April 25, 2016
Work is continuing on the Morganza-to-the-Gulf system that represents our region’s most ambitious plan for flood protection.
It is not quick or easy work — or cheap — but it is progressing.
A 9,000-foot section of levee, known as Reach G-2B, should be finished by this summer.
That is great news for the people, homes and businesses behind the levee.
The 13-foot-high, $13 million section of levee will be a huge boost in the flood protection for the area that extends out from Bayou Sale Road.
Eventually, the Morganza system will protect most of Terrebonne and parts of Lafourche from storm surge and high tides.
For Morganza to be built in full will take quite some time and money yet.
The federal government has dragged its feet on helping with the project, and bureaucratic delay has been more common than cooperation.
In the meantime, though, the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District is continuing to do what it can, without any federal money.
And this part is a significant development. Another milestone is expected next year, when Reach E — another stretch of about five miles of levee — is completed.
Together, the newest parts of the levee will help make good on a goal the district set years ago, to have 35 miles of levee in place before the 2017 hurricane season.
Early indications say that will happen, and it is an impressive accomplishment.
“By 2017, the 35 most vulnerable miles will have some storm protection without a single federal dollar,” said Terrebonne Levee District Director Reggie Dupre.
It is amazing to think that the local levee district, using local taxpayers’ investment along with some state money, has been able to get so far along with a project that is so crucial to our futures — all without the help we expect and deserve from the federal government.
At some point, perhaps, federal agencies will get on board and help make the full project a reality. That will require much more money than the local district can generate, but it will return a great deal of security for the people and property behind the levee.
And we are regularly reminded of just how much we can get done on our own.
No, we won’t be able to build the Morganza system that is designed on paper and that represents our best chance at flood protection. But we can make progress toward that goal, and that is exactly what the levee district continues to do.
We can want, demand and deserve all the help we want, but we can’t wait for it.