Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order establishing the Louisiana Watershed –Based Floodplain Management Coordination to develop and implement a statewide floodplain management program to mitigate future risks associated with frequent flooding and severe weather events that have impacted the state.
“Louisiana is no stranger to flooding and severe weather, and people all across Louisiana have suffered tremendous loss as a result. We should advance our commitment to increasing community and regional resilience to flooding by managing, mitigating and adapting to future flood risk,” said Gov. Edwards. “Louisiana is well positioned to be a national leader in watershed-based floodplain management. We know that decisions made in one portion of a watershed will impact floodplains in another portion of the same watershed, which is why it is vital for communities, local and state governments to collaborate and align their actions and objectives to make our state, people and communities safer.”
Through this executive order, state agencies will partner with local governments, federal agencies, institutions of higher education and private and not-for-profit organizations. Flooding after a rain event is not only related to the amount and/or intensity of rainfall received, but is also closely tied to land use, policy and infrastructure decisions.
Currently, floodplains are impacted by actions and decisions made by a wide variety of people, laws, and regulatory bodies, including private landowners, municipalities, parish leaders, zoning laws, building codes, statewide regulations, and federal requirements. As well, existing practices across varying levels of government do not currently provide for the comprehensive floodplain management that is necessary to properly address drainage issues as land is developed.
The Council charged with administering this program will be made up of the Secretaries and Executive Directors of the Office of Community Development (OCD), the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) operating as the Council on Watershed Management.
The goals of this Council include, but are not limited to, the following: