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NOAA Awards Grant Aimed at Helping Coastal Communities before Disaster Strikes

The Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX), along with UNO’s Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology (UNO-CHART) and Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG), have partnered for a project aimed at supporting resilient coastal communities in a changing climate. The team has been awarded a $298,525 grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office’s Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (NOAA-COCA) program.

The project’s principal focal points are to: 1) develop a pre-disaster redevelopment plan for the Town of Jean Lafitte and lower Jefferson Parish, and 2) create a replicable process and guide for coastal communities with limited capacity and resources to develop their own pre-disaster redevelopment plan. This collaborative effort between a non-profit, universities and local communities to develop a pre-disaster plan is the first of its kind for the region.

The community-focused project will build on previous efforts of the area, including Jefferson Parish’s coastal initiatives and hazard mitigation plans, OCD’s LA SAFE program and the CPRA Coastal Master Plan. Plans will be developed based on expected future climate change scenarios and their respective environmental risks, with consideration to the social and economic vulnerabilities of the area. These models will be further informed by Jean Lafitte community members through focus groups, interviews and a local steering committee. The integration of the local community’s input will foster relevancy and better use for the plan after a disaster.

Such a plan is intended to better position local governments to acquire recovery funding and allow for well-informed use of those funds after a natural disaster. The approach is designed to create a process using publicly available data so that other municipalities and parishes can develop pre-disaster redevelopment plans for their own use.

The project runs through August 2019.

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant 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 LSU, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 33 university-based programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.