Flood study to continue; levee, floodwall proposed

A levee and a floodwall could help ease some flooding problems in a portion of DeSoto County that has been prone to high water over the past several years. 

Those issues of swollen waters over the area around Horn Lake Creek have been under study with the county and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Officials with the Corps presented some of their early findings to the County Board of Supervisors this week.  

Elizabeth Burks and Andy Simmerman of the Memphis office said a three-foot levee and five-foot floodwall along Horn Lake Creek would mitigate what they termed a “100-year event” and keep floodwaters from reaching U.S. Highway 51, as it did in September 2014. 

“What we’re proposing is a levee and floodwall that parallels Highway 51 south of Goodman Road,” Burks said. “By implementing this five-foot floodwall and three-foot levee, we’ll actually be able to prevent flooding on the west side up to a 100-year frequency or 100-year event.”  

The 2014 flooding also reached the Savannah Creek Apartments in Southaven and the former Dealers Auto Auction of the South location on Highway 51, where a driver had to be pulled out of his car by a firefighter as the waters quickly rose.

Burks said the 2014 event was considered a 10-25-year event, “so a 100-year event would be much larger than that.” 

An estimated cost of the project is about $9.5 million. While at first it looks it would primarily benefit Horn Lake, Supervisor Lee Caldwell pointed out, “We’re concerned about the entire county.”  

Supervisor Mark Gardner added, “We’ve studied this, we’ve got the fix, now we need the funding.”

That is what will be part of the next steps moving forward. There will be a public review of the proposal, Burks said, an implementation plan, another cost estimate, along with other approvals and reviews before the project is finally signed off on at the federal level. It could be November before that happens.  

Supervisors approved funding for the Corps of Engineers to continue the flood study, and what Burks called an ecosystem restoration study, with Supervisor Ray Denison cautioning Burks and Simmerman that “the fix should be equitable for everybody.”  

Corps officials have been studying the problems with flooding in DeSoto County the past several years, and while this particular focus is on Horn Lake Creek, Burks said they’ve been reminded that flooding remains an issue elsewhere, as well.  

“What we thought was localized flooding is a systemic issue,” Burks said. “By stabilizing the stream, we’re actually going to be able to prevent a secondary effect of preventing or reducing flooding.”

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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