By: Meredith Burns, HoumaToday.com
March 28, 2016
With permits in hand, local levee district officials are preparing to build parts of the most eastern portions of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf storm-protection system in Lafourche Parish.
South Lafourche Levee District General Manager Windell Curole said his agency is working with the Terrebonne Parish Levee District on agreements that will allow them to complete right-of-way agreements and start construction.
The 10.5-mile section, known as Reaches K and L, stretches from Point-aux-Chenes to Cut Off where it connects to the South Lafourche Levee District’s ring levee system.
One segment of levee will be built on part of the Apache Farm Levee attached to the levee in south Lafourche. The state Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority should start advertising for that job in the coming months, Curole said.
The South Lafourche Levee District will operate the other contracts, including work on the part of the system near Pointe-aux-Chenes and a larger job shoring up an existing mitigation levee to 8 feet using dredged material from Grand Bayou.
Curole said they now have about $12 million in Community Development Block Grant money to spend on both reaches.
About $8 million will likely go to building up the mitigation bank for wetlands repairs, Curole said. Construction may begin in the fall.
The rest of the money will be spent on construction and engineering for a water-control structure on Grand Bayou, a tainter gate on little Bayou Blue and a stretch of levee between Apache Farm and Grand Bayou, Curole said.
“This is again just the beginning in making a big difference. We’re going to need more money to get the whole segment up to some type of elevation,” Curole said.
Dwayne Bourgeois, executive director for the North Lafourche Levee District, said his agency’s deepwater excavator will be used to complete some marsh terracing for wetland mitigation for some of the work and will help dredge out Grand Bayou to build up Reach K.
The North Lafourche Levee District became involved because Reaches K and L help protect the western part of Lafourche, as well as Terrebonne Parish.
“It creates one more speed bump, if you will, before storm surge gets to our levees,” Bourgeois said.
Curole said his district will not see as much direct benefit from the new work, but any time materials are put between the Gulf and homes is a good thing.
“But we’re all partners in this and we all work together very closely,” Curole said. “Lafourche and Terrebonne are connected at the hip in so many different ways, economically and in a lot of other ways. It’s just the best way to do work,” he said.