USDA buys flood-prone Louisiana homes for wetlands project
GONZALES, La. (AP) - The federal government has bought out an entire flood-prone neighborhood in Louisiana, prompting all its residents to move to higher ground.
News outlets report the agency U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program financed the buyouts on along Silverleaf Street in Gonzales, which was carved out of a wetland in the 1980s and has frequently flooded ever since.
Chief city engineer Jackie Baumann says the federal agency is buying the homes at pre-flood market value, and Restore Louisiana is offering to make up shortfalls in the purchasing price for some residents, as long as their next home isn’t in a flood zone.
The 2017 offer required all 41 residents to agree to the deal, and the last resident agreed last month, enabling the government to restore the wetland.