Louisiana Watershed Initiative Seeks Public Input In Draft Action Plan

Louisiana has been awarded $1.2 billion dollars to reduce future flooding around the state.

Before specific projects are mapped out, the Louisiana Watershed Initiative was in Lafayette to get public input.

“I think it’s long overdue.” said Dave Dixon of Lafayette.

Dixon points out that Acadiana has been able to dodge major floods after 2016 but that can’t continue forever.

“We gotta fix the problems. We haven’t dug any regional flood prevention project what we’ve done is exasperate the problem by digging out the coulees and the ditches here in lafayette parish, vermilion parish, other places, just getting the water to the river quicker with a river that’s plugged up that can’t drain.” said Dixon.

Pat Forbes who is working with Louisiana Watershed Initiative says he understands many suffered from flooding, but to solve this will go beyond the actions of one local government.

“Regions will organize around the watershed that they live in to make joint decisions about how to reduce flood risks instead of each parish or city or drainage making decision on what benefits them.” said Forbes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development.

Dixon has already teamed up with experts and other citizens to create a flood prevention plan that includes dredging the Vermilion, Jaws Outlet and West Cote Blanche Bay and projects that will drain Cypress Island Swamp into the Bayou Teche.

These are plans he hopes to soon present to Forbes.

“I intend to contact him, very soon and ask him for an audience and we can review our research and our recommendations and hopefully he’ll take these recommendations to heart.” said Dixon.

The federal government is requiring that at least 50 percent of the money be spent on projects in Lafayette, Vermilion, Acadia, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension, Tangipahoa, Ouachita, Washington and St. Tammany parishes.

On September 26th, the draft action plan will be available online for 45 days.

The public will also have the opportunity to comment on the plan.

To learn more, click here.