Gov. John Bel Edwards today announced a state commitment of $6 million to St. Charles Parish for needed levee improvements along Magnolia Ridge and the construction of a gate on the Paradis Canal. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is providing the funding via the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) and the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act.

“For too long, residents on the West Bank of St. Charles Parish have been exposed to increasing storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico,” said Gov. Edwards. “Today, we are committing $3.5 million to lift the Magnolia Ridge levee, improving the consistency of protection provided by the flood control system that protects 27,000 parish residents. This stretch of levee ties into the Paradis Canal, and we are providing another $2.54 million that the parish will match to construct a gate on that canal. The links in this flood protection chain will now be stronger than ever.”

“I can’t thank our governor and the CPRA enough,” said Parish President Larry Cochran. “Lifting more than two miles of the Magnolia Ridge levee and tying into the Paradis Canal Gate will save money, property, and lives when the next storm comes.”

“These two projects will provide crucial flood protection by blocking storm surge,” said State Senator Gary Smith. “But we won’t rest until the entire St. Charles Parish West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee and the larger Upper Barataria Risk Reduction System are complete.”

The Paradis Canal Gate will utilize vertical-lift and sluice gates to help prevent backwater flooding through the canal. CPRA is providing $2.54 million, the first award through its Parish Matching Opportunities Program that uses post-BP Spill Impact Component funds received through the RESTORE Act. St. Charles Parish is matching that amount with $390,284 in RESTORE Act funds, along with $2.15 million collected through a local dedicated millage.

“This incentive program is a great example of how we are leveraging state and local partnerships to meet the objectives of our Coastal Master Plan and expediting priority parish projects,” said Chip Kline, Chairman of the CPRA Board. “Six coastal projects will receive matching money through the CPRA program, but the first award is going to the Paradis Canal Gate here in St. Charles Parish.”

For the Magnolia Ridge Levee and Road Improvement project, CPRA is awarding $3.5 million to the parish using GOMESA funds received from oil and natural gas leasing and production on the Federal Outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico.

“This is a significant improvement in our levee protection system,” said State Representative Randall Gaines. “The Magnolia Ridge stretch of levee averages around six feet in height, so lifting it to seven-and-a-half feet is an important step toward the long-term goal of providing protection from a 100-year storm.”

The Magnolia Ridge section is part of the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee that is vitally important to St. Charles Parish residents who reside outside of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.

“The combined length of the four segments of earthen levees in this system is 33 miles,” said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase. “Lifting the levee to seven-and-a-half feet is a great accomplishment as we work toward our goal outlined in the 2017 Coastal Master Plan of ultimately lifting them to 12-and-a-half feet. The levee lift we’re building here is proof of what can be accomplished when local and state leaders work together. We look forward to continuing this productive partnership with St. Charles Parish.”