Compensatory Mitigation For
Comite, East Baton Rouge, Westshore Lake Pontchartrain Projects
The Corps is avoiding and minimizing environmental impacts to the maximum extent practical while developing the Comite River Diversion, East Baton Rouge and Westshore Lake Pontchartrain flood risk reduction projects. When unavoidable habitat losses do occur, the Corps will offset such losses through compensatory mitigation to replace the lost habitat. Compensatory mitigation is an important part of project construction and could include habitat restoration or enhancement projects or credit purchases.
Generally and to the extent possible, the mitigation projects will be implemented in the same river basin where the project impacts occur. The anticipated impacts for these three projects are in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin (See map).
Mitigation Industry Day was conducted in Sep 2018. All public comments were responded to.
The mitigation project delivery team has identified potential projects based on time, risks, and costs, among other factors, and has evaluated viable alternatives in cooperation with environmental resource agencies, stakeholders and the non-federal sponsors. Tentatively-selected plans have been evaluated in the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) Construction Projects; West Shore Lake Pontchartrain (WSLP), Comite River Diversion (Comite) and East Baton Rouge (EBR) Flood Risk Management, BBA Construction Mitigation Environmental Assessment #576, which was released for public review and comment on 31 Jan 2020 and will end on March 2, 2020. Currently, the mitigation projects need to compensate for two habitat categories: bottomland hardwoods (BLH) and Swamp.
Current total estimated mitigation needs for all three projects are:
- BLH: approximately 1,045 AAHUs** (approximately 2,647 acres)
- Swamp: approximately 1,504 AAHUs** (approximately 4,694 acres)
** AAHU (Average Annual Habitat Unit) is a numerical value representing quantity and quality of a habitat.
Note: Estimated mitigation needs may change as designs are refined and impacts quantified. Mitigation acreage may be larger than the impacted acreage due to the quality of the impacted habitat.
Phase of Projects: Planning Stage (all projects)
Estimated completion dates:
- Comite - Mid 2021
- East Baton Rouge - Early 2023
- Westshore Lake Pontchartrain - Early 2024
Note: Estimated completion dates may change as project efforts are refined.