St. Charles Parish is one step closer to a West Bank levee, as it was recently announced that that Lt. Gen. Spellmon, USACE Commanding General and 55th Chief of Engineers, approved the Chief’s Report for the Upper Barataria Basin Louisiana Feasibility Study.
The approval paves the way for the project to move forward. Earlier this year, Congress signed a $2.5 billion Hurricane Ida relief bill that included $8 million for the preconstruction engineering and design phase on the UBB project, which can now begin.
The project must now go to Congress for final approval and federal funding.
“The Upper Barataria Basin project will provide 100-year flood protection to the West Bank of St. Charles Parish,” St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell. “By addressing vulnerabilities in our current flood protection system and building this levee, we will protect thousands of residences and billions of dollars of infrastructure vital to our parish and the nation.”
The multi-year project would protect 800 square miles from storm surge and span six parishes, including St. Charles Parish. The proposed structural alignment consists of 30 miles of levees spanning from the Davis Diversion to Highway 308 in Lafourche Parish, floodwalls, barge gates and drainage structures.
Levees in St. Charles Parish, currently at 7.5 feet, would also be elevated and provide the same protection other federally recognized levees receive, which could lead to lower flood insurance rates for the area.
“This project has been many years in the making,” Jewell said. “Members of our Council, Levee Project Manager Sam Scholle, CPRA, the Corps of Engineers, and members of our Congressional delegation, including Congressman Garret Graves, have all played a significant role in championing flood protection measures for our region.”
The Upper Barataria Basin Study received authorization in 1998, however funding was not made available to the project until 2018. The $1.55 billion investment is anticipated to take three years to complete once approved by Congress.