Feds tell Prairie du Rocher they only have 8 months to re-certify levee

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, IL (KPLR) – The tiny village of Prairie du Rocher is not about to give up its fight with the federal government to stay alive. Volunteers are pitching in to help save the town.

If the village doesn’t get a levee recertified that could spell the end of the community of 650 people.

Stephen Gonzalez is a levee commissioner, he said, “I think people are frustrated with their government people are anxious.”

The levee that protects Prairie du Rocher from Mississippi River flood waters is not far from the town.  If the levee does not pass the grade, then flood insurance rates could go up substantially and businesses won’t want to move into town.

The re-certification process could cost well over $60,000, forcing the village to start a fundraising campaign.

Part of re-certification calls for the inspection of 90 relief wells near the levee. The wells help the levee maintain its integrity when river the rises.

It would cost a lot of money to have the Army Corps of Engineers check the wells, so volunteers who have been trained, have signed up to do the job and save the community cash.

Officials thought they had 18 months to complete the re-certification process, but just days ago they were told they only have 8 months. People are worried what will happen if the levee doesn’t get approval.

Gonzalez added, “It will basically kill the town after ten years because your property values plummet if you got a $100,000 home nobody wants to buy it cause they can’t afford the flood insurance.”