Partnering agreements for four flood risk reduction studies signed
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and State of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority signed partnering agreements to initiate four flood and storm damage risk reduction feasibility studies in South Louisiana.
Col. Michael Clancy, commander of the USACE New Orleans District, and CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry signed Feasibility Cost Share Agreements for the South Central La. feasibility study, Upper Barataria Basin feasibility study, Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity (LPV) General Reevaluation Report and West Bank and Vicinity (WBV) General Reevaluation Report. Each study was recently funded by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to be conducted at full federal expense up to $3 million.
“The people in these project areas are frequently subjected to significant flood events,” said Col. Michael Clancy. “These studies allow an evaluation of traditional and innovative alternatives for reducing their vulnerability to flood and storm damage.”
“Reducing storm damage risk for Louisiana’s coastal communities is critical to our mission. Once completed, these studies will further identify and propose solutions to reduce vulnerability and improve the resiliency of our coastal communities,” said CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry.
The South Central Louisiana Coastal Flood Risk Reduction study was authorized in 2006 to determine the feasibility of providing hurricane and storm damage risk reduction and environmental restoration within Iberia, St. Mary and St. Martin parishes. Flood risk management approaches that may be considered include levees and floodwalls, hydraulic and salinity control structures, marsh creation and restoration, non-structural efforts and shoreline stabilization measures.
The Upper Barataria Basin Flood Risk Management study, authorized in 1998, will investigate alternatives to address flood risk from tidal surges, coastal storms and heavy rainfall in the area between Bayou Lafourche and the Mississippi River system. The study will evaluate a range of structural and non-structural approaches to regulate upper basin stages and storage capabilities. Possible solutions include a combination of small scale levees and floodwalls, conveyance channels, flood gates, tidal exchange structures, flood walls and pumping stations
The Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction (HSDRRS) system was authorized to provide the greater New Orleans area with a system that could defend against the 100-year storm surge event, an event that has a 1 percent change of occurring in any given year. This authorization did not include any future levee lifts required to sustain the 1 percent level of risk reduction. With an understanding that risk to property and infrastructure will progressively increase if levee lifts are not used to offset settlement, subsidence and sea level rise, Congress subsequently authorized the study of future levee lifts for the LPV and WBV portions of the HSDRRS. Under this additional authority, the Corps must evaluate any necessary work to ensure that it is technically feasible, environmentally acceptable and economically justified.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law in February 2018, allocated funding to complete flood and coastal storm damage risk reduction studies in 14 states and two territories. These studies must focus on opportunities to reduce the overall flood risk facing the Nation. The New Orleans District received $15 million to undertake the four above studies and the Amite River and Tributaries Comprehensive Study. Each study is being conducted at full federal expense and is scheduled to take no more than three years to complete.