BATON ROUGE, LA — July 31, 2018 — Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced today that Phase I of the Stormwater Master Plan is complete.
Phase I resulted in three primary deliverables:
• A preliminary regional hydrology and hydraulic model of the entire parish
• Development of several Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) capital improvement project applications
• An implementation framework document outlining all components of the master plan and a timeline for completion
The Capital Region experienced widespread flooding in August 2016. The historic flood revealed current challenges regarding existing stormwater conveyance systems, as well as their impact on overall stormwater management in East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes. Upon taking office, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome directed staff to develop a comprehensive stormwater master plan, the first in more than 50 years for the parish. In November 2017, a consultant team was hired to develop, in partnership with City-Parish staff, the master plan.
“The overall purpose is to develop a comprehensive plan — in partnership with and input from all stakeholders — for stormwater system improvements that will address both local and regional issues,” said Mayor Broome.
Through an initial visioning workshop conducted with City-Parish staff, four overarching goals were established to guide the master plan’s development:
• Plan for a stormwater system that accounts for a warming climate
• Identify hazards, develop a comprehensive technical plan that reduces flood risk in the watershed, and prevents downstream impacts
• Develop and build a stormwater plan that has minimal local and regulatory impact
• Develop and maintain stormwater infrastructure
One of the primary initiatives in the first phase of the master plan was to create a high-level regional hydrology and hydraulic model to develop a list of several capital improvement projects that will mitigate future flooding in East Baton Rouge Parish. In addition to the modeling, preliminary risk and engineering assessments were performed for each potential project to ensure consistency with the overall framework of the master plan.
As a result of the August 2016 flood, the City-Parish has been allocated $80 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding. Applications for funding these projects were developed and are being reviewed by the state and federal governments. Approval is expected by the end of the year, and planning, design, and construction will then follow. The stormwater master plan itself is an eligible project for HMGP funding and is one of the higher priority projects for the City-Parish.
“There is no better hazard mitigation project than the creation of a comprehensive plan of projects and policy measures to protect our citizens and valuable assets from future flooding disasters,” Mayor Broome said.
The Phase I work will serve as a foundation for the detailed analysis to be performed in the next phase of the master plan.
The second phase, slated to begin in September and span 27 months, will include significant data collection and survey of the City-Parish’s expansive stormwater system including open-drainage features including rivers, bayous, and streams, as well as all closed-drainage systems including pipes, drains, and structures. It will also include developing a comprehensive public engagement plan; assessing and recommending updates to development guidance and stormwater ordinances; developing regional and watershed-based hydrology and hydraulic models to evaluate flood hazards and mitigation measures; developing and prioritizing planning level projects to address flooding problems; and an action plan to communicate the path forward toward implementation and funding of projects.
The Stormwater Master Plan and the technical hydrology and hydraulic models will take into consideration the recently-announced, fully-funded $343 million Comite River Diversion project and the $255 million East Baton Rouge Flood Control project.
The master planning process will conclude with the preparation of the formal Stormwater Master Plan Report that will include technical and policy recommendations, a 20-year capital improvement program, as well as funding and implementation strategies.
To review the Stormwater Master Plan Implementation Framework, click here.