Louisiana Flood Projections Require Urgent Action, Officials Say

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The new master plan, to be released in 2017, is more pessimistic than the 2012 version when it comes to stabilizing land loss

November 08, 2016

Flooding in Baton Rouge, La., in August. Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana officials are revising the master plan for combating flooding and storm surge damage and have abandoned the projection of no net loss of land by 2035. The new master plan, to be released in 2017, is more pessimistic than the 2012 version. State officials had thought they could stabilize land loss in the next 20 years, and then be able to add land to the coast. They now say it would take much longer to break even, and that goal may be unrealistic.

New research shows that the rates of land loss and sea level rise will be far greater during the last 20 years of the 50-year plan than during the first two decades. Thus, the 2017 master plan, and any work done in the next 20 years is extremely urgent.

Officials will soon announce a list of as many as 200 projects that they will include in the 2017 plan. The plan will include initiatives to build wetlands and land, build and raise levee systems across the state, and raise or relocate homes and businesses still threatened by surges and sea level rise.

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