Tangipahoa Parish open house first step in efforts that could reshape FEMA flood maps

Nov 6, 2019

Tangipahoa Parish is leading the state in a series of watershed meetings that, depending on public input, could help reshape FEMA floodmaps in the future.

During an open house Tuesday hosted by the Water Institute of the Gulf, Tangipahoa Parish officials sought to gather specific details about community floodings that are sometimes overlooked on-the-whole when mapping out a watershed. They were looking at such factors as blocked culverts, troublesome bridges and often-waterlogged roadways.

The watershed getting closer scrutiny sits in large part in Tangipahoa Parish, but also stretches into St. Helena and into two counties in Mississippi. It made it to the top of the list when FEMA was prioritizing remapping endeavors because of its heavy flooding in recent years, according to Water Institute research scientist Ryan Clark.

He led the public meeting, which is part of FEMA’s Base Level Engineering process.

“We’re trying to get community input as early as possible in the process so that people are engaged and the community is part of the process, it’s not just a FEMA-driven thing,” he said.

He said that makes sense because people in the communities know best where flooding happens and have ideas for solutions.

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