$13 million approved for BR-area flood control projects
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2007 work plan, released today, contains $13 million for Baton Rouge-area flood control projects championed by U.S. Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge, who serves as Ranking Member of the House water resources subcommittee that oversees the Corps.
The projects in line for funding represent the "big four" of projects in "Project Noah" - Baker's $450 million comprehensive plan for flood control and ecosystem restoration in the capital region: the Comite River Diversion Canal, the East Baton Rouge Parish Flood Control Project, Amite River Ecosystem Restoration, and Bayou Manchac Ecosystem Restoration.
"Just as the lives of south Louisianians are intertwined with the rise and fall of our waterways, so are our waterways interconnected, and as such require planning in a comprehensive manner to effectively protect our people and enhance our environment," said Baker. "I am pleased to see that the four most important components of this plan will receive federal funds for moving ahead."
Specifically, the 2007 Corps work plan includes $12.1 million in construction funds for the Comite River Diversion Canal. The Comite River Diversion Canal is a $163 million effort to divert floodwaters from the unpredictable Comite River to the Mississippi River. When complete, the project will reduce floodwaters by several feet throughout the basin, mitigating the exposure of floodwaters to area homes and business.
Also approved was $500,000 for construction for East Baton Rouge Flood Control, a multifaceted project to reduce flooding within the parish by channel modifications in five bayou and creek watersheds. Once finished, it will facilitate the rapid flow of high waters from throughout the parish to the Mississippi River.
The Corps' budget for 2007 "general investigations" - or project studies - included $100,000 in planning funds for the Amite River Ecosystem Restoration project, and $300,000 for the Bayou Manchac Ecosystem Restoration project. The projects are aimed at restoring parts of these streams to their historic, natural condition in order to enhance environmental quality while significantly lowering floodwaters in Denham Springs, East Ascension, and East Iberville parishes.