Bayou Du Portage serves as the parish line between Iberia and St Martin and also plays an important role in collecting runoff and dirt deposits from more than 30,000 acres from each parish.
Guy Cormier, St. Martin Parish Parish President, says “The fine dirt just makes its way into the bayou and then it gets carried out into the lake. It took a number of years but it eventually built up in that area.”
The suction dredge you see right over here will actually go up and down the bayou until they dig out or dredge that dirt or silt that’s built up over time.
Cormier says, “So we’re going to the mound out completely where the channel itself can come to the lake and that again helps remedy the situation that has been happening for a number of years.”
The timing of the project is “perfect” according to Cormier who says both parishes came together to dredge 150,000 cubic yards of mud before hurricane season begins in June.
Cormier says, “The last big rain we had was for hurricane Gustav. We had to some folks in Iberia Parish and St. Martin Parish that got anywhere between 6 inches and 3 feet of water in their homes. Sometimes it’s just frustrating you know that if there’s not a fix it could possibly happen again so, we’re hoping that this project is that fix.”
Parish President Cormier says that the actual dredging will take about 30 more days and phase one of the project should be complete sometime within the next six months. The five million dollar project is divided into phases. Phase two will cost about 3.5 million dollars and consist of dredging Bayou Du Portage in its entirety to improve water flow.