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Deadline set for river debris

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- One year after the storm, debris in the Little Maumelle River is being addressed.

Docks, boats and other debris became entangled during a flood in May of 2011. It was never cleaned up.

On Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter to the owners of River Valley Marina giving them a deadline.

The marina must submit "a reasonable plan" by June 8 detailing when the debris will be removed, or the owners face a fine of $27,500.

What was the marina's response to this notice?

"It was a positive response," said Laurie Driver of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "We sent them a letter saying we needed to have a plan. We're trying to strike a balance there where we give them time and effort to get the mess cleaned up. But it has been a length of time and they need to make a plan and get it done."

River Valley Marina has until June 8th to submit a plan to the Corps of Engineers on when they will begin this clean-up process. However, over this past weekend, some efforts took place.

THV received an email tip from a boater that some docks were being taken out of the river this weekend.

Gene Ludwig is the attorney for the owners of River Valley Marina.

"What's being removed now is some of the unsalvageable boat docks that had been previously removed from downstream soon after the storm," Ludwig said.

He added that his clients paid more than $25,000 for insurance coverage on their docks.

"That coverage also paid for the debris removal that's in question. To date, not one dollar of that insurance money has been paid to them," Ludwig said.

But after one year, the delegation in Washington D.C. is pressing the Corps.

"I think we've made some progress. You know they cleaned up around the actual marina and now there are some other things they have been asked to clean up and I think they will," said U.S. Representative Tim Griffin.

It's no longer a question of jurisdiction, as the Corps of Engineers is working to ensure results.

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor said it's been a bi-partisan effort between his office, Congressman Griffin and Senator John Boozman.

And that taxpayers will benefit.

"Another bit of good news is: this is not going to be paid for by the taxpayer. This is going to be paid for by the marina," said Senator Pryor.

The Corps awaits the marina's plan by June 8th.

Senator Pryor added that waiting for the insurance claim will not be an option.


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