Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, Governor John Bel Edwards and Congressman Garret Graves together have found a solution to move forward on the East Baton Rouge Flood Risk Reduction Project, they announced Wednesday. The project will clear, snag, widen, and provide for other capital improvements in 66 miles of major drainage ways throughout the City-Parish.
Governor John Bel Edwards has committed $40 million in state funding over the life of the project to provide the needed nonfederal match for the project, which secures the overall federal funding for this critical infrastructure.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said, “Backwater flooding was a major factor for residents and businesses during the Great Flood of 2016. Our residents deserve relief from floods that seem to be happening more frequently. This is an important step to reducing the effects of future major floods in our community. I appreciate the leadership of Governor Edwards and Congressman Graves to help make this project a reality.”
Governor Edwards said, “This project is an example of a local, state and federal partnership that will ensure that critical drainage work is completed to make the Baton Rouge community more resilient and its people safer for years to come. The state’s commitment in this project is part of the larger work we will complete across the region to mitigate flood threats.”
The five major waterways included in the project are: Jones Creek, Ward Creek, Bayou Fountain, Blackwater Bayou, and Beaver Bayou.
The $255 million project was elevated by congress as a national priority in the Water Resources Development Act of 2016. It was funded last year by congress in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 as a companion to the Comite River Diversion Canal. To secure the project, $40 million in state funds will go towards the local match that is needed up front to purchase real estate around the waterways. The state will also share the cost with East Baton Rouge Parish of an approximate $25 million in additional local match that will be financed over several years. The City of Central will contribute $4 million.
Congressman Garret Graves said, “The Capital Region will benefit from most of the $3 billion in federal flood reduction funds for Louisiana, which will result in lower insurance rates — and help protect our neighborhoods against flash flooding. I appreciate the efforts of Mayor Broome and Governor Edwards to match the federal funds to help make this critical project a reality. As important as this project is, it represents 1980s protection. The Capital Region urgently needs 2050s protection. An announcement very soon on the guidelines of an additional $1.2 billion in federal flood protection funds for Louisiana will be the starting point for that future protection."
Work on the project is estimated to take about four years.
About East Baton Rouge Flood Risk Reduction Project
Authorized project to reduce flooding along five sub-basins throughout the parish, including Jones Creek, Ward Creek, Bayou Fountain, Blackwater Bayou, and Beaver Bayou. This project consists of improvements to 66 miles of channels, including clearing and snagging, widening, concrete lining and improvements to existing culverts and bridges to reduce headwater flooding/backwater overflow in the Amite River Basin. The Feasibility Study was authorized in WRDA 1992 and the Chief’s report approved in December 1996. Project was first authorized for construction in WRDA 1999 at a total cost of $113 million, increased in 2003 by the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution (CAR) to $150 million, increased again in WRDA 2007 to $187 million ($255 million in current dollars).
The authorized project is intended to reduce flooding throughout East Baton Rouge Parish by improving 66 miles of channels in five sub-basins including: