St. Tammany Parish Agreement Signed
The Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have signed an agreement to investigate the most feasible means of providing additional flood protection and ecosystem restoration for St. Tammany Parish.
The agreement launches the feasibility evaluation of projects to reduce flood damages and restore the ecosystem authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.
The effort will result in recommended projects that would be eligible for federal funding in the future.
“CPRA is committed to working collaboratively with St. Tammany Parish and the USACE through the feasibility study to identify the best and most feasible projects and methods to provide additional flood protection,” said CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline.
The study is expected to cost under $3 million and is federally funded. The signed document commits the Corps and CPRA to sharing any additional cost on a 50-50 basis in the event the cost of the study exceeds the budgeted amount.
“The study will determine the most cost-effective measures that will give us the most protection for whatever money the federal government will fund,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “It could be levees, pumps, floodgates, drainage improvements, or natural protection like marsh restoration—or a combination of methods.”
The Corps of Engineers took the first step in the process on January 15, 2020, conducting a charrette in St. Tammany Parish, a meeting in which stakeholders work to map solutions and resolve conflicts.
“With the support of Congress and our continued partnership with CPRA and the State of Louisiana, we are able to evaluate flood damage risk reduction opportunities in St. Tammany Parish,” said Col. Stephen Murphy, commander, New Orleans District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “However, this work is not something we can do alone so public participation will be essential in helping inform our decisions throughout the study’s three-year process.”
USACE anticipates holding its Alternatives Milestone in April of this year and its Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) milestone in early 2021. Public participation is critical throughout the study process, particularly in the early stages of the study.
Once a TSP is identified, the draft report will undergo technical, legal, policy, and public reviews and then further detailed analyses will be conducted to refine the design for the TSP.
The Chief’s Report, expected in January 2023, will then be sent to Congress for funding and authorization consideration.