St. John The Baptist Parish News Release

Signed Chief's Report Received for West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Levee Project

Signed Chief's Report Received for West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Levee Project

Thursday, June 18, 2015

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH – Parish President Natalie Robottom received notice from Jeff Varisco,  Project Manager with the United States Army Corps of Engineers-New Orleans District, that the Chief’s Report for the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Levee Project has been signed and returned from Headquarters in Washington DC. The Chief’s Report is a recommendation to Congress for authorization and construction funding for the project based upon the conclusion that the “Washington level review indicates that the project recommended by the reporting officers is technically sound, environmentally and socially acceptable, and economically justified.”  

“This levee protection project has been in the study phase for close to 44 years and a signed Chief's report is a critical step to having the project authorized, funded and constructed,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom.  “With increases in the frequency and intensity of severe weather events in Southeast Louisiana, construction of this project would assure residents, business owners and industry partners that their families, homes and investments are protected,” she added.   

The recommended plan includes construction of a levee system around the communities of Montz, LaPlace, Reserve, and Garyville based on the 1% probability storm level of risk reduction.  The system would consist of approximately 18 miles of earthen levees and floodwalls, 4 floodgates, a drainage canal running parallel to the levee, a flood-side ditch to maintain hydraulic connectivity between wetlands north and south of the system, 2 drainage structures and 4 pump stations along the alignment.  The estimated cost of the project based on October 2014 price levels is $718,090,000.  The federal share of the project is 65% and the non-federal share is 35%.  The estimated annual cost for operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, and rehabilitation is estimated to be $5,070,000 annually which will be the responsibility of non-federal partners. 

The New Orleans USACE, the Pontchartrain Levee District and Parish, State and Federal Officials will continue working to obtain the necessary funding for design and construction of this project.  The USACE will move forward with pre-construction, engineering, and design while USACE awaits both Congressional authorization and appropriation for construction.

In the near future, residents, business owners and parish leaders will be called upon for their support in securing the necessary funding to see this project to fruition.  “This levee is critical to the safety of our community and the interstate system which supports commerce and serves as the evacuation route for Southeast Louisiana.  Over the past two and a half years, we have worked long and hard to get to this point, but our work will not be complete until the protection our community deserves is in place,” said Robottom.