The Daily Comet
March 25, 2023
Minutes of the Regular Monthly Board meeting of the North Lafourche Conservation, Levee & Drainage District, February 28, 2023
The Regular Monthly meeting of the North Lafourche Conservation, Levee and Drainage District Board of Commissioners was called to order on February 28, 2023, by President Cory Kief at 5:25 pm. The meeting was held at the Districts office at 3862 Highway 1 in Raceland. The invocation was given by Adley Pelter and the pledge was led by Tory Hebert. President Kief called roll. Commissioners present were Cory Kief, Tim Allen, Rodney Foret, Darcy Kiffe, Adley Peltier, Louis Andolsek, Monique Crochet, Tory Hebert, and Elmo Jay Pitre. Commissioners Percy Gasery and Robert Pitre were absent. Others present were NLLD Executive Director Dwayne Bourgeois; NLLD Program/Project Manager Arthur Ostheimer; NLLD Field Coordinator Travis Colombel; NLLD Administrative Assistant Madonna Viguerie; NLLD Executive Assistant Katie DeRoche; NLLD Project/Accounting Assistant Brandy Theriot, and various engineering professionals.
Approval of Minutes: Motion was made by T. Hebert, seconded by M. Crochet to approve the minutes of the following meetings: Tuesday, January 17, 2023, Finance & Priority Committee and Tuesday, January 17, 2023 Regular Board Meeting with a correction to the Tuesday, September 27, 2022 Regular Board Meeting minutes to be re-published. No discussion or public comment. Motion passed unanimously.
A. Thibodaux West Project Area:
Acadia Woods: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported having some conversations with USACE Regulatory to begin exploring some alternatives to provide improved drainage; but, for now the TAZ machine is being used to clear out some of the outfall canals and blocked drainage outlets in the area that all flows to Terrebonne Parish. Once the clearing and canal sweeping is complete, NLLD will re-group with the City of Thibodaux, LPG, and TPCG on any proposed projects. NLLD has a contractor sweeping out the ditches and installing culverts where necessary so the drainage will no longer be blocked. This should be finished in the next week or so. Moving forward, NLLD will continue to monitor the drainage, but we are certain significant improvements to the outfall ditches were made by the project. Beavers are back. D. Bourgeois said there is a process NLLD needs to do to rid the beavers with state licensed trappers.
B. Thibodaux - Lockport - Bayou Blue Project Area:
NSU Drainage study: D. Bourgeois reported there had been some possibilities of portions of this potential project being advanced along with some work on the Coastal Center through Capital Outlay; however, funding for the drainage improvement work is in excess of the allocated funds for construction. So, NLLD will be waiting to see how things proceed before we take further action.
Bayou Blue Hollywood Backwater Flood Protection Project: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported Sealevel Construction, Inc. is the contractor on this project that is designed to protect the areas around the Hollywood canal from storm surge by way of the GIWW. CPRA is providing a little over $6.5M GOMESA reimbursement for the construction. Sealevel has completed the installation of the sluice gates on both the northern and southern structure. NLLD made a site visit to the northern structure on February 17th to review for partial acceptance. The site looks good. LCI is generating a punch list but overall the northern structure looked good. They drove all the piles for the structure and pump station. A. Peltier motioned, seconded by T. Hebert to approve payment of pay request #7 in the amount of $481,596.09 from Sealevel Construction, Inc. as recommended by the project engineer. No discussion or public comment. Motion passed unanimously.
Raceland Prairie District 1 of 12 and 2 of 12 Levee Improvements: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported NLLD made a Capital Outlay Request in prior years for funding in support of NLLDs broader program of improvements to all these levees in these FDAs. NLLD received Capital Outlay Appropriations in HB2 for these projects and received a P1 appropriation of $1,225,000, cash line payable from the Cap Outlay Savings Fund of $3,000,000 and a P5 Appropriation of $2,750,000 NLLDs $6M ask. NLLD is trying to get this to priority 1 this year. The funding will be administered by the Office of Facility Planning and Control. They are working on the funding agreement. As part of the process, the Bond Committee officially approved the $1M on 9-15 to go with the $225K previously approved funding bringing our total Capital Outlay funding to $4.225M for this project. LCI is continuing the design of the project with plans to finalize design over the next couple of months. NLLD met yesterday to discuss the project with LCI. NLLD is continuing to work with landowner agreements for access to the project and tweaking the bidding documents a bit to include some additive alternatives into the bid based on the additional funding NLLD has received.
