The Amite River and Tributaries –Comprehensive Study East of the Mississippi River, Louisiana, resulted from a resolution of the committee on Public Works of the United States Senate. The resolution, sponsored by Allen J. Ellender and Russell B. Long of Louisiana, was adopted on April 14, 1967.
Funding is made available for this study through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, for the completion, or initiation and completion of flood and storm damage risk reduction. Due to the limits set under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, only flood control measures are being investigated in this study.
The effort is a continued response to the 1967 study authority. In the early 1990’s, a feasibility phase study was initiated and the area was divided into multiple study areas based on hydrological and political boundaries. The areas were divided into the main stem of Comite River and lower tributary streams, East Baton Rouge Parish, Livingston Parish, and Ascension Parish. In some cases, these studies led to construction recommendations which are currently being implemented such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Comite River Diversion and the East Baton Rouge Flood Control Project.
Rainfall from hurricanes, tropical storm events, and local storms still pose a significant risk to the communities, ecosystems, and industries of the Amite River Basin. As recently as August 2016, the President issued disaster declarations for parishes in the basin due to impacts from “The Great Flood of 2016.” The area saw historic flooding causing impacts to the Nation's critical infrastructure by shutting both the I-10 and I-12 transportation system for days. Major urban centers in the basin saw significant flooding well outside of normal flood stages.
Due to the August 2016 flooding, the entire study area is being reevaluated to determine whether additional improvements for flood control are recommended with particular reference to the Amite River, Bayou Manchac, Comite River, and their tributaries.
The study area, which includes the Amite River Basin, encompasses an area of approximately 3,450 square miles consisting of eight Louisiana parishes (East Feleciana, St. Helena, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Iberville, Ascension, St. James, and St. John the Baptist), Maurepas Lake, and four Mississippi counties (Amite, Wilkinson, Franklin, and Lincoln). Over three-fourths of the study area lies in the parishes of southeastern Louisiana, located east of the Mississippi River and north of Lake Maurepas. The upper one-fourth of the study area’s drainage area lies in the southwestern Mississippi counties and is home to over 500,000 residents.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) is the non-federal sponsor. This study is 100 percent Federally funded.
The current timeline for the study is 3 years. The present focus is on working synergistically with ongoing and future efforts to provide the best comprehensive solutions to the Amite River Basin that meet the study objective, to reduce flood damages along the main river and tributary streams of the Amite and Comite Rivers. Other objective considerations include:
- Reduce flood damages in the Amite River Basin to business, residents and infrastructure;
- Reduce risk to human life from flooding from rainfall events;
- Reduce interruption to the nation’s transportation corridors;
- Reduce risks to critical infrastructure (e.g. medical centers, schools, transportation etc.);
- Enhance functionality of existing flood risk reduction systems (locally and federally constructed), including evaluation of impacts due to an increase in frequency of rainfall events.
Update: July 2021: To ensure the Amite River and Tributaries’ Tentatively Selected Plan is feasible, safe and remains the approach in the government’s best interest, the New Orleans District is seeking additional time and funding necessary to undertake a more in-depth analysis of the study area. With support from the state, USACE has also begun exploring the feasibility of a nonstructural-only approach to flood risk management that that could still deliver the same level of risk reduction as the TSP. USACE will provide a status update regarding the exemption request, as well as our evaluation regarding the nonstructural alternative, once a decision has been received.
Questions or comments can be sent to
Ms. Kaitlyn Carriere,
CEMVN–PMR, Room 331,
7400 Leake Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118