The RPC serves as a participating agency to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) New Orleans District efforts upon request, and invites the Corps to participate in RPC Commission meetings for periodic updates to the board. RPC has worked with the ACE in the development of geo-spatial data, participated in the steering group which guided the design alternatives for the permanent pump station, and collaborated in planning for the cumulative impacts of hurricane protection construction projects.
Projects of regional significance include the following:
IPET – Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force
The IPET site offers updated reports and maps to share information concerning hurricane risks in the Greater New Orleans area to aid citizens in making risk-informed decisions.
Permanent Pump Stations Project
Beginning in January of 2007, the RPC participated in a series of workshops exploring available information and willing partners to aid the Corps of Engineers in developing alternate proposals for the location and performance of the permanent pump stations along the outfall canals of Lake Pontchartrain in Jefferson and Orleans parishes. With over two dozen stakeholders participating, the Permanent Pump Stations Project evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of three options under consideration for funding by Congress. The outcome of the process included a statement clarifying a commitment to being inclusive and open in determining future solutions while understanding the legal and legislative limitations of the abilities of all partners. Key decision dates were determined and ideas were formulated resulting in Option 1, Option2 and Option 2A.
Closure of MRGO
Authorized in 1956 by an Act of Congress (Public Law 84-455) and completed in 1968, The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO) was built “to provide an emergency outlet from the Mississippi River in the interest of National defense and general commerce and as a safer and shorter route between the Port of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The MRGO extends from the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) to the 38-foot depth contour in the Gulf of Mexico. .” (USACOE) The MRGO was dredged through swamps, coastal marshes and shallow waters providing direct entry for the horrific winds and storm surge of Hurricane Katrina to reach Orleans and St. Bernard parishes. In June of 2008 the Corps of Engineers de-authorized (Final MRGO Deep-Draft De-authorization Report) the channel and planned construction of a closure structure across the channel at Bayou La Loutre and an ecosystem restoration plan for the area.
Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier
Authorized by Congress in 2006 with construction beginning in May of 2009, this major engineering project aims to protect New Orleans East, metro New Orleans, the 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish from storm surge coming from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Borgne. The $1.3 billion structure in meant to keep storm surge out of the Industrial Canal, a major source of flooding during Katrina.