LAFAYETTE, LA – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) announced today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FY 22 Civil Works Budget includes $50 million for spot dredging of the Vermilion River. The announcement of federal funding for this project follows the Lafayette City Council’s recent approval of $5 million in local funding to remove obstructions from the Vermilion River.
Congressman Higgins issued the following statement:
“The inclusion of Vermilion River dredging funds in the Corps’ budget is a significant milestone. Since coming to Congress, we have listened very carefully to stakeholders in both Lafayette and Vermilion parishes on this issue. We sought to move forward based on objective truth and grounded in extensive scientific modeling. The H&H analysis showed that dredging the Vermilion River would not have a major impact on water flow, but it would allow the river to retain more water.
“Using that data, we’ve worked with the Corps’ to prioritize federal investments for spot dredging. Deepening the river at key points will provide greater water retention capacity for the region and help mitigate flood threats. This funding, if fully realized in the Corps’ Work Plan, would be a major win. My office will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to provide water management solutions for South Louisiana.”
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory added:
“Thank you to Congressman Higgins and his staff for their hard work. Thank you to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Army Corps of Engineers, and everybody that participated in the objective analysis that led to this result. I know a lot of science, preliminary engineering, models, costs, and the environment were considered in this decision. We want to be good neighbors to our friends in Vermilion Parish and continue to work together with them in order to find ways to improve drainage of our parishes and safely increase the capacity of the Vermilion River in order to achieve effective benefit without harming any of the surrounding parishes.”
- Congressman Higgins held multiple meetings with local citizens, advocates for Dredge the Vermilion, and elected officials from Lafayette and Vermilion parishes to discuss the potential dredging of the Vermilion River.
- Congressman Higgins worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to secure funding and commission a hydrological and hydraulic (H&H) analysis of dredging impacts on the Vermilion River.
- On February 20, 2020, Congressman Higgins met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Acadiana Planning Commission, local elected officials, and the Louisiana Watershed Initiative (LWI) Task Force to review findings from the H&H analysis.
- On February 21, 2020, Congressman Higgins and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers publicly released preliminary findings from the H&H analysis.
- In November 2020, the U.S. Army Corps and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette published the final H&H analysis.