Flood risk study ongoing, will be boon for city

Published 2:50 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2020

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is conducting an ongoing Flood Risk Management Study in Selma, which moved into its next phase with the Selma City Council’s approval of the agency’s request for access to a number of entry points along the riverfront.

According to USACE Public Affairs and Media Relations Chief Cesar Yabor, Selma residents can expect to see USACE personnel on-site in January when the begin taking borings “for analysis to assist in the feasibility-level design” for the study.

“The Mobile District is currently awaiting USACE higher-level decision on the recommended plan for bankline stabilization along the downtown waterfront (adjacent to the Pettus Bridge),” Yabor said in an email when asked about the project’s current status and next steps. “If approved, the District will commence with completion of the final Selma Flood Risk Management Report targeted for October 2021.”

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The ongoing flood risk study might be a slow and less-than-glamorous process – it’s much more of a blockbuster affair to see a grand ribbon-cutting ceremony or dramatic blueprints of a new business or community center – but it stands to take on important issues in the Queen City and ensure that it remains physically stable for generations to come.

While a lot of effort is being put into reviving business in the city, beautifying neglected areas and addressing long-standing social and economic issues, the Selma Flood Risk Management Study is a concerted effort to protect the city’s natural resources and secure its place along the shore of the Alabama River.

Indeed, all of the most ambitious plans for revitalization will be for naught if Selma is at risk of being washed away.

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. wisely noted that the city’s part in implementing the USACE’s recommendations will likely be significant, but it’s essential that we know the situation and have an in-depth plan to address it.