Residents react to the request for guideline changes for Toledo - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Residents react to the request for guideline changes for Toledo Bend Reservoir

(Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office) (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office)
MERRYVILLE, LA (KPLC) -

Harvey brought devastation for residents along the Sabine River here in Louisiana and across the border in Texas.

Unfortunately, a lot of those residents just got their lives back together after last year's historic flooding along the river.

As Harvey was forecast to make its second U-S landfall bringing heavy rain to southwest Louisiana - all eyes were on the flood gates at Toledo Bend - operated by the Sabine River Authority under federal guidelines.

Those guidelines have been a topic of debate for decades and the police jury has decided something needs to be done. The Sabine River Authority or SRA, opened five spillway gates on August 30, at 1 foot each, according to its Facebook page.

This is what it looked like a day later, all eleven gates were opened at 6 feet each.

During the historic flooding in March of 2016, all operating gates were open at 22 feet.

“The river authority needs to get their heads out their butts and do something about all this,” said one Merryville resident, Richard Thedford. “When they open all the gates up, this area is prone to flooding bad, I mean super bad.”

Many residents like Thedford believe waiting to open the spillway gates has caused the devastation he's seen time and time again.

This time around, Thedford didn't feel the wrath of Harvey but helped rescue those who did. He had to get his elderly parents out as well. His father is 74 years-old and dependent on an oxygen tank.

“If they open the gates, they need to open them very gradually, two feet at a time,” said Thedford. “We don't flood as bad. We flood, but we don't flood as bad. Open them up six feet, eight feet, even open all them up at once, we have no warning, we have nothing,” said Thedford.

Deputy Director of the River Authority, Warren Founds, says the federal guidelines it follows have not been majorly updated since the reservoir was built over 50 years ago. An effort was made in 2015 to revisit them, but a group of several federal agencies was unsuccessful in coming up with a solution to satisfy both those above and below the dam.

“So, we had this flood, and I said guys we have to do something to help the people,” said Rusty Williamson, President of the Beauregard Parish Police Jury.

He says the vote was unanimous Tuesday night for a resolution to be drafted asking Louisiana's congressional delegation for help changing the flood gate guidelines.

“Especially if you know a storm coming, get the gates down, get the lake down, so you have more control instead of opening all the gates and flooding everyone and endangering lives and property,” said Williamson.

Williamson, the jury, and residents are looking for a more gradual release of water in anticipation of heavy rains instead of waiting for the reservoir to reach a certain level.

“They won’t do anything about it till it’s too late and they flood everyone out,” said Williamson.

Williamson says they are drafting the resolution now and it will be sent to Vernon and Calcasieu Parishes as well to get everyone on board, before sending it off to the Louisiana and Texas delegations.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Sunshine helping the roads dry up, with another cold night ahead

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Sunshine helping the roads dry up, with another cold night ahead

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 12:45 PM EST2018-01-17 17:45:05 GMT
    Another cold front on its wayAnother cold front on its way

    For the rest of today, the sunshine will help dry up the roads and melt any ice today. The temperatures will remain cold today, but will get above freezing later this afternoon. However, temperatures will remain in the 30s. Those few hours where we are above freezing will be helpful to melt the ice and improve road conditions. Tonight, temperatures will be cold once again. There is another hard freeze warning in effect tonight. 

    More >>

    For the rest of today, the sunshine will help dry up the roads and melt any ice today. The temperatures will remain cold today, but will get above freezing later this afternoon. However, temperatures will remain in the 30s. Those few hours where we are above freezing will be helpful to melt the ice and improve road conditions. Tonight, temperatures will be cold once again. There is another hard freeze warning in effect tonight. 

    More >>
  • Southwest Louisiana arrest report: Jan. 17

    Southwest Louisiana arrest report: Jan. 17

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 12:40 PM EST2018-01-17 17:40:04 GMT

    Ireall N Chest, 25, Harvey: Two counts instate detainer.  Troy Scott Coker, 35, Sulphur: Two counts of failure to register as a sex offender. Bond: $15,000. Anthony Dashuan Williams, 19, Lake Charles: Simple burglary, illegal possession of stolen things, six counts of contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, theft. Bond: $5,000.  Dontrelle Washington, 34, Lake Charles: Instate detainer.  Dion Matthews Smith, 36, Lake Charles: Direct contempt of court, battery, ...

    More >>

    Ireall N Chest, 25, Harvey: Two counts instate detainer.  Troy Scott Coker, 35, Sulphur: Two counts of failure to register as a sex offender. Bond: $15,000. Anthony Dashuan Williams, 19, Lake Charles: Simple burglary, illegal possession of stolen things, six counts of contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, theft. Bond: $5,000.  Dontrelle Washington, 34, Lake Charles: Instate detainer.  Dion Matthews Smith, 36, Lake Charles: Direct contempt of court, battery, ...

    More >>
  • TRAFFIC: LCPD asks drivers to avoid I-10 in Lake Charles, says interstate covered in ice

    TRAFFIC: LCPD asks drivers to avoid I-10 in Lake Charles, says interstate covered in ice

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 11:38 AM EST2018-01-17 16:38:29 GMT
    (Source: Louisiana State Police)(Source: Louisiana State Police)

    Authorities continue to urge drivers to stay off the road in Southwest Louisiana, due to the chance of ice on the roads.

    More >>

    Authorities continue to urge drivers to stay off the road in Southwest Louisiana, due to the chance of ice on the roads.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly