Above Board: Enhanced Floodplain and Stormwater Management in Tangipahoa Parish, LA

Project Goals:
  • Conduct an assessment of relevant regulations to coordinate legal and policy implementation mechanisms for flood control and stormwater management
  • Update enforcement protocols and conduct staff training to meet and enhance state flood protection and stormwater management requirements
  • Develop model ordinance language for flood protection and water quality best practices for relevant codes, ordinances, rules, and regulations
  • Provide planning and best practice guidance and recommendations in support of preliminary watershed, hydrology and hydraulic studies
Project Team:
  • CSS
    • Traci Birch, PhD, AICP Interim Managing Director
      Assistant Professor in the LSU School of Architecture
    • Clint Willson, PhD, PE Mike N. Dooley, P.E. Professor, College of Engineering
      Director, LSU Center for River Studies
  • Tangipahoa Parish Government
    • Robbie Miller
    • Bridget Bailey
    • Lauren Brinkman
    • Reynae Langlois
    • John Dardis
    • Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice

Direct + Broader Impacts:
Tangipahoa Parish is located in southeastern Louisiana, with its southern border on Lake Ponchartrain and its northern border on the Mississippi State line. There are no major flood control structures in the parish, which means it is prone to both storm surge flooding from tropical storms and riverine flooding from extreme rain events. There have been seven major disaster declarations in the parish since 2005, including two in 2016, that impacted nearly 16,000 structures. Flooding in March and August of 2016, was due to the swelling of the Tangipahoa River and its tributaries backing up and overflowing during and after substantial rains. Water quality and impaired waterways are also a consideration, with rapid development in the southern portions of the parish and hydrologic alterations and agricultural runoff concerns in the northern reaches.

In response to the floods of 2016, Tangipahoa Parish Government is actively addressing identified recovery issues and priorities. Top on the list is 1) gaining a greater understanding of the hydrology and hydraulics (H&H) in the Tangipahoa River Watershed, 2) identifying watershed management strategies for the future, and 3) updating the suite of development management mechanisms to reduce historic flooding issues, enhance enforcement, and improve development decision-making.