Slow going on the Blackwater

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

About the only thing that moves swiftly when it comes to the Blackwater River, apparently, is the rise in flood waters.

When the City of Franklin decided to build a top-flight boat landing, there were delays of oversight

when it came to the bidding process, causing the project to be re-bid that created one delay.

Then the migratory patterns of certain fish in the river had to be respected, causing another delay.

The landing finally did open — and it has been hailed as among the best places to put in along the Blackwater — but it took longer than planned.

Now, the installation of gauges to measure the depth and speed of the river has been delayed by another fence of red tape, according to Chief of Emergency Services Vince Holt.

But it’s not as if discussions to obtain new gauges happened yesterday. In fact, part of the discussions about coping with another potential flood included buying more gauges to monitor river levels.

Presently, there is one gauge upriver in Burdette which aids a little following the river’s rise, but it’s too far upstream to provide an accurate measurement for downtown Franklin, as well as communities in Southampton and Isle of Wight counties that are subjected to floodwaters.

Holt said he believes the gauges will be installed by November, after the hurricane season.

We understand that federal and state agencies move painfully slow on some projects, but solutions were needed 10 years ago.

Another important facet of studying flooding is a survey being conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers. That project, too, has faced its share of setbacks.

If only the river will cooperate and wait.