CPRA issues Emergency Order on Flood Protection
In coordination with parishes, levee districts and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an emergency order was issued restricting activities on or adjacent to flood control and flood-fighting measures.
The emergency rule signed last night allows levee districts to establish pedestrian viewing areas on levee structures controlled by law enforcement officials, but restricts pedestrian and vehicular (including all-terrain, recreational and farm equipment) traffic within 300 feet of the centerline of a levee or other flood control structure. This does not stop access for fishermen or others. The order allows for commercial permitted activities (such as boat launches) to continue for 72 hours then respective levee districts will grant waivers on a case by case basis. Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chair Garret Graves, who issued the order, said, "We want to ensure that people have an opportunity to safely view this historic event, but the maximum design capacity of these levees and structures is being tested during these high water conditions. One mistake could have drastic consequences."
The order also restricts disturbing seepage areas, prohibits unpermitted subsurface work within 1500 feet of flood control structures and bans the use of explosives or demolition within 5000 feet of levees and other flood measures. Last, the emergency rule issued today establishes more stringent conditions under which vessels, barges or other water craft must be moored adjacent to levee structures. "The Mississippi River system drains about 41 percent of the continental United States or 15 percent of the North American continent. This includes 31 states and two Canadian Provinces or over 1.2 million square miles." Graves said. "With a million cubic feet of water or more passing any point on the Mississippi River in our state and extraordinary flows in the Atchafalaya, this emergency order is designed to keep the water between the levees."
Waivers to the restrictions may be granted by respective levee districts or the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, levee districts and other state and local law enforcement officials are authorized to enforce the order. Violators are subject to fines of up to $10,000 and six months in jail per incident.
Click here to view the newly released Regulation Adoption Letter