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Lake Pontchartrain & Vicinity

Project purpose                                                                                                                              
The Corps is making a concerted effort to avoid and minimize environmental impacts to the maximum extent practical while developing the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS). When habitat losses occur, the Corps will offset such losses through compensatory environmental mitigation. Compensatory environmental mitigation is an important part of HSDRRS construction and could include habitat restoration or enhancement.

Project location
Generally, impacts generated from the Lake Pontchartrain & Vicinity (LPV) hurricane project will be mitigated in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, between I-12 and the Mississippi River. See map.

Project features
The HSDRRS mitigation project team has evaluated over 400 potential mitigation features in cooperation with the environmental resource agencies and the non-federal sponsor and has identified a tentatively selected plan. Currently, the plan will compensate for four habitat categories impacted during development of the risk reduction system: wet and dry bottomland hardwood forests, swamps and marshlands.

*Current estimated habitat impacts from constructing LPV HSDRRS projects

Habitat Type Quantity (Acres) Quality (AAHUs**)
Bottonland Hardwood Wet 261 125
Bottonland Hardwood Dry 284 62
Swamp 197 108
Fresh/Intermediate Marsh 186 87
Brackish Marsh 251 127
Total Acres 1,179 509

*To compensate for these impacts, the mitigation acreage may be larger than the impact acreage. Impacts last updated in June 2012.

**AAHU (Average Annual Habitat Unit)is a numerical value representing the quality of a habitat.

Project status
The Corps’ ongoing mitigation efforts include periodic Individual Environmental Report (IER) status meetings. There have been five meetings thus far, three in May 2010, one in December 2010, and one in March 2012. The New Orleans District is currently working to complete the NEPA compliance on the mitigation plan.

Upcoming major milestones include: Release IER for Public Review (Dec 2012), Submit Project Decision Document (PDD) to Division Office (Feb 2013).

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