Levee District moves ahead with plan for Lakeside
The staff of the St. Mary Parish Levee District is looking for a consensus among Lakeside subdivision homeowners and the larger public on the last big piece of the Morgan City levee improvements.
The improvements are designed to bring Morgan City’s levee system to a level offering protection from a 100-year flood event. The improvements promise protection not just from injuries and property damage, but also from future premium increases for homeowners enrolled in the chronically underfunded National Flood Insurance Program.
The project is complicated by the need to offer flood protection for a subdivision that, as the name suggests, is supposed to offer lakeside living.
The Levee District staff has identified a solution for the Siracusa-Lakeside area, a solution that includes a breakwater. At this stage, the estimated cost would be about $20 million, said Director Tim Matte.
Plans are to meet with the 15 most-affected Lakeside property owners to get their feelings about the plan, Matte said. Then the plans are to get public feedback on the project.
Matte said the district wanted to see what the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. agency that administers the flood insurance program and develops flood plain maps, thinks about the plans for Lakeside.
FEMA came back with a request for a memo, which the staff is working on.
If the Levee District can build a consensus around a plan, it will still have to find the money to do the engineering and the physical work needed to make the project a reality.
No definite source of funds has been identified. Matte mentioned the possibility of working with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and seeking funds under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act.
GOMESA, as it’s known, became law in 2006 and offers a share of federal offshore energy revenue to Gulf Coast communities from Texas to Alabama “to be used for coastal conservation, restoration and hurricane protection,” according to the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management website.
The Levee District has been working with St. Mary Consolidated Gravity District No. 2 and parish government staff members on other portions of the levee improvements.
The Lakeside work would add to a list of major projects undertaken by the Levee District recently for flood control.
Along with a list of smaller projects, the Levee District has awarded contracts for the two major phases of the Bayou Chene permanent flood control structure.
That work, designed to prevent the back-flooding that occurs in lower St. Martin and Lake Palourde when the Atchafalaya River is high, is expected to cost $80 million.
Earlier this year, the district used Department of Transportation and Development funding to begin construction on the Bayou Teche flood control structure near Franklin.
At a cost of $12 million, the Bayou Teche work will offer protection in the Franklin, Garden City and Centerville areas from flooding when a storm surge sends water running back up the Charenton Canal.