Bossier Parish working on mitigating damage from floods

2036
Cannon Road flooding in early May 2019. (Courtesy of Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

In recent years, Bossier Parish has seen several flood events, which have caused parish leadership to go into overdrive to save and protect homes.

The parish is working on flood mitigation to reduce the overall risk of a structure experiencing flood damage, and also reduces the severity of flood damage when it occurs. 

FEMA hazard mitigation grants across the country have helped homeowners and communities affected by flooding prevent their property from future damages. Including right here in Bossier Parish.

“We are taking advantage of every program we can to try to mitigate drainage issues in the parish. One particular program that we are utilizing is the FEMA hazard mitigation grant program,” said Parish Engineer Butch Ford. “We just purchased eight homes that will be torn down in the next 60 days. We probably have six to seven more to buy. When it’s all said and done, we’re going to be in 35-40 range of the number of homes that we have purchased as the result of the 2016 flood event.”

Another program the parish utilizes when flooding occurs in the area is the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Statewide Flood Control Program.

The Statewide Flood Control Program is designed to help solve flooding problems through an active, innovative approach. This program uses state funds allocated each year by the Legislature to assist in the construction of flood control infrastructure.

“We have been very successful with the DOTD Statewide Flood Control Program. We really are trying to apply for every grant that we can get,” said Ford. 

Lastly, in order to help mitigate flooding in the area, the parish works year-round on drainage projects and maintenance.

“Grass cutting, drainage projects, and cleaning the ditches are simple little things we do to approve drainage in the parish,” said Ford.

It is important to keep in mind that the risk of flooding is based on a variety of factors like rainfall, topography, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes resulting from new construction in the community.

Proactive communities work on mitigating strategies through a combination of flood control projects and good floodplain management activities. In addition, there are steps that homeowners can take to mitigate flood damage. 

These include:

  • Creating an emergency communications plan and build an emergency kit to ensure you and your family are prepared for a flood.
  • Elevating your furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home, if you live in a high flood risk area.
  • Installing “check valves” to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Constructing barriers, such as sandbagging, to stop floodwater from entering your home.
  • Sealing walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds.

If you experienced flooding at your home from the storm earlier this month, please call  (318) 965-2329 and ask for the engineering office. An inspection team will review and document the conditions to your property.