Log jam relief coming to Jackson Co.

Source: Jackson County Judge's Office
Source: Jackson County Judge's Office

JACKSON COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A day decades in the making, after Jackson County Officials finally get the OK to remove two of the four logjams along the Cache River near Grubbs.

"It's a great day. One I wasn't sure I would ever see," Grubbs farmer, Kenny Clark said at a press conference Friday.
For at least forty years, the logjams along the river have flooded roadways and farmlands like Clark's. In 2011, the floodwaters nearly put the town of Grubbs underwater. 
"People always said, you'll never get anything done, you'll never be able to do anything to that river," Clark said.
The change is coming though, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently awarded the 404 Permit for removing those major logjams.
Though for decades, multiple people have fought to remove the logjams, permission and funding were unattainable until now.
"This is something that, people have worked for, depending on who you talk to, it's been 40 years, 60 years, everyone has a story," Congressman Rick Crawford said at the conference.
Stories of flooded homes, damaged crops, even roads becoming impassible as the log jams in the Cache River only allow water to trickle through
"It just takes weeks instead of days like it normally should take," County Judge, Jeff Phillips explained. "So that becomes a problem for farmers because it won't get off their fields in time."
Farmer Shannon Hall knows that all too well.
"A two inch rain, that river will rise 4 to 6 feet in 12 to 16 hours and it won't go down for a week," Hall told Region 8 News.
For 10 years, Hall, a Jonesboro resident, has farmed rice and soybeans in Grubbs.
"I drove 30 miles just to hear this," Hall said. News that's long overdue, as it nearly cost him his business twice.
Judge Phillips says it's too familiar a story. Phillips said he hopes finally removing the logjams will give residents peace of mind.
"Where they don't have to worry about every time it rains, is this gonna flood our property or is it gonna get in my house or am I gonna be able to get home through a flooded road?" Phillips said.
Though officials and residents are happy this day is finally here, they realize this is a long road yet.
"This is just the first step," Clark said. "It's a small step. It's a band aid. But it's a step in the right direction."
Governor Mike Beebe pledged a $150,000 match grant to the project. The Cache River and Willow Slough Drainage Districts have also sponsored the logjam removal project.
Officials hope within the next month or so, they'll get the project contracted out where they can start work on removing the logs.
Region 8 News will keep you updated on the progress of the logjam removal.

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