A U. S. Army Corps of Engineers hurricane-flood risk management study of Louisiana's heavily populous St. Tammany Parish has proposed an 18.5-mile levee that would protect western and southern Slidell. Additionally, the study advises elevating homes and making businesses flood-resistant.

The Corps estimates that taking the proposed measures would produce net benefits of an estimated at $237.8 million and decrease annual flood damage in the parish from $547.8 million to $162.9 million. 

 “We hope to have a chief of engineers of the Corps sign the report in May and that will allow us to go to Congress and ask for additional authorization and funding to move the project into the engineering and construction phase,” says Amy Dixon, the Corps project manager for the feasibility study, which was initially authorized in the Wind Act of 2016.

The Corps looked at some 200 flood-control options, including retention ponds, small levees and diversions, prior to settling on its recommendations.

Though construction is not expected to begin until 2027 at the earliest, controversy over the flood protection plan has surfaced. Some critics in the region think the levee system would fail to protect all homes in the area. Dixon indicated the levee was modeled in place, and structures within the 50-year flood plain are eligible to be raised outside of the 100-year flood plain.

 "Research shows that over 75 percent of the homes in that area are already outside the 100-year flood plain," says Dixon. "Modeling indicates that changes in water level based on the construction of the levee are negligible.”