Upper Bayou Folse Watershed Backwater Flood Protection: D. Bourgeois reported NLLD explored the synergy between NLLDs efforts and efforts of the Lafourche Terrebonne Soil and Water Conservation District, a local governmental group under the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to submit a couple of projects that might be considered for funding. After meeting with LTSWCD, LA Department of Ag and Forestry and NRCS, all came up with a couple of projects to pursue an opportunity for funding assistance for design. NLLD has ASCE working to frame up something along US90 near Des Allemands as a breakwater protecting US90. While such a project may ultimately be needed, its large cost (>$11.6M) sort of makes it impractical to pursue through this avenue. But, a letter along with projects details for the application for Upper Bayou Folse has been submitted and noted as received and completed and well done.
C. Lockport - Larose Project Area:
Lockport to Larose Reach B Levee Project: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported NLLD will be receiving CPRA reimbursement of $1M available for this project to move forward with Phase 1 of the Reach B Improvements to increase stability and raise the protection elevation to +7. NLLD is noticing a general increase in the cost of materials and the associated cost of installation on capital projects that NLLD has been anticipating. NLLD will be revisiting the budget with this in mind and will likely look to present that to the F&P Committee in the May / June time frame as compared to the usual midyear adjustment. NLLD received and opened five bids for this project on February 14th. All bids came in overbudget but NLLD does believe the bids are fair and consistent with market pricing and does have available funding to proceed with the project. T. Allen motioned, seconded by R. Foret for NLLD to award the construction contract to Low Land Construction Company, Inc., thus committing $2,632,156.00 of NLLDs net assets towards NLLD Project No. 6300.60Z and authorizing the NLLD President to sign, execute, and administer a contract and any and all relevant documents. D. Kiffe asked if there are projects with cost estimates from engineering that need to be revisited for the overall budget. D. Bourgeois would like to update the budget for the current project cost estimates in order to stay in a conservative range. To respond to C. Kief, A. Ostheimer said NLLD has been pushing engineers to adjust their project estimates keeping in mind material/installation cost increases. C. Kief asked if there are potential projects that will need to be cut in the future and D. Bourgeois said not as of now, but it is possible after adjusting the new budget midyear. No further discussion or public comment. Motion passed unanimously.
Lockport to Larose Reach D2 &D3 Levee Improvements: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported NLLD is working with Picciola & Associates on a project to improve the elevation of the Lockport to Larose Reach D2 & D3 Levee to an 8 elevation. NLLD had completed an initial project in 2017 that brought the elevation up to 6.5. With settlement and consolidation, which was expected, the elevation lost approximately a foot of protection. NLLD was able to work with CPRA to move the excess funding of approximately $800K from TLBB Element 2 to help fund this project. CPRA is currently circulating the IGA for review and signature. NLLD has also submitted all relevant information to CPRA for review and comment. They are currently reviewing the project documents and should be returning comments very soon. NLLD is hoping to work through the review process so to begin the advertisement as soon as the IGA is executed.
Lockport to Larose Reach D5 Levee Improvements: D. Bourgeois reported NLLD has been working with GIS for some time to develop a plan to provide flood protection from Allied Shipyard to Bayou Lafourche. GIS has submitted a report with multiple options and frankly, none are ideal. The options they considered include a sheet pile wall along the GIWW which is cost prohibitive ($32M) to options that involve building an earthen levee which is significantly less ($10M) but would mean having to buyout the residences along the GIWW. In an effort to find funding for this protection, NLLD worked with Delta Coast Consultants on the submission of a FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant for this project that includes flood protection improvements from Allied Shipyard to Bayou Lafourche. Obviously, these grants take quite a bit of time to work through the federal process, but NLLD will continue to monitor the grant application and look for other options to provide the needed protection for this area. L. Andolsek asked if a levee is still needed if there is a closure (In the GIWW) because it is a $10 million project. D. Bourgeois said yes, because the system closure will be in Bayou Lafourche and NLLD has to connect to that closure. D. Bourgeois explained on the screen where the closures and connections will be. He also showed where the future MtoG closure gate will be in the GIWW, which will prevent flooding on a larger scale for the whole region. However, there is still potential of flooding inside the MtoG system and the timing of building the Eastern MtoG GIWW gate, which is why NLLD is needing to construct the LtoL Reach D5 Project. Discussion ensued on the placement/alignment and timing of the MtoG closure gate in the GIWW.
