The Pontchartrain Levee District stands ready and is prepared for hurricane season 2012.
Within the Pontchartrain Levee District today are 115 miles of levee along the east bank of Mississippi River and 10 miles of hurricane protection levee in St. Charles Parish. The district extends from Baton Rouge to Kenner, at the Jefferson Parish line, and runs north from the Mississippi River to reach the Amite River and Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas. Portions of six parishes on the east bank of the Mississippi River are included in the Pontchartrain Levee District: East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Ascension, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles.
The District works closely with the State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to promote and support industrial action and expansion through a program that grants a “no objection” statement to proposed operations that may have an effect on the integrity of the levee system and are compatible with flood control, such as the construction of structures, roadways and pipelines.
The Board of Commissioners is vested with the control and responsibility for assuring the proper monitoring of levees, structures, canals and related improvements throughout the district.
The Pontchartrain Levee District, under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and acting as its local agent, is responsible for the performance of ordinary maintenance and repair of the levee system, policing to guard against damages to the levee and related structures, and ensures the integrity of the levee system. The district patrols the levee system and interrupts operations on or near levees which may be detrimental to the integrity of the flood protection levee.
The entire levee system within the Pontchartrain Levee District was designed and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Pontchartrain Levee District, in its authority to maintain the integrity of the levee, cannot allow any work, activity or alteration to the design of said levees without the approval and consent of DOTD and the Corps. DOTD is consulted because of the highways that run along the levee and specific DOTD right-of-ways, and the Corps is consulted because as designers and constructors of the levees, they have the ultimate authority over such a system.
Emergency Preparedness Facts and Statistics
There are 55 classified employees, an executive director and a board secretary employed by the district. For emergency flood fighting events, PLD has heavy equipment such as dump trucks, fork lift loaders, backhoes and generators ready to be utilized. It also has sandbags and materials available for the protection of the levee systems.
The Pontchartrain Levee District conservatively estimates that its levees protect $1.2 to $1.5 billion in assessed taxable property and improvements, as well as highways, bridges, airports, schools, courthouses and parks. PLD protects an estimated 500,000 people within its six-parish jurisdiction and incorporates the primary evacuation routes for 1.1 million people from the southeast (greater New Orleans) and an additional 300,000 people from the southwest via routes U.S. 61, U.S. 90 and Interstates 10 and 310.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for levee construction and related works under the federal Mississippi River and Tributaries Flood Control Project. The Pontchartrain Levee District, as a local assuring agency, works with the Corps to furnish rights-of-way and maintain levees, canals and caving banks. The New Orleans District of the Corps continues to work toward completion of the MR&T Project by letting contracts for slope pavement and levee enlargements. These projects are financed through federal appropriations and are completed as part of a total upgrading of the levee system. Bank caving is being solved by a sophisticated “revetment program.” Completion of the MR&T Project, which began in 1928, depends solely on availability of federal funds appropriated in the yearly federal budget.
Mission of the Pontchartrain Levee District and Commitment to Citizens
To maintain the existing levee systems in a condition that will ensure their integrity and capability to withstand river stages and hurricane tidal surges, as anticipated by their design and condition.
To improve, by construction or supporting construction by others, of new or enhanced levels of protection as design parameters change or higher levels of protection are authorized.
To anticipate weaknesses in the system before they develop and to respond actively with necessary emergency measures when the levees are being subjected to river stages or hurricane tidal surges that would cause flooding within the jurisdiction of the Pontchartrain Levee District.