View from the Coast: Local Perspectives and Policy Recommendations on Flood-Risk Reduction in South Louisiana

From the Center for Planning for Excellence (CPEX), “The View from the Coast” examines local perspectives and projects from across coastal Louisiana related to nonstructural flood risk reduction. The report discusses federal, state and local level decision making and policy implementation, while documenting community-level risk-reduction perspectives towards nonstructural efforts to build resiliency against coastal impacts such as recurrent flooding, sea level rise and storm surge.

The document presents actionable recommendations to Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and other state and federal agencies related to policy, programs, and legislation. The recommendations are intended to enable existing state and federal programs to be more responsive to community needs, and better serve local decision makers in their efforts to mitigate flood damage and increase safety for those living along Louisiana’s working coast.

The research for the report found that local communities in coastal Louisiana perceive a growing disconnect between themselves and the State in regard to their various efforts to reduce risk. It also revealed locals’ frustration at trying to make state and federal programs work well for them, and their perceived inability to coordinate nonstructural efforts, both locally and regionally.

A sample of the findings further elaborated in the report:

  • Elected officials do not necessarily distinguish between structural and nonstructural coastal risk reduction measures.
  • Elevation is the most frequently used and desired of all nonstructural strategies, but it has significant challenges related to cost and grant-program design.
  • Many parishes and municipalities lack capacity to participate in NFIP’s Community Rating System.

The report’s recommendations were developed by the Coastal Resilience Advocacy Group and are intended to enhance risk reduction in south Louisiana. This group was informed by the findings discussed in this report, and thus by the interests and opinions that were expressed by local south Louisiana leaders with whom CPEX interviewed.

Examples of the final recommendations developed include:

  • Support efforts to streamline and integrate local applications for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance grants
  • Fulfill 2012 Coastal Master Plan recommendations by establishing a dedicated funding stream for physical and programmatic nonstructural risk- reduction initiatives
  • Meaningfully and specifically engage nonstructural risk reduction in Coastal Louisiana in the 2017 Coastal Master Plan update

In 2012, CPEX launched the research initiative across south Louisiana to capture local perspectives risk-reduction efforts and the challenges to implementing them. A key goal was to answer the state’s Coastal Master Plan’s recommendation to “identify the needs of Louisiana residents and encourage the development of those projects, programs, and tools that meet these identified needs and gaps,” including financial support where appropriate to “support parish level implementation.” The perspectives, resources, and information gained from the Center’s research intend to inform the CRPA Flood Risk & Resilience Program. This research was the basis for “The View from the Coast.” It is noted that many of this report’s recommendations deliberately echo and reinforce those developed in the Nonstructural Implementation Strategy of the CPRA Coastal Master Plan.

The Center for Planning Excellence CPEX is a non-profit organization that coordinates urban, rural and regional planning and implementation efforts in Louisiana. This report is part of a series providing model tools and policies towards reducing flood risk in coastal Louisiana.


Publication Date: July 2015

Authors or Affiliated Users:

Related Organizations:

  • Center for Planning Excellence


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Legal Analysis
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:


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User Comments:

  • March 20, 2017
    Vanessa Spinazola, Interim Executive Director at Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy

    While this is now outdated due to the release of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, it provides an excellent background and overview of the 2012 plan and the need for investment in nonstructural resources. The policy recommendations are still timely and manageable. Recommended for advocates and elected trying to wrap their head around the issue - particularly due to the polling results highlighted throughout the report.