September 15, 2016

Cassidy Applauds Passage of Water Infrastructure Bill, Reducing Future Flood Risk

WASHINGTON— US Senator Bill Cassidy, MD applauded the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) and the Louisiana initiatives included in the bill. WRDA authorizes many critical infrastructure, hurricane protection and flood control projects for Louisiana.


“As we rebuild from the Louisiana floods, funding to prepare for future storms and to lower the risk for future flooding is important to every Louisiana family,” Dr. Cassidy said. “This bill helps Louisiana prepare for future storms and lowers risk. It is good for Louisiana.”

Louisiana priorities passed in the bill include:


Chief’s Report: West Shore-Lake Pontchartrain, LA

·       Authorizes $718.09 million for hurricane and storm-damage risk reduction along the east bank of the Mississippi River in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James Parishes, LA.

Chiefs Report: Calcasieu Lock

·       Authorizes $16.70 million to reduce navigation delays.

Chiefs Report: Southwest Coastal Louisiana, LA

·       Authorizes more than $3 billion for hurricane storm surge damage reduction and ecosystem restoration in three parishes in southwestern LA.

Study: Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, LA

·       Conduct a study to determine the feasibility of increasing the allowable Federal maintenance on access channels along the Mississippi River Ship Channel from the Gulf to Baton Rouge, Louisiana project.

Study: St. Tammany Parish

·       Conduct a study to determine the feasibility of carrying out projects described in the St. Tammany Parish Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan for flood control, shoreline protection, and ecosystem restoration in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

Study: OuachitaBlack Rivers Navigation Project

·       Conduct a study to determine the feasibility of adding bank stabilization and water supply as project features on the Ouachita River.

Deauthorization and Conveyance: Pearl River

·       Deauthorizes the project for navigation, Pearl River, Mississippi and Louisiana, and conveyance of the project to the State of Louisiana as the date of enactment of this act.

Deauthorization: Red River Below Denison Dam

·       The portion of the project for flood protection on Red River Below Denison Dam, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, is no longer authorized beginning on the date of enactment of this Act.

Operation and Maintenance of Fuel-Taxed Inland Waterways

·       Allows a non-Federal interest to carry out operation and maintenance of floodgates and associated infrastructure on a fuel-taxed inland waterways, and receive credit or reimbursement for that work.

Non-Fed Interest Dredging Authority

·       Establishes a pilot program authorizing a non-Federal interest to maintain a federal navigation project with its own equipment and personnel and be eligible for reimbursement at an amount equal to or less than the yearly appropriated amount associated with the project.

Dredged Materials

·       Authorizes the placement of dredged material in a location where the upfront costs are not the lowest if those additional upfront costs will be offset by the resulting environmental, flood protection, and resiliency benefits.

Rehabilitation of Existing Levees

·       Authorizes $125 million for a pilot program for the Corps to immediately address coastal levees that are subsiding.

Wetlands Mitigation

·       Requires the Secretary to issue guidance regarding credits available from mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs and provides that mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs be considered reasonable alternatives.

Credit for Donated Goods

·       This section requires the Corps when calculating the amount of credit a non-Federal interest will receive for in-kind contributions to use the value of the in-kind contribution (such as the value of land provided for the project), rather than the cost of the contribution.

Harbor Deepening

·       Aligns the cost share for construction of harbors with the change in WRRDA 2014 modifying the cost-share for maintenance of harbors.

Discrete Segment

·       Authorizes the Corps to give credit or reimbursement for discrete segments of projects as they are completed. 

Wetlands Mitigation

·       Requires the Secretary to issue guidance regarding credits available from mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs and provides that mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs be considered reasonable alternatives.


·       Clarifies the prioritization of hurricane and storm damage reduction efforts in WRRDA 2014 to include restoration of wetlands as well as loss of wetlands. Updates deadline for report to Congress. Requires a report to Congress on the implementation of the requirements in WRRDA 2014 to give priority to certain ecosystem restoration projects.

Transfer of Excess Credit

·       Clarifies authority in WRRDA 2014 allowing the transfer of credit between projects.

Aids to Navigation

·       Directs the Secretary to consult with the Coast Guard regarding aids to navigation on the Ouachita-Black Rivers.

Additional Measures at Donor Ports and Energy Transfer Ports:

·       Extends the authority to provide additional funds for donor ports and energy transfer ports.

Expedited Competition of Authorized Projects – Flood Damage Reduction

·       Directs the Corps to expedite the completion of the Comite River Diversion and Amite River and Tributaries, East Baton Rouge to address significant needs and risks.

Completion of Ecosystem Restoration Projects

·       Amends the requirement for monitoring ecosystem restoration projects (from WRDA 2007) to allow operation and maintenance of the project to be concluded when the ecological success criteria are met.

Operations and Maintenance of Inland MS River Ports

·       Authorizes dredging of shallow draft ports located on the inland Mississippi River to the respective authorized widths and depths.

Application of Certain Benefits and Costs Included in Final Feasibility Study

·       Requires the Corps to implement section 6009 of the 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (Public Law 109–13), which directed the Corps to include the value of energy exploration and production and transportation cost savings resulting from larger navigation channels in their analysis of project benefits.

Gulf Coast Oyster Bed Recovery Plan

·       Authorizes $2 million for a Gulf Coast Oyster Bed recovery plan.