Stormwater is water that comes from precipitation (rain) and ice/snow melt. It either soaks into the ground, evaporates, or collects and runs off from surfaces such as grass, trees, pavements, and roof tops into storm drain systems (pipes and/or ditch and stream networks) that ultimately makes its way to our streams.
What is hydrology?
Hydrology refers to how water is distributed and moves through the water cycle, or hydrologic cycle. As it relates to the Stormwater Master Plan, hydrology is used to determine how much stormwater runoff is generated as a result of processes like precipitation, evaporation, and infiltration.
What is hydraulics?
Hydraulics refers to the mechanics of how water moves through a physical system. As it relates to the Stormwater Master Plan, hydraulics is used to determine how stormwater flows from one location to another. This can occur through streams, channels, ditches, and pipes.
How does stormwater affect my property, and how does my property affect stormwater runoff?
Generally, when rain falls on your property, it either filters into the ground, is captured, or runs off your property. Impervious surfaces, such as roofs and pavements, increase the speed and amount of stormwater that runs off. Flooding occurs when the speed or amount of stormwater runoff exceeds the capacity of the downstream drainage channels or pipes, or if the system is clogged or damaged.
What is a watershed?
A watershed is an area of land that drains to an outlet such as a stream, or lake. A watershed can be as small as what drains to single inlet or as large as what drains to the Mississippi river. The smaller watersheds combine with other watersheds to form a network of rivers and streams that progressively drain into larger water areas. The topography or man-made features determine where and how water flows through a watershed.
How can I find my watershed?
On the project website (stormwater.brla.gov), you can enter your address and see which watershed you live or work in.
What is a Stormwater Master Plan (SMP)?
It is a guidance document for the implementation of overall drainage system, water quality, and flood risk reduction projects, policies, and strategies. The Stormwater Master Plan also includes a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that provides a roadmap on how to fund improvements over a designated period of time.
How was this plan conceived?
The Capital Region experienced widespread flooding in August 2016. The historic flood revealed current challenges regarding existing stormwater conveyance systems, as well as their impact on overall stormwater management in East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes. Upon taking office, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome directed staff to develop a comprehensive stormwater master plan, the first in more than 50 years for the parish. In November 2017, a consultant team was hired to develop, in partnership with City-Parish staff, the master plan. The master planning process will conclude with the preparation of the formal Stormwater Master Plan Report that will include technical and policy recommendations, a 20-year capital improvement program, as well as funding and implementation strategies.
What is included in the development of the plan?
The plan includes significant data collection and survey of the City-Parish’s expansive stormwater system including open-drainage features including rivers, bayous, streams, and an inventory of natural resources, as well as all closed-drainage systems including pipes, drains, and structures. It will also include developing a comprehensive public engagement plan; assessing and recommending updates to development guidance and stormwater ordinances; developing regional and watershed-based hydrology and hydraulic models to evaluate flood hazards and mitigation measures; developing and prioritizing planning level projects to address flooding problems; and an action plan to communicate the path forward toward implementation and funding of projects. This is more thoroughly presented in the Stormwater Master Plan Implementation Framework at https://www.brla.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5357/Stormwater-Master-Plan-PDF
What is the goal of the project?
The goal of the project is to develop a plan including management of human activities and natural resources, that as it is implemented, will reduce the risk of flooding throughout the city-parish.
What data is being collected?
We are collecting information about the existing stormwater drainage system so we can better understand how it performs. This includes details about local storm drains and ditches as well as the larger channels and bayous which move water through our Parish. As part of our data collection efforts, we are also identifying parts of the system which may need additional maintenance or repair.
How many miles of open channel drainage does the Parish have?
There are approximately 550 miles of major tributary streams throughout the Parish. Of these, approximately 520 miles drain to the Comite and Amite Rivers which ultimately drain to Lake Maurepas. There are approximately 30 miles of tributary streams in the west/northwest area of the Parish that drain to the Mississippi River.
How many storm drainage structures are estimated in the Parish?
There are an estimated 75,000 stormwater drainage structures, associated pipe network and bridges/culverts that are City-Parish responsibility. This does not include storm drain systems in the cities of Central, Baker and Zachery or DOTD as they are the respective entity’s responsibility.
How will the data be utilized?
The data will be used to develop computer models of the streams and stormwater pipe networks throughout the Parish. These models will simulate how different storm events cause flooding, as well as how unmanaged development can increase flooding and reduce water quality. The flooding results will be used to determine where maintenance or construction projects are needed to alleviate the flood impacts, as well as where environmental conservation and restoration can reduce flooding and improve water quality. The information will also be used to inform changes in the Parish drainage, floodplain, and environmental policies, codes, and ordinances.
How can I participate in the planning process?
We will be hosting several public meetings where we will be seeking public feedback. We also have a website (stormwater.brla.gov) where we will share information as it becomes available and ask for public comment.
How will this plan impact neighboring Parishes?
The stormwater master plan and associate projects and risk reduction strategies will be developed to not cause upstream or downstream impacts. This includes no impacts to our neighboring Parishes. We intend to share and coordinate the plan with the neighboring parishes.
How is the Stormwater Master Plan funded?
The City-Parish was allocated, as a result of the August 2016 flood, $80 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding by FEMA for various projects that will mitigate future flooding impacts. Applications for funding these projects were developed and reviewed by the state and federal governments. The stormwater master plan was submitted as a standalone application for HMGP funding and was approved by FEMA in the summer of 2019. The $15 million cost of the master plan was approved and fully funded by FEMA. Initial Phase I work on the master plan, prior to the HMGP application, totaling $1.3 million was funded by the City-Parish.
When is the Stormwater Master Plan anticipated to be complete?
Phase 1 of the Stormwater master plan was completed in July of 2018 which comprised the completion of the stormwater master plan implementation framework. Major Phase 2 work on the master plan began in December 2019 and is expected to be complete in Summer 2022.
Who is working on the Stormwater Master Plan on behalf of the Parish?
The Parish contracted with HNTB Corporation to assist in the development of a Parish Stormwater Master Plan (SMP). The HNTB team includes support from sub-consultants including Forte & Tablada, Franklin Associates, Civil Solutions, Compliance Enviro Systems, Natural Resource Professionals, and CSRS,Inc.
Does this effort connect to the Louisiana Watershed Initiative (LWI)?
Yes. The Watershed Initiative serves as the program through which floodplain management responsibilities are coordinated across federal, state and local agencies. The LWI set up 8 regions throughout the state for this coordination between the LWI and local jurisdictions. The City-Parish is part of Region 8 and is actively engaged. In addition, the LWI is funding projects through an application process of which the Parish is participating and will continue to do so as the Stormwater Master Plan progresses. The Parish has already submitted a number of drainage improvement projects based on preliminary analysis completed as part of the Stormwater Master Plan. For more information please visit www.watershed.la.gov
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