Don’t tread on me… yet: Project in the works to create 650 acres near Lake Hermitage and help with flood insurance ratesSep 23rd, 2013 | By Candace Griffin | Category: top story
As you read this, tens of acres of land are being built by dredges in the marshes of the Barataria Basin just south of Lake Hermitage. This area of marshland lost nearly 38 percent of its marsh from 1932 to 1990 and was slowly deteriorating away until now.
The Lake Hermitage Marsh Creation Project (BA-42) is a nearly $40 million dollar project aims to create approximately 650 acres of new land by hydraulically pumping sediment from the Mississippi.
This project provides a prime example of how dredging can be used to build land and aid coastal restoration. Sediment from the bottom of the Mississippi River is being picked up through pipes, and deposited in the marsh to form what will soon be a solid land area.
This newly created land, along with many of the other coastal restoration projects that the Parish has undertaken, such as building berms and barrier islands, will play a vital role in protecting Plaquemines from future storms by slowing down the tidal surges.
“This project will lower storm surges by up to five feet,” said Parish President Billy Nungesser. “We’re not only implementing these projects to protect our coast, but to protect our people as well.”
Plaquemines Parish is currently in the midst of rising flood insurance rates, but thanks to FEMA’s experimental LAMP program the Parish may not have to suffer. The Levee Analysis and MappingProcedure (LAMP), a new approach proposed by FEMA to help assess the flood risk in areas protected by levees, is a way to deal with the potential contributions of levees that do not meet FEMA’s standards for protection against the one percent annual flood chance. It takes into consideration not only the current unaccredited levee system, but the berms and barrier islands as well. This means that certain areas will be deemed as a lower flood risk zone than if the current risk maps were implemented.
“FEMA will be giving us credit for these projects as they are completed,” said Nungesser. “This means that more of our storm protection systems will become accredited, which will lower insurance rates.”
This is certainly good news for a place that has had its fair share of devastation. These marsh creation projects coupled with the fight to lower flood insurance are aiming to boost the economy and the quality of life for the people of Plaquemines, voiced Nungesser.
“These restoration efforts are our economic plan; our tourism plan, our survival plan,” said Nungesser. “Restoring the coast is vital to Plaquemines Parish.”