Flood Protection Authority-East approves levee lift project for this year
The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E) has decided to work in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in order to lift several sections of the levee before the Corps of Engineers armors those parts this year. SLFPA-E officials came to a 5-0 vote to approve these levee lift projects, during their public meeting on Sept. 15.
According to a report by the flood protection authority on the resolution of their meeting, the Corps of Engineers will perform $250 million worth of armoring work on many levees in the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. Through consultation across a board consisting of SLFPA-E administrators and others, it was recommended that six of the levee sections be lifted before they are armored.
Robert Turner, Flood Authority-East Regional Director, said if nothing is done in the near future time of 1-3 years, then levees for the city of New Orleans won’t be up to the authorized level of flood risk reduction.
“The levee lift projects are not part of our ‘regular’ operations and maintenance responsibilities,” Turner said in an email. “But as you know, sea level is on the rise and our levees and the lands on which they are built are subsiding with time.”
Turner explained that matters are complicated since the Corps have already begun armoring levees in the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, but that armor material has to be lifted off as levees are lifted.
“If the levee segments undergoing more rapid subsidence are armored before being lifted, the armor will have to be removed and replaced with new armor when the levees are finally raised in the near future. Thus the tens of millions spent on the original armoring effort will be lost.”
According to Turner, armor added to lifted levees will at least have a ten year life span, and these levee projects are fully funded by local funds. The SLFPAE report said the Orleans Levee District is financially responsible for Corps lift projects on levees LPV 109.02a and LPV 111.01.
Following this levee lift and armor project being coordinated this year, the flood protection authority is planning for future work in the levee defense system. They could potentially procure work for future levee defense system development through the levee lift projects.
“We are working with the Corps and our Congressional Delegation to find ways to secure federal matching funds for future levee work and to get “work-in-kind” credits for the levee lift work scheduled for this year,” Turner said.