INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A large grant from the United States Department of Agriculture will allow flood prevention work to happen soon in Independence County.
The project will protect and conserve farmland near Departee Creek, which runs through the county.
County Judge Robert Griffen said crop residue originally began to condense the creek.
"When it choked it down and the crop residue stayed there, some locals told me that they could walk across it without even getting their feet wet," Griffen said. "So when that started decaying, then brush started coming up through it."
That overgrown brush is reducing the creek's water flow.
"So, what we're trying to do here is restore the natural flow," Griffen said.
They will use the $5.7 million from the USDA, plus $300,000 the county has saved for flood easement, to clear out the creek and build a dam to slow the release of water.
"It lets the stream empty in a natural way," Griffen said. "At the same time, creates the ability to protect some of the land with dams, just like the dam system at Bull Shoals and Norfork. Before they had them, water got extremely deeper than it does now."
The judge said not only will the project conserve the oil and farmland, it also creates a recreational opportunity.
The dam will form a 185-acre lake that will be used for fishing.
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