Louisiana Coastal Hazard Mitigation Guidebook

This guidebook is a compilation of tools, techniques and policies that are available or could be developed by local governments to mitigate natural hazards. The strategies offered can be used to reduce the risks from coastal natural hazards such as storm surge, other flooding, subsidence and sea level rise, and are meant to serve as an extra layer of protection or another line of defense. Deemed a “self-help” guidebook, the strategies and techniques offer a flexible approach to be implemented by local governments and individuals without dependence on state or federal governments. 

This guidebook discusses land use planning and construction techniques that can be used at every stage of the development process. It also describes existing regulatory programs, both federal and state, that can compliment and assist local governments in planning for natural hazards.

Chapter 1 describes the natural hazards of the Louisiana coastal zone. According to the report, 15 types of natural hazards affect all or parts of the U.S., and 8 of these hazards have a significant impact on the Louisiana coastal zone - including flooding, subsidence, sea level rise, coastal erosion, tornadoes, windstorms, hurricanes and storm surge.

Chapter 2 discusses the state’s existing regulatory programs including the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, and the National Flood Insurance Program.

An implementation strategy is described through a model ‘Methodology for Parishes and Communities.’ This is a flexible approach that takes into consideration factors such as protecting life and property from coastal hazards, preserving the environment, promoting business, and respecting private property rights.

Chapter 5, ‘Land Use and Development Planning’ explains comprehensive planning such as assessment of natural hazards and stakeholder participation; zoning by creation of appropriate low or no-density use zones, coordination with comprehensive plans;  subdivision regulations; and subdivision design to minimize the risk of natural hazards.

Specific construction processes are identified in Chapter 6, which includes a review of hurricane threats and forces at work, design loads, landscaping, and infrastructure resiliency among others. 

The guidebook is funded in part by grants/cooperative agreements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program.



Publication Date: May 2008

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • James G. Wilkins
  • Rodney E. Emmer
  • Dennis Hwang
  • George Paul Kemp
  • Barrett Kennedy
  • Hassan Mashriqui
  • Bruce Sharky

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:


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