The state announced plans Friday to fund 10 projects that will address problems created by flooding and land loss in six coastal parishes.
Louisiana’s main way of fighting land loss and flooding is with the Coastal Master Plan — a $50 billion blueprint for building levees, and restoring marshes and barrier islands. The Master Plan’s projects and priorities are based on science and modeling.
But the state has acknowledged that these projects can’t save all the land. And the places that remain will be different. Some parishes, for example, will lose population. Others will grow. And there’s going to be a lot more flooding due to subsidence and sea level rise. So they started another program, Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE), to focus on those concerns. It’s based in the state’s Office of Community Development and funded through a federal grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
LA SAFE surveyed residents in six coastal parishes: Plaquemines, Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. John the Baptist, Jefferson and St. Tammany. It asked them for ideas about how to help their communities — like improving drainage.
On Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the winning projects in each parish. Among them: a buyout program in Terrebonne Parish for people outside the new levee system; and a wetland education center in Jefferson Parish.
“Moving forward, said Edwards, “we’re gonna continue to lead in developing resilience plans and projects across Louisiana’s wetlands — applying the lessons learned from LA SAFE and replicating them statewide.”
Edwards expects the projects to be complete by 2022.
Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Foundation for Louisiana, and local listeners. Full disclosure: LA SAFE is supported in part by the Foundation for Louisiana. Foundation for Louisiana also supports the Coastal Desk at WWNO.