Gov. John Bel Edwards is announcing $34 million in federal funding for 13 flood risk reduction projects recommended by regions throughout the state as part of the Local and Regional Projects and Programs – Round 1. Steering committees for the state’s watershed regions recommended the projects for funding, which the Council on Watershed Management approved at its meeting today.
“This announcement is the latest in a series of watershed project awards, representing major investments in reducing flood risk and creating a more resilient Louisiana.” Gov. Edwards said. “In less than one year since the state received federal mitigation funding, we have announced more than $400 million in flood mitigation projects and will be announcing more in the coming months. Through the Louisiana Watershed Initiative, local and regional partners worked closely with the state to select Round 1 projects that will benefit communities statewide.”
Today’s Round 1 funding announcement follows $61.6 million awarded in May to 16 projects, as well as about $213 million awarded earlier this year for 20 state projects and programs, including seven buyout initiatives. All awarded projects align with the long-term resilience objectives of the Louisiana Watershed Initiative and the state’s $1.2 billion CDBG-MIT Action Plan.
The local and regional Round 1 projects and grantees awarded today are as follows:
Immediately after today’s Round 1 announcement, the state launched Round 2, which includes a $100 million Design Support Pilot to address technical issues with Round 1 applications and support building local and regional project development capacity.
In addition, the state’s eight watershed regions submitted final recommendations to the council today on frameworks for regional floodplain management to guide the creation of long-term, regional watershed coalitions. The recommendations request statewide legislation to create these regional watershed entities.
To support implementation of the coalitions, the council approved Phase 2 of the Regional Capacity Building Grant program today. Phase 2 of the RCBG program allocates another round of funding—$800,000 per region—totaling $6.4 million for continued regional, watershed-based planning and coordination for the next four years.