Corps concludes daily inspections, Hidalgo said they will be closed and secured with keyed-alike levee district locks. Cattle owners and others needing access will be provided with keys.
Mark Rogers of T. Baker Smith updated the board on backwater flood protection efforts in the Morgan City and Amelia areas. He said a removal and restoration plan is being prepared for presentation to the Corps next week.
He said plans include leaving in place as much of the Bayou Chene emergency flood structure as possible to be incorporated into the permanent structure now in preliminary design. There will be a meeting on Tuesday with the Corps to determine what permits will be needed to proceed.
In the first phase of removal, Rogers said when the difference in the water level between the protected and unprotected sides of the structure are no greater than 1-inch, the rock weir in the center of the barge will be taken out. He added that the water level was at 4 feet on the unprotected side and 2 feet on the protected side Thursday.
“We’ve got about a foot to go,” he said.
The barge itself will be removed once the river stage returns to normal which is projected to be at the beginning of July. Sheetpile and rock located outside of the navigation channel will be left in place, pending Corps approval, Rogers said. The canal will be restored to its original 400-foot width by 20-foot depth, he added.
He commended the levee district and all involved on how fast and efficiently the structure was put in place.
“It was really amazing and it really did work very, very well,” he said.
The work done in Amelia turned out to be “a second line defense” due to the effectiveness of the Bayou Chene structure, according to Kevin O’Gorman, also of T. Baker Smith. Much of that work can be incorporated into projects by Drainage District 6.
A report released by the SMLD on May 27 provides details on all the work done across the parish:
—Assisted the Town in obtaining 6,000 linear feet of Tiger Tubes to protect from Bayou Choupique backwater flooding
—Assisted the City in obtaining 6,100 linear feet of Tiger Tubes
— Installed 125 linear feet of sheet piles, and delivered 125, 3 foot by 3 foot sandbags and 120 cubic yards of sand to the Franklin Canal area, effectively closing the canal to prevent back-water flooding
—Currently working on putting 300 cubic feet/second portable pumps on standby to ensure adequate pumping capacity if it rains within the protected area of the Franklin Canal
— Installed 200 linear feet of sheet piles and delivered 200, 3 feet by 3 feet sandbags and 200 cubic yards of sand to the Hanson Canal area, effectively closing the canal to prevent backwater flooding
—Installed 200 linear feet of sheet piles, and delivered 200, 3 feet by 3 feet sandbags and 200 cubic years of sand to the Yellow Bayou area, effectively closing the bayou to prevent backwater flooding
—Currently working on putting 200 cubic feet/second portable pumps on standby to ensure adequate pumping capacity if it rains within the protected area of Yellow Bayou
E. Bayou Sale—Gordy Road Reach
—Delivered and installed 200, 3 feet by 3 feet sandbags, 710 cubic yards of sand, and 300, 3 feet by 3 feet by 15 feet Hesco baskets to elevate the levee height to prevent backwater flooding in the area
—Elevated levee in low areas near the Exxon pipe yard and boat landing with dirt that was available on and near the levee
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway near the Bayou Sale Ridge and La. 317
—Placed 1,000 cubic yards of clay soil on the north bank and 1,650 cubic yards of clay soil on the south bank of the GIWW and also lined with large sand bags
—Delivered and installed 10,000 cubic yards of sand; 3,000, 3 feet by 3 feet sandbags, and 5,000, 3 feet by 3 feet by 15 feet Hesco baskets to protect the citizens living on and near Bayou Teche and Calumet
Cotten Road Levee Area
—Placed 1,600 cubic yards of rip rap on the unprotected side of the levee to prevent erosion
—Placed 500 linear feet of reclaimed asphalt and 200 filled sandbags on the levee near the pump station area south of Highway 90 to increase the levee height approximately 2 feet to align with existing flood wall
Wilson Landing, Patterson
—Placed 1,200 linear feet of reclaimed asphalt on levee to increase height and the United States Army Corps of Engineers placed Hesco baskets on the unprotected side of the levee
—Assisted in acquiring 30,360 cubic yards of sand; 80,000 sandbags (30 pound), 2,000 – 3 feet by 3 feet sand bags; 16,400 yards of clay soil, and 12,000 – 3 feet by 3 feet by 15 feet Hesco baskets for the Amelia Area, and requesting the 100 National Guard personnel to install to prevent backwater flooding
—Requested 15 dirt hauling trucks, various dozers, and a front end loader provided by DOTD
Portable pumps have been acquired to ensure any stormwater from a rain event is able to be pumped over the protective measures.
—One 500 feet by 120 feet by 33 feet submersible deck barge, 24,000 tons of rip rap, 1,000 linear feet of sheetpile has been installed into Bayou Chene to prevent backwater flooding in the Amelia and Morgan City areas, in addition to Terrebonne, Assumption, Lower St. Martin, and Iberville Parishes
—Levees have been constructed on Avoca Island and improvements have been made on Tabor Canal to tie into the existing spoil bank levees, close two pipeline canals, raise one weir structure, and to tie into the Bayou Chene structure
—Aids to navigation have been installed in the channel and on the barge in accordance with United States Coast Guard regulations to denote closed channel.
In other action Thursday the board:
—Set fees for standard permits and letters of no objections at $100, miscellaneous permit fees at $200 and permits after the fact at $500. Information on the permits can be found on the district’s Web site at www.smld.org.
—Hired Shelly Duval as administrative assistant on a full time basis.
—Heard from Executive Director Allen Kelly that work continues on preparation of the 33 project worksheets to be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement of 75 percent of all flood protection efforts.