The flood fight on the Illinois River continued Tuesday with efforts to build up the levee system.
The National Weather Service lowered its crest prediction by 1.5' at Valley City. But folks along the river aren't letting their guard down. Even though the crest prediction has been lowered, county commissioners say it's still the highest the river has climbed in 70 years.
Sandbagging is still a major defense against the rising waters, that's why the emergency management agency has now asked for the help of extra assistance.
Three crews consisting of 24 inmates were called in to help with sandbagging efforts today in Perry.
"These people, they're related to people around here. They want to help out,"Pike County Board Chairman Andy Borrowman said.
William McQuigg is a Lieutenant with the Department of Corrections and says the fight against the Illinois River is turning out to be a huge effort.
"We have some in Morgan County at Meredosia, we have four crews there working filling sandbags and putting sandbags around the town, helping out that town. We have some in Scott County," McQuigg said.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is now dispatching inmates to sites needing assistance. McQuigg says that helps, especially in areas lacking the manpower.
"We're filling at our institutions also and I believe the last count out of our institutions we filled about 150,000 sandbags and that's not including remote operations like this here," he added.
Even with concerns over the rising waters, Borrowman said a decrease of 1.5' to the river's crest may not sound like a lot, but will help cut back on work and supplies.
"if you're going to try and raise the levee a foot and half, the whole distance of the levee that's a lot of time and material," Borrowman said.
Borrowman said over the next couple of days the river and the levee will still be closely monitored.
"They will need to be diligent as far as patrolling the levees, looking for soft spots, looking for areas that need to be worked over or maybe add some bags to or height to," Borrowman said.
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