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Advancing Community Adaptation - A Framework for Project Prioritization and Decision Making in coastal Louisiana

2018

Louisiana faces severe climate change impacts of sea level rise and extreme weather events, and related flooding, subsidence, and coastal erosion. The Center for Planning Excellence and Dr. Denise Reed collaborated to develop this adaptation framework for coastal Louisiana, with a particular focus on non-structural elements and the communities impacted in the region.  This framework is a tool for a more holistic approach to planning coastal community resilience, and provides near- and long-term strategies for flood risk mitigation and implementing adaptation measures.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Denise Reed, Jeannette Dubinin, Camille Manning-Broome

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Jefferson Parish, Louisiana: Jefferson Parish Watershed Management Plan and Balancing Water Campaign

May 20, 2022

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana lies on a coastal floodplain of the Gulf of Mexico and has more water than land area. The parish is innovating to adapt to rising sea levels and more extreme flooding in the region, and created the Balancing Water Campaign to mitigate flood risk and improve its communities’ resilience. The approach to balancing water levels focuses on rethinking how to manage the impacts of stormwater and land subsidence to live with more water, while increasing natural drainage across the floodplain. The Jefferson Parish Watershed Management Plan was developed as a part of the Balancing Water initiative, to guide local decisionmakers with resilient floodplain management strategies for capital improvements, regulatory revisions, and land use, while emphasizing the use of green infrastructure and low-impact development. In addition, the parish is undertaking other complementary efforts like elevating flood-prone homes with the support of federal grants, and participating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS) program and a Jefferson Parish CRS Users Group to further local flood resilience initiatives.

 

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Ascension Parish, Louisiana and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana: Conservation Planning and Zoning

May 20, 2022

Ascension and St. Tammany Parishes are two parishes or counties in Louisiana that are using planning and zoning to promote floodplain management and conserve green spaces. Each parish is contemplating how to preserve suburban and rural character through planning processes. In addition, each parish has crafted code language that allows it to conserve rural spaces by discouraging sprawl and floodplain development and by downzoning or decreasing developable density outside commercial centers.     Ascension Parish  Master Land Use Plan In 2019, Ascension released an updated version of its Master Land Use Plan, which was approved by the parish’s Planning Commission.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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100 Resilient Cities - Resilience in Action

October 17, 2016

Resilience in Action, subtitled Early Insights into How Cities are Institutionalizing Resilience, profiles three cities – New Orleans, USA; Melbourne, Australia; and Semarang, Indonesia – for their efforts to institutionalize and mainstream resilience. Each city is a member of 100 Resilience Cities (100RC), a non-profit and global urban resilience initiative developed by the Rockefeller Foundation. The report highlights replicable best practices and lessons learned, as examples for others to utilize in developing urban resilience practices.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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. 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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