St. John's Bayou Project Nears Completion

St. John's Bayou Project Nears Completion
By: Ryan Tate

The St. John's Bayou-New Madrid Project continues after 17 years. Now, the project needs approval by the state.

Missouri continues its water quality assessment for the area, the final hurdle before construction can continue.

"My initial assessment of it is we see great improvements to the environment. And I'm looking at that and all the while helping out the area in flood control," Brig. General Don Riley of the Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday.

The project costs the Corps 85-million dollars, and will fill in a fifteen hundred foot gap in a levee along the Mississippi River. When the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers flood, water "backs up" into the levee, and into the St. John's Bayou. The hope is the construction will end flooding in the area, but environmentalist are skeptical.

According to the National Audubon Society, the project will "have severe negative impacts on many wildlife species; these include fish which use the currently seasonally flooded area for spawning and nursery habitat..."

The General disagrees.

"Come out and take a look and have our people show [you] what they are going to do and they benefits to the state park," Brig. Gen. Riley said.