Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment, City of New Orleans Desire Area Road Network Infrastructure Recovery Restoration (FEMA-1603-DR-LA), Orleans Parish, Louisiana (January 2017)
Hurricane Katrina made landfall on 29 August 2005, near the town of Buras, Louisiana, as a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of more than 125 miles per hour. The accompanying high winds, heavy rains, and flooding caused an accumulation of various types of debris on the streets and rights-of-way of New Orleans. Rain accumulation, in combination with debris blockage, saturated soils, and insufficient drainage, caused flooding and standing water in most of the parish/city. As a result of this event, the roadway system incurred considerable damage. President George W. Bush declared a major disaster for the State of Louisiana (FEMA-1603-DR-LA) on 29 August 2005, authorizing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide federal assistance in designated areas of Louisiana. This assistance is pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), Public Law (P.L.) 93-288, as amended. Section 406 of the Stafford Act authorizes FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) Program to assist with funding the repair, restoration, reconstruction, or replacement of public facilities damaged as a result of the declared disaster.
In accordance with FEMA Instruction 108-1-1, a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) was prepared pursuant to Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as implemented by the regulations promulgated by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ; 40 CFR Parts 1500-1508) (Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act 2005). The PEA, entitled “The City of New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Joint Infrastructure Recovery Request Project” (JIRR), which would encompass the project now under review, was developed by FEMA to streamline approval of road and utility repair and replacement projects in the City of New Orleans within the PA Program. The JIRR PEA concluded with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), dated 16 June 2016. The JIRR PEA, which includes additional work not part of the grant application to FEMA, may be accessed at: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/116899
This draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) also has been conducted in accordance with NEPA and the associated CEQ regulations, as well as FEMA’s own regulations implementing NEPA (44 C.F.R. Parts 9-10) (Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands 1980; Environmental Considerations 1980). The purpose of this SEA is to analyze potential environmental impacts of the proposed project (29.9924, -90.0367) that were not considered previously in the JIRR PEA. FEMA will use the findings in this SEA in order to determine whether a FONSI adopting the JIRR EA is appropriate or whether preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is warranted.