Creek issues concern residents of west Alabama town

Concerns over clogged creek in Lamar County
Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 7:49 PM CDT
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LAMAR COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - A west Alabama town is deeply concerned over what could happen if a creek doesn’t get unclogged. In fact, the Luxapalila Creek has already caused significant damage, according to local leaders.

It’s the talk of the town in Millport and Lamar County, the chatter over the major clog of Luxapalila Creek that runs under Highway 17 North, a backlog of debris, encroaching silt and plan old fashion erosion, a mess the locals say stretches 8 miles back all the way to the Mississippi line.

For Greg Weathers, this has become a financial nightmare. He estimates 50% of the land he owns is under water, all because the water from the creek has nowhere to go. To put this in real terms, there should be leaves on the timber. Instead, bare limbs reflect the obvious fact the trees are dead.

“I’m pretty angry about it. Just in the timber loss, I had it checked and it’s a quarter of a million dollars,” he said.

Millport Mayor Stanley Allred says this has been an issue for five years now. According to the mayor, they have practically begged and pleaded with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the creek.

On the other side of the bridge, the corps did, in fact, put in what’s known as a ‘snag,’ designed to prevent a backlog, but that was done 30 years ago and was never considered a permanent solution.

Both U.S. Senators from Alabama - Tommy Tuberville and Katie Britt - have been contacted, according to Mayor Allred.

Allred says Senator Tuberville did request $8 million to get started, but the funds were never approved.

“Eventually, it’s going to destroy this highway, it’s going to destroy the bridges,” said Mayor Allred.

And that could be an issue for first responders down the road.

“The biggest thing is emergency services. What is one life worth, you know? And right now, you’re cutting of 2,200 constituents in my district,” said Lamar County Commissioner Jeff Long.

Millport and Lamar County leaders say it would take about $100 million to dredge about 14 miles of the creek.

The good news, according to Mayor Allred and Commissioner Long, is the fact this is on the corps’ radar. The challenge is finding the federal funds to fix it.

Greg Weather says it’s likely too late to save his timber, but not too late to fix the problem once and for all for the 1,000 people who call Millport home.