D. Choupic Project Area:
West Choupic & St. James Project Area Backwater Flood Protection: D. Bourgeois reported NLLD is working with LCI to re-align the proposed levee in an area that avoids the worst impacts to landowners yet may still be OK with the Corps. The goal is to establish that alignment and have a Pre-App meeting with the Corps to get approved. NLLD is drastically re-thinking the options on this project which is taking a bit more effort in development. NLLD has had some conversations with USACE Regulatory about some of the ideas by making this an open system and they are receptive and NLLD has a meeting with them tomorrow morning. C. Kief asked the price of the project and Tre Chauvin with LCI said $14 million.
Bowie Forced Drainage System Levee Improvements: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported NLLD is working with LCI on a design to improve and repair the current protection from Bayou Onion to Grand Bayou. This will require letters of no objection for 5 pipeline crossings and all work is planned in the footprint of the existing levee. LCI is continuing with processing of the survey data and design for the project. NLLD is waiting on the Geotech to perform samples and form a report, so NLLD still has a little ways to go on this project.
E. St. James Project Area:
Woodland Heights Levee: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported this project will provide backwater flood protection from Woodland Heights to the public housing on Hwy 20 which had issues during last years floods. NLLD has been working with the landowners in the area and now has a project that will meet the needs of the area and prevent future flooding. NLLD has executed the right of ways, except for one, but NLLD has a plan for it for the project and NLLDs TAZ unit has been clearing the existing levee/RoW for the project. This will help with finalizing the design. LCI is continuing to work on the design that will include this system with the existing Boudreaux/Sugar Ridge East FDA.
F. Lake Bouef Watershed Project Area:
Zeller/Larousse Forced Drainage Area Systems Improvements: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported LCI has submitted a formal application on NLLDs behalf to LA Statewide Flood Control for Phase 3 of this project that would elevate and improve the earthen levee structures and forced drainage system that protects Kraemer/Bayou Bouef community, more specifically, approximately 2,500 linear feet along Kraemer Bayou Road. NLLD and LCI attended the site visit with DOTD to review the proposed project on February 1st. All believed the meeting was very positive and optimistic. LCI completed and submitted the additional modeling data requested by DOTD on 2/17/23 as requested to keep the application moving forward. NLLD will continue to monitor the application as it moves forward through the process and answer questions as they arise.
LBW Backwater Protection Project/308 Farmers Meeting: D. Bourgeois reported as previously mentioned, NLLD hosted an informational forum for the local landowners and farmers on January 10th where optimism ran pretty low. Everyone who attended did agree that we should establish an alignment that would not get NLLD into trouble with wetland impacts and identify the impacted property owners and begin preliminary discussions based on that. C. Kief asked what the next plan is. D. Bourgeois said to try and get the land owners, other than the farmers who do understand, to realize the urgency of having an alignment the USACE will approve to get protection before more land loss continues. T. Allen said he thinks the landowners need some educating on the issue and will eventually understand. R. Foret said time is not on their side. Tre Chauvin with LCI said they have put together two more alignments that need to be reviewed with NLLD to present it to the landowners in order to move forward.
60 Arpent Canal Clearing and Maintenance Project: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported the NLLDs deepwater Marsh Buggy is being used for some long-term maintenance dredging of approximately 2 miles of the 60 Arpent Canal. The NLLD is currently dredging the canal and has completed approximately 90% with approximately 1,800 LF left. NLLD expects to finish in the next few weeks. At that time, NLLD will perform some needed maintenance on the machine. NLLD is still discussing the next project for the machine based on need, but the machine will stay in this general area for a while longer.
G. Gheens Project Area:
Upper Barataria Risk Reduction (UBRRP) Project: D. Bourgeois reported the NLLD and the LBLD have been working cooperatively to get this design further down the road. The project received a favorable Chiefs Report. The project, via the Corps, did receive $8M in funding for PED and MVP is working on the PED under the oversite of MVN. All are tracking and waiting for that work to be complete.
