Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 10:34 am
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is allocating $2.4 million on top of congressional spending this year for dredging the Red River. The J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Navigation Project received the additional funds for operation and maintenance. The head of the Red River Waterway Commission, Ken Guidry, says the funding is critical to keep industries based at the Port of Caddo-Bossier and the Alexandria Port.
A $4 million freshwater diversion project will pump water from the Red River into depleted Red Bayou, offering farmers along the nine-mile-long waterway in northwest Louisiana summertime relief for their fields.
Water is most needed in the last months of the growing season, when as much as half of the bayou's channel is dry. Farmers currently use wells for nearly all irrigation.
By next summer, river water will pour into the bayou, providing irrigation for cotton, corn and soybeans.