Authorization: Study is authorized under H.R. Docket 2767, 20 Sep 2006, Southeast Coastal Louisiana, LA, “Resolved by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the United States House of Representatives, that, in accordance with section 110 of the River and Harbor Act of 1962, the Secretary of the Army is requested to survey the coast of Louisiana in Iberia, St. Martin, and St. Mary parishes with a view to determine the feasibility of providing hurricane protection and storm damage reduction and related purposes.” Southeast Coastal Louisiana, LA was effectively renamed South Central Coast Louisiana, LA to avoid confusion with the Southeast Louisiana urban flood control project covering Jefferson, Orleans, and St. Tammany Parishes.

Sponsors and Letter of Intent (LOI): Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board, CPRAB, is the non-Federal sponsor. CPRAB acknowledged sponsoring by Letter of Intent dated May 3, 2017.

Project Location Description: The study area, located in South Central Louisiana, includes Iberia, St. Martin, and St. Mary parishes. Communities of concern include Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville in St. Martin Parish. New Iberia, Jeanerette, Delcambre, and Loreauville are at risk of storm damage in Iberia Parish. In St. Mary Parish Morgan City, Franklin, Patterson, Baldwin, Berwick, as well as the federally recognized Tribal Nation of the Chitimacha whose reservation includes most of Charenton are at risk of damages from flooding from storms that have continually battered this part of the Louisiana coast over time. Activities in the study area include those related to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Bayou Teche; the Port of Morgan City, Port of West St. Mary, and Port of Iberia; Keystone Lock and Dam, Berwick Lock, and Bayou Boeuf Lock; the Wax Lake Outlet and Pumping Station; Patterson Regional Airport; major transportation corridors and evacuation routes (Hwy 90/future I-49 corridor); and other activities associated with local bayous and structures. In addition to the adverse impacts resulting from repeated storm events such as Hurricanes Rita, Ike, and Gustav, this area is also vulnerable to coastal land loss and degradation, which increases risk to communities, habitat, and infrastructure.

Problems and Opportunities: Hurricanes and tropical storm events pose a significant risk to the communities, ecosystems, and industries of the Louisiana gulf coast. This is an area that has suffered from recent disasters and will continue to suffer from natural disasters without some form of flood risk management solution. Repeated storm events including recent Hurricanes Rita, Ike, Gustav, and Andrew, which made landfall affecting the entire study area, resulted in loss of life, wildlife and property, and repeated mandatory evacuation costs. This area is also vulnerable to coastal land loss and degradation. Historically, from 1932 to 2010, the area has experienced a net loss of approximately 22,500 acres of wetlands. Continued wetlands losses impact migratory species, the ecological nurseries of the Gulf of Mexico, and various commercial and recreational activities.

Flood risk management approaches that are being considered include structural measures such as new levee alignments, ring levees, and improvements to existing levees, as well as non-structural measures such as wet flood-proofing, dry flood-proofing and buyouts. Expected outputs include a reduction in the risk of flooding (frequency and magnitude), the restoration of critical habitat, and the enhancement of the Nation’s economic development, job growth, and international competitiveness, which are all supported by Administration policy.

Comments or information can be provided to:
 Alice Kerl
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New Orleans District
7400 Leake Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118

or by e-mail
Southcentralcoaststudy@ usace.army.mil

Status update: The State and Agency Review by pertinent agencies is required by Executive Order 12372, Public Law 78-534, as amended, and Public Law 85-624.  This is a 30-day review.  Formal letters have been sent inviting pertinent agencies to review the Draft Chief’s Report and Final Feasibility Report.  Please note, this is not the Final NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Review.  The Final NEPA Review will be conducted in the near future and notification of the Final NEPA Review files will be published in the Federal Register.