South Louisiana residents know the damage flooding can cause to the levee systems around the area during a hurricane. The Lousiana levee systems are very important to the area and its residents. Last month, it was announced that the area will receive $2.7 Billion towards completing the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane levee system along with several dozen levees, flood control and other infrastructure projects.
Congress recently approved the two bills that provide the $2.7 billion, the Hurricane Ida Disaster Supplemental Appropriations bill approved in September and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act approved in November.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has allowed $1.3 billion dollars in their annual 2023 budget which will be spent over 12 months beginning July 1. Included are 144 projects statewide, including $1 billion to be spent on the construction of 76 projects.
“After Louisiana suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Ida, I am pleased to see the Corps include over $1 billion for projects in Louisiana’s First Congressional District,” Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, who originally opposed the bill, said. “As our state’s recovery continues, I am committed to pushing the Corps to ensure South Louisiana has the resources necessary to restore and improve protection for our citizens and communities.”
“The federal funding released today builds on years of work by Congressman Scalise on these flood protection projects,” replied spokesman Hunter Lovell. “Congressman Scalise, along with Congressman Garret Graves, secured the language in a House bill that allowed the Morganza-to-the-Gulf project to receive federal construction funding for the first time in its history.”
The Morganza levee system already has received $12.5 million in 2020 and $19 million in 2021. The $378.5 million from the infrastructure bill is the largest federal contribution towards the level system. The Morganza levee is a 92-mile levee system. Because the state requires 35% to be matched for the federal funding, Louisiana, Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes have given $1 billion towards the construction.
The money allotted by the bill will also help pay to improve several floodgates which include Minors Canal Floodgate, Humble Canal Floodgate, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway East and West floodgates. It will also help redo the Lockport to Larose levee reach and the Reach A South levee.
The Southwest Coastal Louisiana Hurricane Projection will be allotted $125 million to help raise structures in Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermilion parishes. The program’s goal is aimed at reducing flooding problems and restoring wetlands in areas south of Lake Charles.
Another $783 million will be given to the Corps to allow the hurricane levels in Plaquemines Parish to be elevated to levels able to withstand overtopping from storm surges with a 2% chance of occurring in any year. The West Shore Lake Pontchartrain levee will also receive $453 million which is slated to be completed by end of 2025.
The remaining funds will go to improvements to the Atchafalaya Basin floodway, repairs to levee slides at two Atchafalaya Basin locations, and for dredging of a shoaling area in the basin near Morgan City, build the Bayou Sale East-West tie-in, design and partially build drainage projects in Algiers and repairs to Mississippi River levees and channels throughout the state.
The New Orleans area will also get some of the money to help raise the area’s levees. In the Corps budget for the area, the proposed to spend $3 billion over a 50 year period. This will help keep the levees raised to the 100-year surge protection level.