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Federal officials to study Black River flooding in Arkansas

November 30, 2018

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers is working with northeastern Arkansas officials to study how to prevent catastrophic floods from the rising Black River.

Corps officials recently met with Randolph County and Pocahontas city leaders to discuss plans to lessen the impact of flooding when the Black River breaches or overtops a levee system east of Pocahontas, the Jonesboro Sun reported.

The study comes after water rushed over the levee system three times in the last decade, soaking farmland, flooding homes and forcing road closures.

The 80-year-old levee system first broke in 2008 after years of neglect, then again three years later.

Randolph County Judge David Jansen organized the levee district to collect taxes to put toward repairing the system, but flooding during the restoration project left the work incomplete.

The Black River rose to a record 28.95 feet in May 2017, causing an estimated $100 million in property damage from the flooding, according to Arkansas Department of Emergency Management officials.

The repetitive flooding made Pocahontas eligible for funding under the federal Flood Control Act of 1948, which the Corps will allocate to help fund the study, said Jaysson Funkhouser, a hydrologist for the Corps’ Little Rock division.

“We need to look at all the ways to alleviate the risks in the event of flooding,” he said. “We’ll look at alternatives and parse them down to three or four likely ideas. We want to come up with the best solution.”

Funkhouser said he expects the study will take up to 18 months to complete.

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com

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