Resilience Projects

What is resilience?

  • Resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt our community to changing environmental conditions in order to lessen the impact of future hazards.
  • Hazards can be natural or man-made. These include but are not limited to: flooding events; hurricanes; effects of long-term environmental degradation; short-term/intermittent failure/under performance of infrastructure; or economic shocks.
  • To plan for resilience and mitigate hazards, communities can take the following actions: prepare for future hazards in order to lessen their impact, implement adaptation strategies that make St. John the Baptist Parish more suitable to changing environmental and economic conditions, and develop response and recovery procedures to be implemented immediately after a disaster strikes.

How can we achieve resilience?

  • On September 24th, 2019, St. John the Baptist Parish adopted the LA SAFE Adaptation Strategy. In accordance with the ordinance, the plan will serve as the long-term vision for the Parish in the face of heightened flood risk.
  • The plan is a combination of strategies and goals designed to complement the State of Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan by providing a holistic approach to flood risk that addresses the social, economic and environmental impacts associated with flooding that will endure for generations. Essentially, the strategy ties local policies and projects with large-scale coastal restoration and protection efforts.
  • Funded through the Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD), the plan combines local knowledge and experience gathered from a year-long community planning process which engaged residents across the Parish.
  • The goals of the LA SAFE Plan include:
    • Manage flood water/storm water and subsidence;
    • Direct growth to low-risk areas;
    • Improve mobility throughout the Parish and region;
    • Protect and promote historic and cultural assets;
    • Strengthen and diversify the local economy by enhancing coordination among schools and local industry.

The Parish is working on the following resilience projects:

 

Airline and Main Complete Streets

Project Description

  • The Airline and Main Complete Streets project is a Resilient Infrastructure and Community Nonstructural Mitigation/Flood Risk Reduction project to provide both green infrastructure and transportation improvements along both Airline Highway and Main Street in LaPlace. This project serves as a model of how the Parish can plan for a future of heightened flood risk in a low risk area by incorporating stormwater management strategies into public infrastructure projects while providing residents with enhanced transportation options.
  • Once complete, the project will consist of streetscape improvements on a 1.6 mile stretch of Airline Highway between Tiffany Drive and Main Street and 0.3 miles of improvements along Main Street between Airline Highway and West 5th. Features will include green infrastructure installations to hold and filter stormwater runoff, sidewalks, permeable parking, native plantings and bike lanes.

Funding

  • The Parish received $6 million dollars from OCD to design and construct this project. As part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition, this project is part of a suite of projects around the country aimed at delivering innovative concepts to address resilience and hazard mitigation. Once complete, the project will serve as a model for improved infrastructure design methods incorporating multiple goals under one project.

Benefits

  • Reinvestment in commercial corridors;
  • Alleviation of local drainage canals and pipes;
  • Flood risk reduction;
  • Improvements for pedestrian and cyclist safety;
  • Water quality protection;
  • Improved identity and sense of place.

Projected Completion Date

  • May 31, 2022

 

Lake Pontchartrain Shoreline Protection

Project Description

  • Since 1915, the western shore of Lake Pontchartrain has eroded at a rate of approximately 10 feet per year near the St. John the Baptist Parish/St. Charles Parish line extending the length of the shore to Tangipahoa Parish. Increased flood risk resulting from continued erosion and storm surge threatens residents and businesses of the Parish, in addition to major local, state and federal infrastructure. The Lake Pontchartrain Shoreline Protection Project will provide improved protection from these threats in the form of breakwaters to create a more resilient shoreline as an additional line of defense from these hazards.

Funding

  • In 2006, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) was passed to establish a revenue sharing arrangement for Outer Continental Shelf oil revenues to Gulf Coast producing states and parishes. As a coastal parish, St. John the Baptist Parish receives an annual allocation of funds for projects which address coastal conservation and restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly impacted by wetland losses. In Fall 2019, the Parish received approve for the issuance of $9.5 million in bonds to obtain this money up-front and complete this critical project.

Benefits

  • Erosion reduction;
  • Shoreline stabilization;
  • Sediment accretion and land build-up.

Projected Completion Date

  • Fall 2022

 

Belle Terre Streetscape and Stormwater Enhancements

Project Description

  • Belle Terre Streetscape and Stormwater Enhancements is proposed as a complete streets project with the intent of stimulating economic activity along a major Parish corridor while advancing the use of green infrastructure principles to alleviate localized flooding within the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. Similar to the LA SAFE Airline and Main Complete Streets project, the proposed project will serve as an example of a comprehensive approach to streetscape enhancements that accomplish multiple goals under one project -- including resilience, transportation, economic development and hazard mitigation.

Funding

  • The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act was signed into law on July 6. 2012. The RESTORE Act created a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, composed of 80% of the administrative and civil penalties paid in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These funds are distributed to both the state and coastal parishes and can only be used for projects and programs dedicated to:
    • Green infrastructure projects that benefit the economy or ecological resources, including port infrastructure;
    • Coastal flood area protection and coastal related infrastructure;
    • Tourism promotion in the Gulf Coast region, including recreational fishing;
    • Restoration and protection of natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast region.

Benefits

  • Reinvestment in commercial corridors;
  • Alleviation of local drainage canals and pipes;
  • Flood risk reduction;
  • Improvements for pedestrian and cyclist safety;
  • Water quality protection;
  • Improved identity and sense of place.

Projected Completion Date

  • Design completion: Fall 2020

 

Partner Agency Projects:

West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Risk Reduction System

River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp