The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved the state’s Action Plan for spending $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds, allowing Louisiana to move forward with an unprecedented opportunity to drastically reduce flood risk for communities throughout the state.
“HUD’s approval of our plan confirms that Louisiana is headed in the right direction,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We have taken proactive steps and served as a blueprint for other states preparing their own flood mitigation plans to use these federal funds in ways that prioritize data, science and regional collaboration to build resilience in the face of future flooding. With HUD’s blessing, we are prepared to move quickly with our partners statewide to begin implementing this plan and bring immediate relief to Louisiana communities.”
The plan outlines the state’s approach to funding mitigation projects, data collection, watershed modeling and policy measures that align with the long-term resilience objective of the Louisiana Watershed Initiative. This includes an initial $100 million funding opportunity for projects that will address immediate flood mitigation needs throughout the state.
In preparing its Action Plan, the state identified 46 parishes as most impacted and distressed, or MID, areas, which HUD approved in addition to the original 10 parishes HUD identified as most impacted and distressed. The federal funds must be used to benefit MID parishes, which can be found in the final plan.
While working closely with HUD to gain approval of its plan, the state and its partners have built a framework to reduce flood risk along watershed region boundaries and are prepared to begin using these funds as soon as they are available. For programmatic purposes, the LWI has recognized eight watershed regions and is working alongside corresponding regional steering committees to guide flood mitigation decisions and investments.
The state expects the funding to become available in spring 2020, after which LWI will make significant investments in low-risk, high-impact projects to reduce flood risk throughout the state.
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About the Louisiana Watershed Initiative
Gov. John Bel Edwards established the Council on Watershed Management in 2018, which serves as the coordinated, interagency organization at the state level for watershed-based flood risk reduction. The Louisiana Watershed Initiative serves as the Council's programmatic arm under which all related efforts operate.