Talk about possible changes regarding Arkansas' levee districts took place in Little Rock recently in the wake of the 500-Year Arkansas River Flood earlier this year.
The Arkansas Levee Task Force held its third meeting in Little Rock on Monday. Crawford County Emergency Management Director Brad Thomas, who was in attendance after being appointed to the task force in July, said there were discussions about whether or not the task force would consolidate levee districts in the future, and if so, which districts would be consolidated. The task force not go into any details on the proposal at this point.
"... For right now, Crawford County, we have the city of Van Buren Levee Board and then we have the Crawford County Levee Board District 1," Thomas said. "The city runs about two miles, the county runs about 19, somewhere in there, and that's just (a) ballpark figure. ... Fortunately, our levee boards have been active. We're just trying to determine whether we should consolidate that or not, and that's going to be all the way down the Arkansas River, just looking at that."
The task force also discussed maintenance of the levees and the reporting system in place. The task force is hoping to greatly simplify the reporting process to get it down to about a two-page document.
There were also presentations given by the chairmen of the four subcommittees in the task force, Thomas said. Each subcommittee is dedicated to one of the four objectives Gov. Asa Hutchinson gave the task force at its first meeting July 12. A report from the task force regarding the four objectives is due to the governor's office by the end of December.
Thomas is on the subcommittee focused on studying prospective monitoring and reporting systems for the maintenance of the levees, which is chaired by Jackson County Judge Jeff Phillips. Thomas said his role is reaching out to area coordinators through the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and getting feedback from each county through their emergency managers on topics such as the number of levee boards they have and the levee damage they sustained during the 500-Year Arkansas River Flood. He presented his findings during a subcommittee meeting Aug. 19.
A professor from Arkansas State University also gave a presentation on the White River drainage basin during the task force meeting, Thomas said. The date of the next task force meeting has not been set yet. However, Thomas' next subcommittee meeting will be Sept. 16.