- Virtual Open House
The Louisiana Watershed Initiative (LWI) is a holistic approach to watershed management, that goes beyond conventional mitigation measures and incorporates nature-based solutions. The historic floods of 2016 exposed numerous issues with the way the state has handled flood management in the past, leading to an investigation of how Louisiana prepares for intense storm events. In response to this investigation, Gov. John Bel Edwards launched LWI. The Louisiana Watershed Initiative was founded in 2018 with a focus on establishing a regionalized approach to flood risk mitigation throughout the state. After its founding, the federal government announced that Louisiana would receive a $1.2 billion flood mitigation grant to be distributed to various communities via the Louisiana Watershed Initiative.
The program represents a $100 million project funding opportunity for eligible local and regional projects that will address immediate flood mitigation needs. As a high-risk area, East Baton Rouge Parish is in the process of submitting five proposed projects to the Louisiana Watershed Initiative for funding assistance. Many of these projects encompass areas that were greatly affected by the 2016 flooding that show benefit to areas exceeding that footprint and neighboring parishes. It is important to note that these projects are in the application phase, meaning that they have not been approved for funding at this time. Please see below for brief project descriptions.
Bayou Duplantier is a tributary within the Ward Creek watershed. Located near Louisiana State University, it captures runoff from highly developed areas and carries it downstream to Dawson Creek and then into Ward Creek. As development increases throughout the area, flood storage and infiltration opportunities are greatly reduced, contributing to an added strain on Bayou Duplantier and downstream areas as it attempts to carry more floodwaters. This strain results in an increased risk that surrounding areas will experience catastrophic flooding during an intense rain event.
To mitigate this increased risk, East Baton Rouge Parish is in the process of submitting a funding application to the Louisiana Watershed Initiative. If approved, East Baton Rouge Parish would have the funds to purchase approximately 200 acres of undeveloped land along the natural floodplain of Bayou Duplantier with the intention of preserving it. Land preservation would ensure that this highly developed area maintains an adequate amount of flood storage and stormwater infiltration.
Ward Creek is the main tributary in the Ward Creek Watershed and carries stormwater from developed areas downstream to Bayou Manchac. At its highly developed downstream location, Ward Creek is at risk of restricting upstream channel flows, resulting in flooding of the surrounding area. If unchecked, the future development of the area will increase flooding upstream of the project location.
Similar to the Bayou Duplantier Floodplain Acquisition Project, funding of this proposed project would enable East Baton Rouge Parish to purchase approximately 140 acres of undeveloped land along the natural floodplain of Ward Creek. The purpose of this project is the same of that of Bayou Duplantier, floodplain preservation. Floodplain preservation will maintain the natural flood storage capacity of the area and ensure proper infiltration of stormwater to provide relief for the channel downstream of this location and surrounding roads and properties. Additionally, this project area is adjacent to BREC’s Airline Highway Park, for which a Round 1 application will be submitted to improve the floodplain storage and recreational provisions of the area. At this time, coordination is ongoing between BREC and the Parish to potentially expand the Airline Highway Park into the Ward Creek Floodplain Acquisition project area, unlocking greater potential for enhanced recreational and educational activities.
Dawson Creek is a tributary within the Ward Creek Watershed. Beginning north of I-10, it joins with Bayou Duplantier and captures runoff from highly developed areas and carries it downstream to Ward Creek. Currently, Dawson Creek experiences channel overtopping, resulting in road closures and structural flooding during intense rain events throughout the area.
To mitigate this increased risk, East Baton Rouge Parish is submitting an application to re-shape approximately 3 miles of the Dawson Creek channel (area 3), eliminating channel obstructions to increase channel flow capacity and reduce water surface elevations. Additionally, the Parish plans to construct a detention basin (area 1 and 2) where Dawson Creek joins with Bayou Duplantier. This detention area will provide additional flood storage capacity that will ensure there are no negative downstream impacts as a result of increased stream conveyance.
Jones Creek is the main tributary within its watershed. Extending from north of Florida Blvd, it captures runoff from highly developed areas and carrying them downstream to the Amite River. Currently, Jones Creek experiences overtopping, resulting in road closures and structural flooding during intense rain events throughout the area.
East Baton Rouge Parish is currently in the process of applying for funding through the Louisiana Watershed Initiative to combat continued closures and structural damages. For one of its watershed funding applications, East Baton Rouge Parish is proposing to purchase approximately 65 acres of undeveloped land at the old Sherwood Forest Golf Course with the intention of utilizing it for detention and secondarily as a park area. The detention space will allow for the Parish to provide approximately 210,000 cubic yards of storage volume for runoff, therefore reducing flood levels throughout the area. Additionally, the park area will provide recreational and educational opportunities to area residents. While no plans are currently in place, the detention area provides the opportunity for the Parish to construct outdoor fields, walking trails, or even community gardens.
East Baton Rouge Parish has identified two bridge locations in the northern areas of East Baton Rouge Parish that have experienced flood induced erosion damages over time to the point that neither bridge is operable. The first bridge is located on Alphonse Forbes Road over Sandy Creek and the second is located on Old Baker Road over South Canal. In their current state, both bridges have been closed due to safety concerns. East Baton Rouge Parish, through the funding application is proposing to replace both bridges, reinforcing the channel banks and ensuring both channels remain clear of obstructions. Additionally, replacement will provide renewed access to these bridges, as both are currently closed to traffic.