The Louisiana Watershed Initiative — a statewide, watershed-scale program focused on reducing flood risk in Louisiana — established nine provisional watershed regions across the state. These regions, funded through a $1.2 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, aim to help communities better understand their flood risk and identify cost-effective, impactful solutions to flooding.
- Each region is responsible for establishing long-term watershed coalitions, developing work plans, and recommending resilience projects for state funding.
- In June 2023, the state legislature recognized the Acadiana Watershed District as a political subdivision, with authority to levy a tax to promote drainage and reduce flood risk.
- By coordinating flood risk planning across the region, the Acadiana Watershed District has received nearly $27 million for flood resilience projects in the watershed.
- Louisiana’s watershed regions provide a model for how to bring multiple levels of government into watershed-scale planning; however, the long-term success of these regions is not guaranteed, as most regions are not recognized in state statute, so they lack legal authorities.
- States looking to replicate Louisiana’s provisional watershed regions must consider long-term options to fund, authorize, and incentivize this work at the regional level.