Lafourche Parish levee districts got $41,7 million today for storm protection projects.
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an agreement allocating the money, which totals $36 million. of the State's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funds and $5.6 million in surplus to the South Lafourche Levee District.
The timing of the agreement also coincides with the completion of a $2.5 million floodgate for La. Highway 1.
“Lafourche Parish is a great example of proactive planning and investment in flood protection,” said Gov. Edwards. “GOMESA funding allows us to make those plans a reality by accelerating important flood protection projects that provide a vital service to the people of this region. This serves as another example of my administration moving hurricane protection and coastal restoration projects into construction as soon as we possibly can.”
GOMESA was established in 2006 to provide dedicated funds to Louisiana's coastal program from qualified federal outer continental shelf revenues.
It's been a critical funding stream since its inception.
Last month, CPRA announced the creation of the GOMESA Coalition, which seeks to increase the state's federal share of offshore energy revenues.
That coalition includes Congressional delegations from Louisiana and also neighboring Gulf States.
“GOMESA was a huge win for Louisiana when it passed in 2006 and now that we have finally entered phase II, we are able to make these kinds of significant investments where it matters,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “Today’s announcement signifies what is possible when state government has a productive relationship with local levee districts and coastal parishes. The funds we are announcing today will help provide the residents of Lafourche Parish the protection they need and deserve.”
The North Lafourche Levee District has five projects slated for construction:
- Levee improvements to the Gheens community, raising the height of almost four miles of levee from an average of 5 feet to 7 feet.
- Replacing the old pump station at Des Allemands with two 16-inch diesel pumps and a 500 gallon double-walled fuel tank, protecting approximately 2,500 homes in Des Allemands.
- A deployable structure to close the Hollywood Canal when needed, preventing backwater flooding on the Lafourche side from the intersection of LA 316 and Prospect Extension northwest to the intersection of Bayou Blue Bypass Road and the Hollywood Canal, and protecting 1,800 homes and numerous businesses.
- Enhancing the 40 Arpent Canal Levee from Lockport Company Canal to Butch Hill Station, drastically increasing flood protection for more than 3,500 structures, including homes, schools, businesses, and a hospital.
- 1,500 feet of levee from Bayou Folse that ties back into the Highway 90 embankment, allowing the district to elevate existing levees in the area to a height of 6.5 feet.
“These funds are allowing us to move forward more quickly on some desperately needed flood protection project in the North Lafourche Levee District,” said Dwayne Bourgeois, Executive Director of the North Lafourche Levee District. “These projects not only protect the 66,000 people who live in the district, they also benefit the countless travelers of Highway 90, a major hurricane evacuation route.”
“This isn’t a wish list; these are real projects for which we have the money,” said Bren Haase, CPRA Executive Director. “You’ll see some of them starting construction this year, and all of them could be in construction in the next year or two. And past that, we have a $3 million flood management project being planned for the Upper Barataria Basin.”
The South Lafourche Levee District has three projects slated for construction:
- Grand Bayou Floodgate, a critical link within the Morganza to the Gulf Levee System; it will provide flood protection to an elevation of 15 feet.
- Raising the Golden Meadow Pump Station Floodwall from 13 feet to 17 feet, removing an 800 foot gap which is four feet lower than the adjacent levee system.
- Larose Floodgate Steel A-frame Improvement, which will raise the flood protection from 8 feet to 13 feet adjacent to the Ted Gisclair Floodgate in Larose.
- The recently completed project announced today is the LA-1 Highway Floodgate, which raised the level of protection from 12 feet to 18 feet, replacing the less reliable temporary Hesco Basket closure.
“One of the reasons our parish was saved from greater damage during Hurricane Barry was because of the protection infrastructure we’ve been building, and we owe a lot of that to our partnership with CPRA,” said South Lafourche Levee District General Manager Windell Curole. “We stand with them in supporting a fair share of federal GOMESA offshore revenues as a full partner continuing the levee district’s effort since 2005.”
“Partnering with CPRA has helped make our parish and its people safer,” said Lafourche Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle. “CPRA stepped in when the federal government wouldn’t, contributing almost $158 million to our Morganza to the Gulf levee system. And that’s just one instance. From the north end of our parish down to Port Fourchon, CPRA is making Lafourche Parish a safer place to live, work, and play.”