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Louisiana: Addressing Sea-Level Rise

August 19, 2015

This case study, developed by the Georgetown Climate Center, examines state and local activities in Louisiana to reduce coastal vulnerability from sea level rise, extreme storms, and land subsidence.  It focuses on how the state is prioritizing and designing coastal flood protection and restoration projects in consideration of future sea-level rise through the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan.  

Authors or Affiliated Users: Jessica Grannis, Vicki Arroyo, Myriam Alexander-Kearns

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Resilient Jean Lafitte, Louisiana Flood Preparedness Toolkit

2016

The Jean Lafitte Flood Preparedness Toolkit developed by the Town of Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, provides information, guidelines and recommended regulations to reduce flood risk in the region. Jean Lafitte faces many climate related impacts including sea level rise, storm surge, hurricanes, with subsequent extreme flooding, erosion and permanent wetland loss - that in turn leads to more flooding. The toolkit provides best practices and guidelines to reduce flood risk on a Site and Building Scale as well as on Community Scale development.

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A Sense of Place at Risk - Perspectives of residents of coastal Louisiana on nonstructural risk reduction strategies

April 14, 2016

Supported by Oxfam America, this study documented the views of residents from three vulnerable Louisiana coastal parishes - Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Plaquemines.   These parishes face extreme coastal land loss from flooding and sea level rise, and other critical climate and social impacts. The study focuses on nonstructural coastal flooding mitigation measures, such as restoring coastal marshlands. A series of interviews were conducted to investigate how residents understand and respond to the challenges of sea level rise and climate change.

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Climate Change, Resilience and Fairness - How Nonstructural Adaptation Can Protect and Empower Socially Vulnerable Communities on the Gulf Coast

April 2016

Utilizing case studies from extreme flooding events, this paper synthesizes lessons learned, hazard mitigation strategies, and best practices in adaptation. The focus is on nonstructural adaptation strategies such as disaster planning and mitigation, and property buyouts. The best practices for implementing nonstructural adaptation strategies are also discussed with respect to impacts on, and solutions for, vulnerable communities.  The paper is grounded in three case studies of flooding events that each caused widespread damage, occurred across a range of demographic and socio-economic conditions, and involved both structural and nonstructural post-disaster adaptation strategies.

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

July 2015

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.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Camille Manning-Broome, Pamela Jenkins, Jeannette Dubinin

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Gulf of Mexico Climate Change Adaptation Inventory

June 24, 2011

The Climate Change Adaptation Inventory is a compilation of climate adaptation activities and research initiatives taking place at the federal, state, and local levels in communities adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico. The inventory focuses specifically on those projects and efforts that address climate change or sea level rise. Research activities captured by the inventory are limited to those projects that have applications to coastal communities, particularly planning and development, land management, and socioeconomic initiatives.

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New Orleans, Louisiana Project Home Again Land Swaps

2013

The New Orleans Project Home Again (PHA) in Louisiana involved a land swap and redevelopment program implemented post-Hurricane Katrina that can serve as an example for how public-private partnerships can help people retreat away from flood-prone coastal areas. Through this project, PHA aimed to concentrate redevelopment at higher elevations away from low-elevation floodplains and expand relocation options for impacted homeowners. The hurricane-damaged homes on participants’ original properties were demolished and converted to climate resilient open space for flood retention, environmental, and community benefits. Specifically, PHA used a land swap program that enabled low- and middle-income homeowners to relocate to less vulnerable areas with new affordable, clustered housing. The PHA program demonstrates how land swaps can offer a tool for planners and policymakers to effectively guide redevelopment in disaster recovery settings and expand affordable and resilient housing opportunities. A similar land swap model could also be considered in a pre-disaster context and phased over time, if community consensus, vacant or developable land, and funding for housing construction exists. 

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Louisiana Land Trust Resettlement Projects

In Louisiana, a state-created land trust is supporting floodplain buyouts and helping families relocate out of vulnerable flood-prone areas. The Louisiana Land Trust (LLT) was created in 2005 to support buyouts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After more recent flood events, LLT expanded its role to help communities relocate to safer, higher ground areas. The land trust is helping to facilitate the resettlement of residents of the Pecan Acres subdivision in Pointe Coupee Parish and the Isle de Jean Charles community in Terrebonne Parish. The Pecan Acres subdivision is located in a lower-income neighborhood north of the City of New Roads, and has experienced repeated flooding 17 times over the past 20 years. LLT is working to help resettle approximately 40 households within the subdivision by acquiring their flood-prone properties, and supporting a development on higher ground where they can relocate. Isle de Jean Charles is a narrow island in South Terrebonne parish and is the home of the Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees and United Houma Nation tribes. The island has lost 98% of its land mass since 1955 and many residents have left as a result of increasing flooding, where encroaching seas often flood the only roadway connecting the island to the mainland. With funding from the National Disaster Resilience Competition, the state is working to support implementation of a tribal resettlement plan. LLT acquired the resettlement site, about 40 miles north of the island that will be redeveloped. Eligible and participating families and individuals will be offered properties on the site with a five-year forgivable mortgage. Both the Pecan Acres and Isle de Jean Charles resettlement developments will incorporate resilient and green design features (including elevation about FEMA minimum standards, LEED certified construction, green infrastructure, and community amenities like parks) and will enable the residents to relocate together, maintaining social bonds and cohesion. This example demonstrates how land trusts can support efforts to relocate whole communities, and support development of sustainable and resilient receiving communities.

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — State of Louisiana: Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE)

July 15, 2020

Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) is a community-based planning and capital investment process that will help the state fund and implement several projects, including for managed retreat, to make its coasts more resilient. In 2016, Louisiana’s Office for Community Development–Disaster Recovery Unit received a nearly $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the National Disaster Resilience Competition and additional state and nongovernmental funds to implement LA SAFE. The grant will support the design and implementation of resilience projects to address impacts in six coastal parishes that were affected by Hurricane Isaac in 2012. The state partnered with the nonprofit Foundation for Louisiana to administer LA SAFE and facilitate an extensive, year-long community engagement process that will result in implementation of ten funded projects across the six parishes. By contemplating a regional, rather than a parish-specific, approach to addressing coastal risk, LA SAFE provides a model that other states and local governments may consider when making long-term adaptation and resilience investments, including for managed retreat. This case study is one of 17 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies.

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Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE)

2018

The Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) planning process is aimed at climate adaptation and resilience planning for coastal communities in Louisiana. The strategy supports mitigating risks and increasing resilience to coastal impacts - especially flooding. The LA SAFE initiative was first funded through a HUD long-term disaster recovery grant, for six parishes most impacted by Hurricane Isaac in 2012.  Guided by the state of Louisiana, and a network of regional non-profits focused on coastal restoration and resilience, it is a goal of the LA SAFE program to expand the program statewide in the future.

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