This letter is to clarify your recent article regarding the Amite River Basin Commission’s study concerning the August 2016 Flood. that appeared in The Advocate on Sept. 5. The article itself provided a fair summary of the report, but the headline was off base. (“Report: Bridges made area’s flooding worse.”) It would be incorrect to solely blame the flooding on the bridges. The full report can be viewed on the ARBC website (www.amitebasin.org). The report summarizes our findings of the 492 high-water mark observations of the August 2016 flood of record. This information will be critical for the evaluation of flooding solutions in the future. The purpose of the report is to provide information and a scientific database that can be used to formulate solutions to minimize flood losses in the Amite River Basin.

The growth of economic and financial losses caused by flooding over the years is not attributable to one or two reasons, including bridges, but to a variety of reasons primarily associated with more powerful and more frequent floods in recent years and population growth and expansion that has forced us to build into lower and more vulnerable areas.

As a consequence of the August 2016 flood, there is more than ever an awareness that we have to plan and develop basin wide, regional, solutions and strategies to minimize our flooding losses in the future. No single Parish can resolve this problem by itself. Cooperation and coordination between these political jurisdictions is essential to resolve our flooding problems.

The Amite River Basin Drainage and Water Conservation District was initially created to provide a mechanism to oversee the entire Amite River Basin watershed. ARBC has been a longtime advocate of basin-wide regional approaches towards the resolution of our flooding problems. Now, we have the scientific database to make reasonable determinations as to what projects and/or programs can best reduce losses caused by flooding.

Col. Ben Babin

president, ARBC

Baton Rouge