LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Debris in the Little Maumelle River is sticking around more than two years after a flood swept it there.
A major flood occurred in May 2011. Boats, docks and other debris broke free from River Valley Marina and floated downstream. Two of the houseboats became entangled in the riverbed.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers referred the case to the U.S. Department of Justice to no avail. In an email to THV 11, a spokesperson for the department said, "There is no case."
State lawmakers have approved legislation to give the land commissioner more authority to take action.
"It's to clarify the state's role concerning submerged lands on navigable waterways," said John Thurston, commissioner of state lands. "This particular law gives the state and local governments the authority to remove it, and then sue the owner of the debris for the expense of removing it."
The debris at Two Rivers Park is one factor that triggered Act 552. It will allow the Attorney General to file suit, or allow the Land Commission to clean it up, and send the bill to the boat owners.
"It's just something that has to be done. It would be cheaper for them to remove it themselves, obviously, so we hopes folks will do that," said Thurston.
There is no funding mechanism in place yet to get the ball rolling on this new process.
The commissioner's office didn't ask for funding this year because they were not sure if the act would even pass.
"The next session is when we'll try to put together a funding mechanism on how to get this done. Once we get that in place, the debris at Two Rivers Park is at the top of the list," Thurston said.
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