ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - There are some hidden dangers buried in our rivers and bayous that could cause homes to flood during a heavy rainstorm. Ascension Parish leaders are doing their part to help protect public and private property.
Just behind a tree line not far from the Mississippi River, a lone track hoe operator has the tedious task of clearing a wide path of debris. In New River Bayou, a parish worker uses a grinding arm to shred trees and overgrown shrubs that have blocked the bayou from Geismar to Gonzales. It's a rural part of the parish, but Ascension Parish spokesman, Martin McConnell, says what happens there has a big impact on what could happen to residences and businesses during a big rain event like the August 2016 flood.
"It increases the water capacity, more places for the water to go so it doesn't spill out of the banks. It stays inside the banks until we can get it out through the Marvin Braud pumping station," McConnell said.
Roughly three miles of New River Bayou will be cleared of debris. Drainage crews tackle about 400 to 500 feet each day. It's just one of several projects happening now in Ascension Parish to improve drainage. In the northeast part of the parish, crews are dredging Muddy Creek. At the southeast end, on Pertuis Road, work is underway to clear trees from ditches. Culverts are being replaced along Bill Morgan Road in Prairieville. McConnell said there are many more projects planned throughout the parish as well.
"We live in south Louisiana. Drainage is an issue here, so we need to take care of this. Whether it be the hurricane season or rainy season or the monsoon season or whatever, it is important and it's something we work on every day," McConnell said.
The parish also responds to drainage requests from the public. If you see an issue that you believe could cause your neighborhood to flood, call 225-450-1300.