Resolution C-4348 adopted the St. Tammany Parish Hazard Mitigation Plan Update - 2015 on May 7, 2015. It was subsequently approved by the State of Louisiana (May 22, 2015) and FEMA (May 12, 2015). The Floodplain Administrator/Development-Engineering staff are the designees to administer Plan Update and prepare a written progress report annually. This memo is the progress report prepared by the St. Tammany Regulatory Manager/CRS Coordinator through July 31, 2020.
For credit under the Community Rating System, this memo will be presented to the governing bodies of St. Tammany Parish, will be distributed to the media and be made available to the public. Copies of the report are available for review at STP Department of Planning & Development, 21454 Koop Drive, Building B, Mandeville, LA 70471 and on the St. Tammany Parish website: www.stpgov.org/floods.
The original St. Tammany Parish Hazard Mitigation Plan was drafted in 2004, adopted by the Parish Council in 2005, and revised in 2010. The St Tammany Parish Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Steering Committee, in collaboration with the participating jurisdictions, community stakeholders, and the public, drafted the current St Tammany Parish Hazard Mitigation Plan Update – 2015 during a series of meetings held throughout 2014. It includes a detailed problem statement, which identified flooding from the numerous riverine sources and storm surge inundation from tropical storms and hurricanes, as the worst of the problems. Storm sewer and yard drainage problems also occur throughout the Parish.
The Plan reviews a variety of measures to mitigate potential flooding problems and protect people and property during storm events. Mitigation measures include upgrading the storm drainage system, maintaining rights-of-way, floodproofing, flood insurance, building regulations and public information. Additionally, St. Tammany Parish and incorporated municipalities have adopted and actively enforce zoning, landscaping, greenspace, fill, drainage and building ordinances that address items that could contribute to flooding. The Plan recommends 87 action items and 82 recommendations (169 total items) to reduce or prevent flood damage.
- Review of the Plan’s Action Items
The 87 action items and 82 recommendations (169 in total) found in Section 4-5, Table 1 of the St Tammany Parish Hazard Mitigation Update – 2015 were reviewed by the members of the Mitigation Steering Committee. Of the 169 action items, 16 were carried over from the previous Plan update (2010). As of July 31, 2020, significant progress has been made to the 124 projects, action items and recommendations; 41 were completed and four were removed. Communities have completed or are implementing 100% of the Plan’s recommendations. A Summary of the 2019 community progress is presented below in Table 1. The detailed list of action items and recommendations for St. Tammany Parish communities is attached.
Table 1. Summary of Action Items & Recommendations from the St. Tammany Parish NHM Plan Update - 2015
- Recommendations of the Mitigation Steering Committee
The Mitigation Steering Committee recommends that the Parish and incorporated municipalities continue to:
- - Adopt and enforce the most current building codes and floodplain regulations
St. Tammany Parish and incorporated municipalities continue to enforce the most current building code (2012 IRC). Additionally, communities will strengthen procedures for enforcing building code and floodplain regulations
- - Develop a Unified Development Code incorporating the Strategies outlined in the Plan
St. Tammany Parish continues to enforce the Development/Planning comprehensive plan and is in the process of revising its Code of Ordinances for improved implementation, clarity and enforcement.
- - Adopt and enforce a comprehensive Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance
St. Tammany Parish communities are currently enforcing comprehensive Flood Damage Prevention Plans. The Parish is in the process of appealing the 2008 Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM), with the exception of Mandeville. Mandeville adopted its Community Maps on May 16, 2012.
- - Continue development of the St. Tammany Parish Hurricane Preparedness Plan
The director for the Office of Emergency Preparedness is continuously engaged in maintaining an updated Hurricane Preparedness Plan. The St. Tammany Parish Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan will be reviewed to determine when improvements can be made and how to maximize credit under the Community Rating System (CRS).
- - Continue improvement of Community Rating System (CRS) Classes in St. Tammany Parish and Incorporated Municipalities
Several communities in the Parish have formed a CRS Users Group to facilitate communication among communities and public and to increase awareness of risks and mitigation funding. The City of Covington joined CRS effective 10/01/2017, Mandeville has achieved a CRS Class 6 and unincorporated St. Tammany Parish has maintained a CRS Class 7.
- - Formalize a Comprehensive Drainage Maintenance Plan
St. Tammany Parish Department of Public Works currently schedules and maintains over 500 miles of drainage infrastructure, 1,212 drainage ditches and 74 detention ponds. The Drainage System Maintenance SOP Manual has been updated to reflect the barn areas, responsibilities, frequencies and methods of maintenance. Similar processes are followed by incorporated municipalities in the Parish. Parish communities also continued working together to reduce stormwater and drainage problems that cross corporate boundaries.
- - Commission drainage studies of all St. Tammany Parish watersheds to determine necessities and priorities for further drainage improvements and investigate all funding possibilities.
St. Tammany Parish and incorporated municipalities continue to aggressively apply for funding to study, prioritize and construct drainage solutions. Additionally, St. Tammany Parish communities continue active participation in various FEMA grant programs, in particular the HMGP, which has funded multiple regional drainage projects and home elevations.Finally, the State of Louisiana has received $1.2 Billion in its LA Watershed Initiative to supply tools for watershed management and protection. Tools include stream gauges on vulnerable reaches, updated LIDAR and modeling of the watersheds in the state. These tools will be invaluable in the property protection and development of the communities in St. Tammany Parish.
- - Harden Critical Facilities and Construct Safe Rooms
Communities will continue to harden critical facilities and facilities housing sensitive populations including the construction of safe rooms to protect critical personnel during hazard events. St. Tammany Parish has plans to construct a regional EOC that will also embed the NOAA-NWS. Plans are being completed and funding is being sought. Communities will add generators to sewer lift stations and critical facilities and implement as needed
- - Implement an Active Public Education and Outreach Program
St. Tammany Parish communities have created hazard pages on their respective websites to increase public awareness of hazards, hazardous areas and storm preparation. Communities also distribute public awareness information regarding flood hazards, SFHA’s and potential mitigation measures using the local newspapers’ public service advertising; meetings with schools and neighborhood organizations; distribution of materials at retailers, libraries, City Halls and Administration buildings; and through social media.
- - Implement an Urban Forestry Program
St. Tammany Parish and incorporated municipalities have implemented an urban forestry program modeled on the criteria of the Tree City USA. Tree canopy assists in mitigating flooding through evapotranspiration, improves water quality, lowers temperatures, and provides habitat and quality of life for residents. St. Tammany Parish’s parishwide Adopt-A-Pond program is working with the St. Tammany Parish School Board and the Archdiocese, USFWS, LA SeaGrant, LSU AgCenter, and OMNI Plastics to engage students in tree planting, water quality testing and ecological assessments. In 2019, student volunteers planted ~3000 trees.
 Unincorporated St. Tammany Parish and the incorporated communities are working on the Hazard Mitigation Plan – 2020 Update. The revision has been approved by GOHSEP and is currently under review by FEMA.