Citing the critical danger posed by storm surge and resulting flooding, La. Gov. John Bel Edwards today announced the Interagency Coastal Storm Surge-Based Flood Risk and Resilience Awareness Campaign, a partnership of state agencies to use “Story Maps” to promote awareness of Louisiana’s Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan. The Master Plan is the foundational document underlying the campaign, as it identifies the risk to state infrastructure such as roads and bridges; and to services, facilities and systems for health care and education.
“Building knowledge and understanding of our Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan across state agencies and among our citizens, we can create a more resilient coastal Louisiana,” said Edwards. “Sharing and coordinating the Master Plan’s knowledge among state agencies and citizens is necessary so that we can truly understand and advocate as a state for its implementation. This will provide tremendous benefits by reducing tropical storm surge flood impact, restoring our bountiful natural resources, building land to protect our nation’s critical energy infrastructure, and securing Louisiana’s coast now and for future generations.”
The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), developer and implementer of the state Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan, along with the Louisiana state departments of Education (LDOE), Health (LDH), and Transportation and Development (DOTD) have collaborated on the Interagency Coastal Storm Surge-Based Flood Risk and Resilience Awareness Campaign, using Story Maps to foster greater interagency coordination and public awareness of Louisiana’s future coastal challenges and to reduce risk and improve resilience.
Three interactive visually-focused Story Maps were created in partnership with the Louisiana State University (LSU) Economics & Policy Research Group (EPRG) and LSU Graphic Design Student Office (GDSO). Based on data from the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, they illustrate Louisiana’s vanishing coast and the potential impacts from future land loss and coastal storm surge-based floods.
“This campaign will raise awareness of the challenges Louisiana faces and help promote strategies at the state and local levels to reduce the impacts of coastal storm surge- based flood risk,” said Johnny Bradberry, Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities, and CPRA Board Chairman.
“Without the implementation of Master Plan projects, flooding could impact approximately 17 to 21 percent of public schools in coastal Louisiana, and in turn, as many as 67,000 to 88,800 children,” said La. Superintendent of Education John White. “The Story Maps released today signal the need for all education leaders to learn more about Louisiana’s changing coastal landscape and the potential impacts faced by our schools and schoolchildren and to ensure the next generation is equipped with the knowledge and skills to create safer communities and a more sustainable landscape.”
“The Master Plan allows the state to protect its critical health infrastructure,” said Dr. Parham Jaberi, Assistant State Health Officer, Louisiana Department of Health. “Through projects aimed at restoring and protecting Louisiana’s Coastline, the Master Plan offers solutions to reduce the number of hospitals impacted by coastal flood risk by 82%, and reduce the number of Medicaid providers impacted by 65%.”
“Living in a coastal state, we all know the risks of storms and storm surges to not only our natural resources, but also to our state’s infrastructure,” said DOTD Sec. Shawn Wilson, Ph.D. “Louisiana is already in critical need of funding to maintain our transportation system, so anything we can do to prevent further damage to it is a priority. We welcome the opportunity to work with our fellow agencies on this important campaign.”
“Our 50-year, $50 billion Master Plan is a lot to digest,” said CPRA Chief of Planning and Research Bren Haase. “We want to make the document’s body of work understandable to the public so they can know what lies ahead and take steps to prepare or to reduce their level of risk. Tough realities lie ahead for our state and coastal citizens and anyone else in the country that depends on the goods and services coming out of our working coast.”
Story map links below: