BATON ROUGE, LA – July 13, 2021 – Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome provided an update today on the East Baton Rouge Parish Stormwater Master Plan and announced a FEMA Hazard Mitigation project at Ward Creek and Siegen Lane. In 2017, Mayor Broome’s administration launched an initiative to create a comprehensive Stormwater Master Plan that would mitigate the flood risks for the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish. The planning process began with collecting data to analyze the city-parish drainage system. To date, over 60,000 drainage structures have been identified and evaluated, and 300-plus miles of channels have been surveyed. This data is being utilized to develop computerized models to determine how and where water flows during various rain events. Additionally, the city-parish is using a GIS database of the identified drainage structures and their conditions to address and track maintenance issues in real time .
Another component to address maintenance are funds from the American Rescue Plan. Currently, $20M is being used to address several drainage issues, many identified by 311 calls and the Stormwater Master Plan. The drainage improvements include storm drain cleanout, channel clearing and grubbing, roadside drainage cave-ins, roadside ditch cleaning, and lined-canal panel repairs. Since the Metro Council first approved the initiative on June 23, more than 360 storm drains have been cleaned, with 264 tons of debris and sediment removed so far.
“Major drainage projects can never come fast enough, and that’s why I continue to fight for even more flood relief in East Baton Rouge Parish,” said Mayor Broome. “Whether it's our $20 million Drainage Initiative happening right now or the larger capital projects that we continue to push forward — help is on the way!”
There are several capital projects underway that will seek to mitigate flood risk in East Baton Rouge Parish. These projects include:
- Six FEMA-approved Hazard Grant Mitigation Program projects
- Two Louisiana Watershed Initiative projects
- Five tributaries projects (East Baton Rouge Flood Risk Reduction Project)
Ward Creek Widening Project
One of the approved FEMA Hazard Grant Mitigation Program Projects is the widening of Ward Creek at Siegen Lane. The $1.8 million project is fully funded through the federal program. It will consist of widening Ward Creek upstream and downstream of Siegen Lane. This will lead to a significant reduction in upstream floodwater elevations on Ward Creek, Dawson Creek and Bayou Duplantier. The bottom of the existing channel will be widened to approximately 100 feet and sloped to match the upstream and downstream segments. The project length will be approximately 400 feet and include adjustments to existing drainage outlets and the addition of riprap bank protection.
The removal of the constriction will significantly reduce the floodwater elevations upstream by as much as 2 feet for a 100-year rain event. It is expected to provide significant benefits, as the proposed construction cost is low compared with the structural damage that the work is expected to prevent.
In 2019, East Baton Rouge Parish applied for the project, which was approved by FEMA in 2021. It next heads to the Metro Council to sign off on the design and engineering phase, followed by another round of federal approvals. The work to widen Ward Creek at Siegen Lane could begin late 2022, taking about 6-8 months to complete.
The public is encouraged to sign up on the project website to receive updates by registering at www.stormwater.brla.gov.