Feds Approve Louisiana’s $1.2 Billion Flood Prevention Plan
BATON ROUGE – The federal government has approved Louisiana’s plan for spending $1.2 billion to reduce flood risk in the state, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Friday.
The money is expected to be available by spring.
At least half of the $1.2 billion must be spent to benefit the 10 parishes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says were most affected by flooding in 2016. In its plan, the state identified 46 additional parishes that suffered serious floods that can benefit from the money.
“We have taken proactive steps and served as a blueprint for other states preparing their own flood mitigation plans to use these federal funds in ways that prioritize data, science and regional collaboration to build resilience in the face of future flooding,” Edwards said. “With HUD’s blessing, we are prepared to move quickly with our partners statewide to begin implementing this plan and bring immediate relief to Louisiana communities.”
The plan does not include a list of specific projects. Instead, it lays out the state’s approach to how the money will be used, following the goals of the Louisiana Watershed Initiative.
State officials established the Watershed Initiative to promote regional floodplain management across jurisdictional lines. The LWI has recognized eight watershed regions and is working alongside corresponding regional steering committees to guide flood mitigation decisions and investments, officials say.
A “watershed” is an area of land that drains all of its streams and rainfall to a common outlet, such as a reservoir outflow, the mouth of a bay, or a point along a stream’s channel.
The first $100 million of the federal grant is supposed to be spent on projects submitted by local and regional public entities to address immediate needs that have little to no risk of any downsides.
By David Jacobs of the Center Square