Reducing flood risk on the Mississippi River delta is big business. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with a $14.3-billion appropriation to bring the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System to 100-year levels of protection by June 1, 2011.
This will be the busiest year so far, with more than 100 projects worth $3.2 billion scheduled for award. Included are 77 contracts for levees and floodwalls; 23 for pump- station repairs and improvements and 10 for urban drainage. “To give some perspective...understand that the Corps’ entire national program is funded at $5 billion,” says Karen Durham-Aguilera, director of Task Force Hope, which oversees the HSDRRS program. Of the estimated 350 contracts in the program, 138 have been completed, and 34, worth $1.4 billion, are ongoing.