Property owners raise concerns over False River drawdown - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Property owners raise concerns over False River drawdown

FALSE RIVER, LA (WAFB) -

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Despite concerns voiced by property owners along False River, the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury voted 9-1 to draw down the river by six feet.

The process will begin on September 6 and end in January 2017. Then the water will be gradually released back into the river.  

Leaders said it will enhance fishing and recreation, but some property owners believe it will only hurt their investment. 

“It is a place that is like God's paradise,” Patricia Schnur said.

Property owners who build along the water typically prepare for possible flooding. But the people who live along False River are bracing for quite the opposite. 

The False River Committee, which includes a Wildlife and Fisheries agent, an engineer, and local leaders, is recommending that the river be lowered by six feet to help revitalize the lake. That has raised a number of concerns. 

"Property damage, alligators, and snakes," said some residents. 

The water at the flood control structure measured just under 17 feet on Tuesday, but it is much shallower near most of the homes. 

Longtime resident, Rick Falgout, used an anchored string to measure the water in his backyard. 

"Right here, in this canal, it is only five feet. So that means this canal, which leads back to discharge which leads to the swamps and all the way back this way, eight miles is going to be totally drained," Falgout said. 

Residents said when the river was reduced by just three feet last year, at least 60 properties sunk or began to erode. 

"I had to come out of my own pocket and fix it myself," Falgout said. 

"We had holes, like three or four holes by our bulkhead that we had to fill in ourselves,"Jackie Jones said. 

They fear a six foot draw down would only make matters worse. 

"I would not have anything but muck in front of my house," Schnur said. 

Homeowners said silt has already built up in the lake as a result of repeated dredging. Draining it, they fear, will only bring more problems to the surface. They added, the parish promised to plant rocks to help keep the silt out of the lake. But, so far, that has not been done. 

"I think what they need to do is spend time on the rock weirs and get it in place to stop the silt from coming in, which is the thing they really need to do, and quit playing around," Falgout said. 

The police jury president, Cornell Dukes, said the parish is bringing in engineers and other experts to determine the best way to minimize risks to property owners. 

As for the rock weirs, he said, that project has been approved and is now being designed.

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