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City-parish working to reduce flooding along Ward Creek

1 month 2 weeks 17 hours ago Thursday, October 21 2021 Oct 21, 2021 October 21, 2021 8:52 PM October 21, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - With increasing amounts of rainfall and nowhere for the water to drain due to the building of more homes, places once safe from flooding are seeing high water. 

“If you get more rainfall for the same event, then your design of your system wasn’t made to handle that, so we’re looking at changes in design criteria as well," said Melissa Kennedy, project manager. 

Ward Creek is one area the EBR Stormwater Master Plan is aiming to improve. Analysts started by gathering data in January 2020. 

“A massive data collection effort happened at the very beginning of the planning process," said Devin Foil in the meeting Thursday. "The data that was collected during this process were surveys of over 300 miles of streams and ditches parish-wide, over 800 bridges and culverts were inspected parish-wide, and over 67,000 of those subsurface structures were examined."

Coupled with about 300 submissions of photos from the public, the data was used to help experts understand what can be done to reduce the effects of flooding along Ward Creek. 

“Some of the solutions we’re looking at is changes in bridges and culverts, usually increasing the size. Detention areas, pump station, potential pump station improvements. Channelization of projects, widening, and straightening a few areas," said Kennedy.

Flood plain preservation is a key proponent analysts are looking into. According to the project description, the parish wants to purchase nearly 140 acres of land along Ward Creek to mitigate the risk of flooding by preventing further development. 

“So those areas that are within the flood plain. Theoretically, when you develop in the flood plain, you want to develop higher than the base flood elevation as designated by FEMA. However, through time and increased development, some of the storage within that flood plain has been lost. So we’re seeing other areas that may be receiving flooding that didn’t flood 10 years ago," said Kennedy. 

The next step is figuring out what solutions are the most appropriate. They expect planning to be complete by the summer of 2022. 

For more information on future meetings and a project description, click here. 

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