Last week, the Council on Watershed Management met to discuss several items related to the State of Louisiana's ongoing efforts to reduce flood risk and build more resilient communities through the Louisiana Watershed Initiative. The meeting was open to the public and held at the Louisiana State Capital in House Committee Room 6.
The Council – composed of the secretaries and executive directors of the various state agencies tasked with the implementation of the state's watershed-based floodplain management program – received key updates from the technical advisory groups (TAGs) and subject matter experts working to inform the ongoing efforts of the Initiative, including the following:
- Engagement TAG representatives shared details on the Best Practices Summit planned for Feb. 19 in Lafayette. The summit will feature experts from other states sharing their lessons learned in successful watershed management activities. Attendance is free and open to the public. To register, click here.
- Engagement TAG representatives also provided an update on plans to hold regional meetings in Spring 2019 to discuss the Initiative's immediate next steps related to modeling and procurement, project funding, cooperative efforts and ongoing local and regional engagement. These meetings will include parish leadership (parish presidents and mayors), their staff and other individual stakeholder groups interested in the ongoing work of the Initiative. These and other engagement efforts are supported by the Initiative's 2019 Outreach and Engagement Plan, available for public review and comment by clicking here.
- Policy TAG representatives received approval from the Council to initiate a pilot investigation into the programs, practices and policies of the Office of Community Development to ensure alignment with the Initiative.
- Dr. Ehab Meselhe with Tulane University and Dr. Emad Habib with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette provided an overview of the draft framework under development for data and modeling approaches through the Initiative.
- The Council approved recommendations from the Data TAG that authorized the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to perform the procurement and contract management of statewide models. Additionally, the Council authorized an approach to involve regional stakeholders and other participating state agencies in making a selection recommendation for modeling procurement, in accordance with DOTD's procurement process; develop a sequence for such procurement in accordance with data availability and oriented around watershed boundaries, while supporting efforts to build out regional hydrologic networks pending data and modeling contracts; and pre-advertise upcoming data and modeling opportunities, in accordance with DOTD's procurement process.
- Projects TAG representatives presented recommendations to the Council regarding the allocation of $100 million in competitive funding for flood risk-reduction projects as part of the Initiative's "Round 1" funding opportunity. The proposed evaluation criteria for considering eligible projects, as well as the draft application overview, are available for public comment by clicking here.
- Initiative representatives provided an update on the development of a key findings summary report for the 2018 Statewide Listening Tour and a supporting webinar held on Jan. 25, with the full report available for review and public comment by clicking here.
In addition to being open to the public, the meeting was streamed live on Facebook and through the Louisiana Legislature website. To access this archived video, click here.
If you have any questions about items discussed during this Council meeting or other matters related to the Louisiana Watershed Initiative, please email email@example.com.