It's on us. Share your news here.

Alexander County Leaders Expect no Federal Help to Fix Breached Levee

Posted on June 30, 2016

By Anna Giles, WSIL3abc

Dozens of people living near the Mississippi River in Alexander County remain exposed to future flooding after a major levee breach earlier this year.

It happened during the severe flooding that hit Southern Illinois over the winter. For months, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis district has debated whether or not to fix the levee.

But according to Alexander County board Chairman Chalen Tatum, that’s probably not going to happen.

“The corps have told us, not put in writing, but they’ve told us verbally they are not going to put the levee back. So that’s going to be devastating for our county,” Tatum said.

According to county officials, fixing that breach would cost $16 million.

It’s a cost Tatum said federal officials didn’t think was worth the potential benefits, like saving homes and farmland.

A 2011 study by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates farmland within the Len Small Levee district is worth more than $40 million.

“It’s our lifeline between farmers and homeowners to keep things the way they should be,” Tatum said.

County highway officials say severe flooding on the Mississippi in future years could carve a completely new channel through Alexander County, disrupting barge traffic.

“They’ve put other levees back. I’m not sure why they won’t put ours back,” Tatum said.

Meantime, many people in Alexander County are unable to move away as they wait for state flood buyout money held up by the Illinois budget impasse.

Source: WSIL3abc

It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe