Posted on April 18, 2017
West Feliciana Parish has requested FEMA funding from the 404 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to stabilize two section of streambank along Bayou Sara near its confluence with the Mississippi River. Severe erosion of the streambank threatens the Town of St. Francisville’s Wastewater Treatment facility; pond levees; and St. Ferdinand Street, the Parish’s only access road to the Mississippi River. Ferdinand Street is vital to the Parish economy for its riverboat revenue, tourism, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers access to the St. Francisville Casting field. The streambank has eroded to within 160 feet (48.7 m) of the roadway, in close proximity to the pond levees that protect the Parish’s wastewater treatment facility. If left unchecked, the road and treatment ponds will become more vulnerable to washout and loss of function. Loss of these facilities would result in significant economic damages, and damage to the sewerage treatment ponds would have environmental consequences.
Federal regulations require FEMA, as funding agency, to identify if any of the properties are historic properties (listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places - NRHP); to assess the effects the project will have on historic properties; to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects to historic properties; and to evaluate the proposed action’s potential for significant impacts to the human and natural environment.
FEMA has determined that these activities will adversely affect the site of the village of Bayou Sara, founded in 1790 as a trading post and cotton port. It was one of the largest shipping ports between Natchez and New Orleans. Bayou Sara remained an important center of shipping and commerce until it was abandoned following a series of floods from 1912-1937. FEMA proposes to mitigate the adverse effects through Treatment Measures, Archaeological Research Design and Data Recovery Plan and Public Interpretation, included in the 2016 Statewide Programmatic Agreement among FEMA, the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Officer, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and participating Tribes. Any member of the public is encouraged to provide views on how the project may affect historic properties and ways that these effects may be avoided, minimized, or mitigated.
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1 Caused by the high winds and heavy rains of Hurricanes Katrina and the subsequent widespread flooding damaged many buildings in Orleans Parish, LA. In the aftermath of the hurricane, the FEMA is issuing this public notice as part of its responsibilities under the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations, 36 CFR Part 800, implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA). This notice applies to activities carried out by the Public Assistance (PA) program implemented under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C.§§5152-5206.
Cut bank at Bayou Sara facing northeast, showing the ongoing erosion. FEMA