Study indicates local Red River economic impact is billions

By Josh Marcisz |

Published 05/23 2014 05:16PM

Updated 05/23 2014 06:16PM

In Sportsman's Paradise most of us use the Red River for recreation such as boating and fishing. Behind the scenes the Red River Waterway Commission (RRWC) has grown the river into a billion dollar contributor to the local economy.

An economic impact study from the Baton Rouge accounting firm, Loren C. Scott & Associates, Inc., credits the RRWC for attracting over $7 billion dollars in economic development to the 7 Louisiana parishes along the river's banks since 1968. In 2013 the impact was over $1 billion.

"The Red River is still growing, it's still a true economic engine for this area," says RRWC Commissioner, David Jones, of Bossier Parish.

The study took into account several factors including revenue created from the construction of new businesses, fishing tournaments and sales taxes collected. On average the Red River has created over 2,500 jobs annually since 1968.

Commissioner Jones hopes the study will help the RRWC work with local legislators to keep the organization's funding in place. It costs 8 to 10 million dollars annually to dredge the river and operate the lock and dam's that keep the waterway navigable. The funding comes from the U.S. Corps of Engineers through property taxes collected in the 7 parishes.

"If we don't maintain funding we're not only diminishing our growth capacity but quite possibly put our current gains in jeopardy," says Jones.

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