Commissioners on Tuesday took the first step for a levee study that would lead to a system to lessen storm floods in Orange County.
The panel passed a resolution to garner support for a study that would help protect county areas from surge waters such as those caused by Ike in 2008.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the Orange County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) would be the major coordinating group for the study, as it represents all city management within the county, plus the Port of Orange. 

Other agencies such as the Sabine River Authority would also be involved, he said.

“We’re going to move forward for the first round … to get approval to have a study made,” he said. “It’s going to be a long, time-consuming thing.” The resolution specifically mentions the areas of Rose City, Bridge City, West Orange and the Cove.

A 1975 study by the Army Corps of Engineers met with little support and never went forward. That study accounted for Bridge City, Chemical Row and West Orange, but not Rose City (which flooded extensively during Ike).

Copies of the resolution will be sent to cities and other agencies within the county asking for their support, Thibodeaux said. State and federal grants might help fund a study, he said. 

The 1975 study, never acted on, cost around $150,000.

“Like any other project, it’s going to have a long time to get going,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose. “But we need to get started.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner David Dubose said he was “ready to go to work” on the issue, after being named to the EDC replacing Precinct 2 Commissioner Owen Burton. Burton said he’d been with the EDC for two years and it was perhaps time for a “new face” on the board.

 In other business Tuesday:

 • Mosquito Control Office Director Patrick Beebe reported the county’s aerial spray plane should begin flying sometime this spring. At this point, the Federal Aviation Administration has not sent final approval of several proposed flying areas.

• Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Kelly said the county landfill may re-open for non-hurricane related debris in early February – possibly by the end of the second week.