River gauges to keep watch on waters
By Bonnie Culerhouse
Gauge on La. Hwy. 2 bridge over Red River near Hosston helps officials
know what's happening close in to Shreveport/Bossier.
Three new weapons have been added to the Bossier Parish arsenal to help keep a measured eye on water levels in tributaries that run through the parish.
Ian Snellgrove, director of Bossier Parish Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said U.S.
Geological Survey (USGS) hydro watch gauges have been added in three locations to give officials a better picture of what to expect during high water episodes.
"These were purchased in a partnership between Bossier Parish and Bossier City," Snellgrove said. "The USGS installed them and we pay for operation and maintenance. This is going to be a big help for us in determining how property and citizens in our city and parish could be affected by high water."
Snellgrove said the new gauges have been installed on the La. Hwy. 2 bridge over the Red River near Hosston, at the Red Chute Bayou bridge near the intersection of La. Hwys. 154 and 157, and at the Flat River bridge on Sligo Rd.
"Parish and city officials decided that we wanted a better idea of how water levels would be affected," Snellgrove explained. "We wanted something on the north end and something we could track through to the southern end of the parish."
Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus said officials learned during the June, 2015 flooding the need to have additional data points to draw information throughout the parish.
"We've corrected this for future flood fights," Altimus said. "Everyone agreed to pay to establish and maintain these new gauges."
Snellgrove said adding the new gauges to those already in place now give officials the advantage of being able to monitor major waterways in the parish from border to border.
"In the past we could only monitor the level of the Red River from the Sulphur River to Shreveport. That's a pretty good gap. Now we can pick up measurements at La. 2 and get a better idea of the impact on citizens and property between there and Shreveport," he said.
"We monitor Bayou Bodcau from near Springhill all the way south; we have gauges on Red Chute from Dogwood to La. 157 and on the Flat River all the way to Loggy Bayou. And, all these gauges will be monitored daily during the rainy seasons and special rain events," Snellgrove added.
Plenty of eyes will be on the gauges, Snellgrove said. In addition to Homeland Security, the USGS, levee district personnel and Bossier City and Parish engineers will be closely monitoring the water levels.
Gauges on streams and bayous in the middle part of Bossier Parish are especially useful for monitoring backwater flooding, Snellgrove pointed out.
"We can now keep our attention focused on all our parish where there are tributaries," he said.