US Army Corps of Engineers
New Orleans District

West Bank & 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 West Bank & Vicinity (WBV) hurricane project will be mitigated in the Barataria Basin, between Bayou Lafourche and the Mississippi River. See map

Project features
The HSDRRS mitigation project team has evaluated more than 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 WBV HSDRRS projects

Habitat Type Quantity (Acres) Quality (AAHUs**)
Bottonland Hardwood Wet 236 137
Bottonland Hardwood Dry 479 253
Swamp 253 139
Fresh Marsh 147 69
Total 1,115 598

*To compensate for these impacts, the mitigation acreage may be larger than the impact acreage. Impacts last updated in July 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 four meetings thus far, three in May 2010, one in December 2010 and the most recent meeting on July 31, 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 (May 2013), Submit Project Decision Document (PDD) to Division Office (July 2013).

For more information, please visit nolaenvironmental.gov.