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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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Resilient Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Resilient Baton Rouge is a program designed to increase local community capacity in the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana to manage mental and behavioral health in flood-prone parts of the region. By engaging local leaders and healthcare providers, the program has been able to focus on not only delivering mental health services to residents displaced by floodwaters, but also to engage community members in a longer-term process to strengthen both the local communities themselves but also the plans to increase resilience in the region. By deeply engaging affected residents and stakeholders, the plans for resilience broadly are more responsive and targeted to those most affected by the floods. The program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with fiscal sponsorship from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Financing resilient communities and coastlines: How environmental impact bonds can accelerate wetland restoration in Louisiana and beyond

August 20, 2018

The Environmental Defense Fund and Quantified Ventures have assessed how an environmental impact bond (EIB) could effectively be used for coastal resilience financing for wetland restoration in Louisiana and other coastal areas. The report outlines the steps Louisiana would take to pilot and implement the EIB to restore the coast and wetlands, while greatly reducing land loss to sea level rise, and incentivizing investment. The framework could also support financing other natural infrastructure projects that build coastal resiliency, and serves as a template for coastal investments anywhere.

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Preserving Our Place — A Community Field Guide to Engagement, Resilience, and Resettlement: Community Regeneration in the Face of Environmental and Developmental Pressures

2019

In 2019, the Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe (IDJC) collaborated with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to release a field guide, Preserving Our Place  A Community Field Guide to Engagement, Resilience, and Resettlement: Community Regeneration in the Face of Environmental and Developmental Pressures. IDJC is in the process of relocating from the Louisiana coast to a new community further inland due to significant land loss and flooding impacts. The field guide was developed to serve dual purposes: first, to document the community engagement process that IDJC has developed throughout its resettlement planning process; and second, to provide procedural guidance and lessons learned for communities that are also contemplating large-scale relocation. The field guide can be used by other tribal or frontline coastal communities that are considering potential larger-scale managed retreat or relocation strategies to adapt to climate change impacts like sea-level rise and other stressors and pressures, like environmental justice and encroaching development. 

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Lafourche Parish, Louisiana Comprehensive Resiliency Plan

April 8, 2014

Lafourche Parish in coastal Louisiana created a comprehensive resiliency plan to guide economic development, transportation and land use investments in the parish for the next 20 years, as well as to strengthen local resiliency to natural disasters. In an effort to make wiser and more coordinated development decisions, Lafourche Parish, with the assistance of the Center for Planning Excellence and Office of Community Development, has collaborated with citizens and local businesses to produce this planning document that will provide a blueprint and recommendations for growth and development in Lafourche.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Vision 3030: Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana Comprehensive Plan

February 2013

The Louisiana Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD-DRU) awarded funding to 30 communities in Louisiana affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, to develop plans that address resiliency issues and local needs. These plans are the pilot projects around which much of the Louisiana Resiliency Assistance Program is based. 

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan

November 2013

The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan focuses on the improved management of storm water, surface waters and groundwater in New Orleans, Louisiana, in response to flooding, land subsidence and “wasted water assets. ” The primary area of focus is 155 miles of urban areas and 69 square miles of protected wetlands in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes. The plan discusses how climate change threatens to raise the frequency of extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. Considered along with land subsidence, residents and economic assets are at great risk - and pumping stormwater and keeping floodwaters out are both projected to become more difficult over time.

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Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan

May 22, 2012

Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan, also titled 'Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast,' is a landmark 50-year, $50 billion blueprint for a sustainable coast. This plan, prepared by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), was passed unanimously by the Louisiana legislature in May 2012. While building off previous plans, the 2012 Coastal Master Plan is the most comprehensive to date, offering solutions to Louisiana’s coastal environmental and engineering challenges.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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