FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2023
Gov. Edwards Announces Federal Approval of Emergency Declaration for Lower Mississippi River Saltwater Intrusion
BATON ROUGE, La. – Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has approved his request for an Emergency Declaration due to the lower Mississippi River saltwater intrusion. As a result of the historic drought throughout the Mississippi River Valley, the rate of freshwater flowing down the Mississippi River has been dramatically low, allowing an intrusion of saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico to make its way upriver. Plaquemines Parish has already been affected by the intrusion, and other parishes are projected to be impacted over the next month including St. Bernard Parish, Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish.
“I’m grateful to the Biden administration for making this request a priority and responding quickly to help the people of South Louisiana," said Gov. Edwards. “Efforts to mitigate the impact of the saltwater intrusion are currently underway and other projects are being considered based on the projections being received from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). This 90-day approval of our Emergency Declaration will help our state and local partners with the costs of any mitigation efforts and protective measures. As this event unfolds, we will continue to analyze the emergency efforts and impacts to determine if further requests will be necessary.”
The President’s approval authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to support all disaster relief efforts, which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program limited to temporary measures that address reduced water treatment capability due to saltwater intrusion resulting from low water levels of the Mississippi River for no more than 90 days from the date of declaration, as authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, in Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) continues to work with leadership in the impacted areas, along with our state and federal partners, on response and preparation.
You can find more information under the Saltwater Intrusion tab at emergency.la.gov.