Parish residents air natural resource problems

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 24, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — More than 20 farmers, sportsmen and other concerned citizens attended a Thursday night meeting sponsored by the federal government to air their concerns about flooding, water quality and other natural resource problems in Concordia Parish.

Ditches and canals that fill with debris and silt, minerals that make water quality poor, low water levels that deplete fish reserves, erosion, fire ants and crops affected by drought and low commodity prices were among the problems aired by the vocal group.

Addressing such problems is vital &uot;because you can’t have good quality of life if you don’t have good natural resources,&uot;&160;said Marlin Jordan of the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service in Monroe who attended Thursday’s meeting.

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If NRCS officials determine those problems are something the agency can help with, a parish-wide committee could be formed by the summer’s end to find solutions. And the agency would spend up to $1 million to assist the group. First, the agency had to see that citizens cared enough to air their problems, and only a few people showed up at meetings last summer. But Thursday’s meeting showed there is enough citizen interest to form a committee, Jordan said. The next step would be for the committee to compile a report listing natural resource problems and possible solutions. That could take two to three years.

&uot;You’re not going to see the effects of this,&uot; Phillip Eames told another Concordia resident who attended the meeting. &uot;But your children will.&uot;

And in the end, those armed with such studies have a better chance of getting funding to address their problems, Jordan said.

With such a study, he said, &uot;you’ll be a great leap ahead when going to lawmakers … and others for help.&uot;