Cache, White Rivers Could See Part of Millions of Dollars in Federal Waterways Project

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Millions of dollars for improvements to Arkansas' waterways could soon be coming to the state, if Congress can agree on a $15 billion water redevelopment measure.

The Senate is expected to consider the Water Resources Develolpment Act this week.  The House last month passed a similar measure, which pays for hundreds of projects such as levee improvements and wildlife studies.

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas told reporters on a conference call today that the bill will give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the authorization to do needed projects.  Pryor says the projects have even greater importance after the damage done by Hurricane Katrina.

One project calls for rehabilitating levees on the White River near Augusta and Clarendon.  The project is expected to cost $8 million, with the federal government chipping in $5.2 million.

The water bill also calls for a study of flood damage reduction of the Cache River basin near Grubbs and Newport.  Annual springtime flooding on the Cache has been a problem for several years, due to a growing amount of dead timbers, vegetation and other debris that continues to accumulate.

Several other projects on the Arkansas River are also earmarked under the bill.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)