Coastal Hazards Mitigation Topic of Workshops

Building to mitigate the impacts of coastal hazards – such as hurricane storm surge and subsidence – will be the focus of three public workshops scheduled for March 24-26.

All the workshops will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The first will be held March 24 at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium, 728 Myrtle Street, Morgan City. The March 25 workshop will be at the Houma Terrebonne Parish Library, 151 Library Drive, Houma. And the final workshop will be held March 26 at the Vermilion Parish Library, 405 East St. Victor, Abbeville.

Parish officials, coastal resource managers, planners, builders and interested citizens are invited to participate. Seating is limited, so please register early by e-mailing to Linda.Pace@la.gov.

“It is up to us, as individuals and local governments, to take the lead in protecting our lives and property and to establish resilient and sustainable communities through our decisions on where and how to build,” said Jim Wilkins, director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Law & Policy program. “The techniques to be discussed at the workshops can be implemented by local governments as well as individuals without dependence on state or federal governments. In other words, we’re talking about taking a ‘self-help’ approach,” said Wilkins, who will be leading the meetings.

Copies of the Louisiana Coastal Hazard Mitigation Guidebook, on which the workshops are based, will be available at both meetings. The 250-page book – which examines issues from zoning and building siting to construction methods and legal issues – is free.

An electronic copy of the book can be downloaded from the Sea Grant Law & Policy Program Web site (www.lsu.edu/sglegal), or a copy can be ordered by contacting Jessica Schexnayder, 105 Sea Grant Building, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. Please include a check or money order for $5 when ordering a printed copy to cover shipping and handling. Free printed copies can be picked-up at the Louisiana Sea Grant building on LSU Baton Rouge campus. For general information about obtaining a book, e-mail jsche15@lsu.edu.

The strategies outlined in the guidebook reduce the risks from coastal natural hazards such as storm surge, other flooding, subsidence and sea level rise, and are meant to serve as an extra layer of protection or an additional line of defense. The guidebook also demonstrates how communities can adopt a flexible approach to hazard planning and accommodate a wide range of attitudes toward restrictions on the use of property to mitigate hazards.

“The intent of the guidebook is to present basic strategies that can help planners, managers and property owners in coastal communities better prepare for and recover from hurricanes,” said Wilkins.

Since its establishment in 1968, the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 32 programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.

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