Chief Of Engineers Signs Report For Upper Barataria Basin Flood Protection Plan

Several Louisiana coastal communities west of the Mississippi River are one step closer to significant storm protection following Lt. Gen. Scott Spellman’s January 28 signing of the Chief’s Report for the Upper Barataria Basin Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement.

The report sets forth a tentatively selected plan to build a flood protection system about 30 miles in length, stretching from Luling to near Raceland. Total cost for the system will be about $514 million. The plan calls for about 18.3 miles of new levees or floodwall and the improvement of 12.3 miles of existing levees. Standing at a minimum elevation of 14 feet, the system will protect against a “100-year storm,” or a storm that has a 1 percent chance of impacting the area in any given year. Besides the levee and floodwall components, the system will also include a “barge gate” across Bayou Des Allemands. Much of the system will parallel Highway 90 and connect with the Mississippi River levee system at Luling. 

Originally authorized in 1998, the study received funding in 2018 through the Bipartisan Budget Act. Louisiana’s Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA) is the non-federal sponsor. Chip Kline, CPRA’s board chairman, called the signing of the Chief’s Report “a major step forward for a critically important hurricane protection project.”

The project has received $8 million through the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022 to conduct the preconstruction engineering and design phase. Construction on the $1.6 billion project will require congressional authorization and appropriation.