Area residents updated on Southwest Coastal Project

Published 5:05 pm Monday, June 17, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority can currently provide elevation services for up to 1,000 structures.

A public meeting was held on Thursday at F.K. White Middle School to update residents on the project. Earlier last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority also made stops in Cameron, Westlake and Abbeville.

The Southwest Coastal Project aims to elevate eligible structures at or below the 2025 0-25 year base flood elevation in Cameron, Calcasieu, Vermillion and a small portion of Iberia parishes. The project also prioritizes environmental and ecosystem restoration.

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In 2016, a feasibility study determined that 3,457 structures were preliminarily eligible for elevation. Additionally, 342 were preliminarily eligible for dry floodproofing and 157 for localized risk reduction.

Micki Meier, senior project manager, US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, said that a “significant portion” of the eligible structures are in Calcasieu Parish.

The identified areas are at risk because of low elevation, flat terrain and proximity to the coast, she said. These factors are causing issues like erosion and flooding. The project aims to mitigate those impacts.

The goal of the Southwest Coastal Project is to mitigate future risk, said Michelle Felterman, project manager, CPRA. By taking into account what the BfE will be in the future, the structure elevations are not reactionary, but sustainable.

“What that means is you can continue to live here. Your children can continue to live here,” she said. “This community can remain.”

Eligible structures were broken down into priority groups. Properties were prioritized based on how low the structure sits and the socioeconomic status of the area. Properties that can participate in the project are determined by the 2016 feasibility structure, so the project cannot grow, she said.

The first contract for home elevation construction was awarded to Wingate Engineers LLC of New Orleans earlier this month. With the amount of $4,997,880, 21 properties in Vermillion and Calcasieu Parishes will be elevated to the 100-year base flood elevation.

Participating residents will not have to share the cost of elevation. Currently, there is a pool of $455 million to elevate 800 to 100 houses. Meier said that they hope to obligate these funds by 2028, but the deadline is “fluid.”

For current and future funding, the federal government grants 65 percent of the funding, and the CPRA provides a 35 percent cost share.

USACE and CPRA anticipate for every phase of the project to be implemented over 20 years, but the success of implementation is contingent on securing funding.

To account for all 3,000 residential structures, the Southwest Coastal Project will need $1.5 billion. Meier said that the best way for the Southwest Coastal Louisiana Project to receive more federal dollars is voluntary public participation and “a list of people willing and ready to go”

“We want to see people happy and excited to participate in this project”

Homeowners of eligible properties were sent letters by the project team, but eligibility can be confirmed online at

Questions can be directed to or 877-814-2539.