LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - While some call Livingston's waterways the beauty of the parish, others will say that beauty comes at a cost. But during a heavy rain storm or hurricane, the waterways swell and flood the parish.
Now though, three barges are providing some relief, coming to the parish as part of a gr ant. "It's a $3.5 million project that we'll start doing on the Natalbany River from Highway 22 to I-12, from the Tickfaw State Park to the St. Helena line, and then West Colyell and East Colyell to Buddy Ellis Road," said Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks.
Large claws on the three barges will pick up downed trees and debris out of the waterways. The goal is to clean up about 52.5 miles of the Tickfaw, Natalbany, and Colyell Creek by November, when the gr ant comes to an end. The cleanup will remove large logs, limbs, and any other debris out of the water with hope of making it easier for boaters to navigate.
The gr ant was applied for right after the 2016 flood and the project is finally coming to fruition. Officials are also hoping the cleanup will help reduce flooding.
"It will help in a way to decrease flooding, simply because when the logs pile up in the waterway, water has nowhere to go, just like when you build a slab and that's just how much water you put in somewhere else. What happens is debris can actually block the flow of water until it reaches a certain height. With getting the debris out, the water can flow through freer and move on to the south like it's intended to do," said Ricks.
Livingston Councilman Tab Lobell says they submitted 30 different waterways as part of the gr ant, but only three waterways were approved. "We applied for most of the waterways around here. These are the ones that were approved for us to get federal dollars for, so in my mind, some is better than none," said Lobell.
Now, they just hope there are no hurricanes or strong storms while the project is underway.
Livingston officials have also partnered with Tangipahoa Parish. They too already have boats in the water in the Natalbany River.