Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the state will dedicate $100 million in federal funds to a Design Support Program for 28 flood mitigation projects and another $100 million to a Round 2 funding opportunity for local and regional projects. This follows the unanimous approval of the plan by the Council on Watershed Management, which met last Thursday.
“As we continue working to reduce flood risks throughout Louisiana, the state is not only funding projects but assisting local and regional partners in project design and development to make sure we are funding high-impact flood mitigation efforts that don’t adversely affect surrounding communities,” Gov. Edwards said.
“This work is central to the mission of the Louisiana Watershed Initiative, which is improving the way we approach flood mitigation by working collaboratively to develop and fund projects best suited for investment in each watershed region.”
Three Farmerville projects are in line for funding. Final approval will be needed to complete the projects.
Farmerville Projects in the funding process: Design Support Program projects, applicant entities, watershed regions and budgets: James Addition Drainage, Town of Farmerville, Region 3, $1.5 million Highway 33 Ditch Hardening, Town of Farmerville, Region 3, $2.3 million Gulley Street Drainage, Town of Farmerville, Region 3, $1.26 million Through the Design Support Program, the state will provide needed technical assistance to projects submitted during the Round 1 funding opportunity that did not receive awards. In this way, the state will be able to fund those projects in 2023.
According to the Louisiana Watershed Initiative Website, this program provides funding and support to local and regional agencies to implement flood risk reduction projects and programs with demonstrable outcomes that improve community flood resilience. Funding is implemented in three distinct rounds, designed to encourage regional collaboration and prioritization of projects, allowing consideration of a broad array of impactful mitigation activities.
The state recognizes that the perpetual cycle of disaster and recovery is not a socially, environmentally or fiscally sustainable model.
As outlined in the Action Plan, the state aims to use this one-time CDBG-MIT grant to fundamentally change Louisiana’s approach to statewide flood mitigation activities. This includes shifting development patterns, enhancing the public’s knowledge of flood risk and encouraging activities that use the natural and beneficial functions of the watershed and associated floodplains. In addition, LWI will open a Round 2 funding opportunity for local and regional projects in January 2023. Eligible projects for the $100 million Round 2 funding opportunity must benefit low- to moderate-income populations and HUD-identified most impacted and distressed areas.
Funding for the Design Support Program and Round 2 is part of the state’s Action Plan to spend $1.2 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds.