St. Tammany Parish Active in Flood Protection and Coastal Restoration Ventures
St. Tammany Parish Awarded $10 Million for Nonstructural Flood Risk Reduction Projects
St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper recently requested funding from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) for flood risk reduction. Governor John Bel Edwards and CPRA announced earlier this week that St. Tammany has been awarded $10 million in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funding from the Louisiana Watershed Initiative (LWI) for nonstructural projects.
“Our coastal communities from Slidell to Madisonville are under frequent threat of storm surge and inland flooding, particularly during hurricane season. We greatly appreciate this funding which will support our efforts to implement resiliency and flood risk reduction plans for the benefit of our citizens most negatively impacted,” said President Cooper.
A total of $163 million in funding was awarded to 15 separate projects throughout the State. According to CPRA, all projects were chosen because they align with the long-term resilience objectives of the Louisiana Watershed Initiative and the state’s $1.2 billion CDBG-MIT Action Plan, including natural flood management, flood control, and critical infrastructure projects. The funding for these projects is part of the $1.2 billion in federal mitigation funds allocated to the State of Louisiana.
St. Tammany Parish Government Partnerships Achieve Flood Protection, Marsh Creation and Aquatic Habitat Establishment
St. Tammany Parish Government recently partnered with the Town of Madisonville, the Pontchartrain Conservancy, and Arcosa Marine to plant 2,400 one-gallon bald cypress trees over a 12-acre area, flanked by the Tchefuncte River in the Madisonville community. The goal of these plantings, on Lake Road, is to create a coastal wetland buffer or Bio-Shield. The trees provide a barrier to waves and can reduce the wave action on the land itself.
“We know that trees offer more than beauty to our community. This collaborative project is in keeping with our ongoing focus on flood protection, protection of our natural resources, and our Replant St. Tammany initiative. Trees are a natural source for flood protection and they offer a natural habitat for wildlife,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “I want to thank all of our partners in this project. We look forward to seeing these saplings mature to enhance the wetlands and increase this natural storm surge defense.”
“The Town of Madisonville greatly appreciated working in conjunction with St. Tammany Parish and Arcosa Marine on the planting of 2,400 bald cypress saplings here in Madisonville,” said Mayor Jean Pelloat. “We feel that this will help tremendously with coastal preservation and with the flooding in town. We look forward to the beautiful growth of the trees in the near future.”
“On average, every 2.7 miles of coastal wetlands can reduce storm surge by up to one foot. As many parts of our region continue to face increasing environmental threats and challenges, it is important for us to restore the wetlands that act as vital lines of defense against damaging storm surge and winds,” said Pontchartrain Conservancy Coastal Scientist Shelby Barrett. “We’re extremely grateful to partner with St. Tammany Parish, the Town of Madisonville and Arcosa Marine on this critical restoration project.”
“Arcosa Marine has a culture that values environmental responsibility and is a part of this community,” said Arcosa Marine Vice President of Operations, Bryson Person. “These are our neighbors, and we are proud to partner with the parish and the town to restore and preserve this habitat while giving something back to the land and the community.”
This project is a continuation of the Replant St. Tammany initiative. Since 2013, St. Tammany Parish Government has planted nearly 62,000 trees throughout 90 acres in St. Tammany to increase flood protection, improve water quality, create and preserve natural wildlife habitat, and help in wave and storm surge reduction in coastal areas.
Watch the video about this project here.
Christmas Tree Recycling
St. Tammany Parish Government partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in two separate projects to utilize the recycled Christmas trees from Parish citizens. The trees were part of marsh restoration in the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe, and the creation of fish habitat in the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge at the Turnaround Fishing Pond in Pearl River.
Watch the video of tree placement in the marsh from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service here.