MONROE, La., OCT. 10, 2018 – CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) is pleased that $7.9 million in federal funding has been secured for the Army Corps of Engineers to help continue maintaining the locks, dams and levees on the Ouachita River. While approximately $2 million more is needed for ongoing maintenance efforts, the latest funding is a major milestone.
Working together, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto), Ouachita River Valley Association (ORVA), the Tensas Basin Levee District and CenturyLink’s economic development departments have been instrumental in helping secure the project’s funding in this year’s federal budget. These stakeholders extend their thanks to Louisiana’s U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, plus the Arkansas delegation, for their support.
“CenturyLink is pleased the federal government understands how significant the Ouachita-Black River Project is to the citizens of Monroe and surrounding area,” said Carrick Inabnett, senior director, economic development, CenturyLink. “We will continue to advocate for the funding of similar preservation efforts of this important waterway.”
CenturyLink is committed to shared private-public efforts and continues to work closely with local authorities and key stakeholders on a range of issues of importance in the Monroe area.
“One of the best things about the Ouachita-Black River Project is that it provides an opportunity for public and private sectors to work together for the benefit of our community,” said Dr. Abraham. “Congress has increased overall funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, and I’m confident we will get the additional resources we need for this project, just as we’ve been successful in getting funding in the past. I look forward to continuing to work with CenturyLink, ORVA, the Tensas Levee Board and all of our local stakeholders to keep our rivers open for business.”
The City of Monroe and about 150 other municipalities in Arkansas and Louisiana depend on the roughly 600-mile long Ouachita River for drinking water. Further, a multitude of businesses would not be able to operate without access to a fully functioning Ouachita River.
“Not only is a consistent level of federal funding required annually to maintain this vital waterway, but it is a key economic driver for the region. And without continued funding, the current benefits from the river will decline and future opportunities the Ouachita River provides will struggle to develop,” said Rayford Wilbanks, executive director, ORVA.
“We are happy for the latest funding and look forward to continuing to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to give the Ouachita River the attention it needs to be viable long-term,” said John Stringer, executive director, Tensas Basin Levee District.
- In 2017, the preservation project received an additional $2 million in funding, for a grand total of $10.4 million.
- In 2018, full funding for the project was secured.
- The Ouachita River, which begins in the Ouachita Mountains near Mena, Ark., flows east into Lake Ouachita, a reservoir created by Blakely Mountain Dam.
- The commercial navigation project provides year-round navigation from the mouth of the Black River to Camden, Ark., a distance of 330 river miles. The navigation project is made possible by four locks and dams operated and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Ouachita River located at Calion, and Felsenthal, Ark., and in Columbia and Jonesville, La.
CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is the second largest U.S. communications provider to global enterprise customers. With customers in more than 60 countries and an intense focus on the customer experience, CenturyLink strives to be the world’s best networking company by solving customers’ increased demand for reliable and secure connections. The company also serves as its customers’ trusted partner, helping them manage increased network and IT complexity and providing managed network and cyber security solutions that help protect their business.