Bayou Lafourche Dredging To Increase Water Flow Progresses

THIBODAUX, LA (AP) — Two dredges are working around the clock to help clear sediment from Bayou Lafourche just north of Plattenville that provides drinking water to more than 300,000 people in Lafourche, Terrebonne, Assumption and Ascension parishes.

         The Daily Comet’s Meredith Burns reports the dredge work is part of a massive project called Mississippi River Reintroduction to Bayou Lafourche that is designed to increase freshwater flow into the bayou to sustain residents' water supply and surrounding coastal marshes.

         Ben Malbrough, Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District executive director, said it's exciting to see progress made on various components of the project, including dredging, a new railroad bridge and a saltwater control structure, all of which are expected to work together to help revitalize the bayou.

         "This is their drinking water source and there really isn't an alternate," he said.

         The second dredging phase, now about 30 percent complete, involves clearing the banks and removing sediment from 8.3 miles of the bayou between Belle Rose and Napoleonville.

         It builds off of the nearly 6 miles of dredging from Donaldsonville to Belle Rose completed in 2011 during the first phase.

         The roughly $20 million second dredging phase, which the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is paying for with federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program money, is expected to finish up next June, Malbrough said.

         As the two dredges make their way down the bayou moving a combined 3,800-6,500 cubic yards of material a day, project leaders are making progress replacing the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge in Donaldsonville.

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