H. Valentine - East Project Area:
Industrial Ave Floodwall-North American Shipyard to Bayou Lafourche: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported this project will improve protection along the Intracoastal Waterway along Industrial Park Road to Bayou Lafourche to approximately 9 elevation. NLLD is working with Picciola and Associates to develop this protection. At this time, NLLD is approaching the project in four phases based on the type of construction. NLLD has approached North American to discuss a right of way around their yard that is cost beneficial and will allow them to operate independently from the NLLDs system. However, they would rather remain inside the protection and this, notwithstanding its significantly increased cost, is the better protection option overall. As this is an area that flooded during Hurricane Ida, and NLLD has advanced the protection concept designs, D. Bourgeois said he made a hard press to get funding for the beginning phases. The CPRA final draft of the Annual Plan will be presented to Legislators and D. Bourgeois said he is confident NLLD will be getting some funding to help address these areas but will have to press hard for the larger portions of this funding at the State level this year and in future years. NLLD has been in touch with State, Regional and Parish Grant writers to see if there may be Grants of any type that can help. While they were optimistic NLLD could get some funding, it would likely be on the smaller side and take a while to get. NLLD will be pursuing those opportunities, nonetheless. NLLD has been coordinating this effort with the Parish who has agreed to contribute some funding for work they were looking to do in this general area for road stabilization if the combined efforts, flood protection and road stabilization can be blended into one project. NLLD has been working on a phased approach to the plan to improve and create flood protection with Picciola and Associates that is a mix of earthen levee, raising the existing sheetpile wall, installing a new sheetpile wall, raising the road, and raising the T-Bois levee an additional 1 to 9 total elevation. They have been tasked with preliminary design of the phased approach for all phases and to progress to final design on the highest priority phases. Part of their task as NLLD moves through preliminary design will be to identify the highest need projects and tighten the cost estimates so NLLD can make informed decisions based on need and funding availability.
T-Bois Ludevine Levee Tie In: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported this project will connect the T-Bois Levee on the eastern side of Hamilton Street to the Ludevine Levee on the Western side of Hamilton Street. LPG is planning on funding a new bridge across the Blackwater Canal for the Eunice Allemand residents. NLLD met with LPG and based on that discussion, NLLD will draft a CEA so the NLLD can construct both projects and have LPG reimburse us for their portion of the work. NLLD believes this will be mutually beneficial for both the NLLD and LPG based on the connectivity of the projects and similar construction. It will provide some controllable interconnectivity to the two FDAs. Design is on hold until the CEA is worked out. Pat has submitted a draft of the CEA which NLLD has reviewed. NLLD will be working through some details and then submitting it to LPG. Once approved, NLLD will move forward with incorporating the designs for the projects into one. E. Pitre motioned, seconded by M. Crochet to allow the NLCLDD to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with Lafourche Parish Government to integrate the Eunice Allemand Bridge and T-Bois Ludevine Levee Tie In projects and to enable LPG to reimburse NLCLDD for the construction of the Eunice Allemand Bridge and allowing the Executive Director to execute any and all related documentation. D. Bourgeois showed the area on the screen. A. Ostheimer said the LPG has had this in their plans for years. The NLLD portion of the project will involve sheet piles, culverts, and a ramp across T-Bois to connect to the bridge. L. Andolsek asked if the LPG will approve the reimbursement before moving forward. D. Bourgeois said the LPG has to approve this CEA at their public meeting as well. No further discussion or public comment. Motion passed unanimously.
Morganza to the Gulf Eastern Tie-in, reach 2 Interim Improvements: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported Dynamic Group, LLC is the contractor for this project designed to enhance nearly 20,000 LF of levee improvements to an approximate 7.5 elevation and modify the Ludevine Pump Station to account for the modified levee section. The CPRA will ultimately provide $3M for this project available through surplus funds. NLLD held its monthly progress meeting with Dynamic and GIS on February 14th at the NLLDs office. Dynamic is still behind schedule, but they have made some progress. They are still close to finishing around 10,000LF of the project and close to partial acceptance, which leaves approximately 8,800LF that still requires multiple lifts to get to elevation. CPRA is okay with the change order. John Plaisance with GIS reported the project is taking more dirt than anticipated. The contractor is working everyday he can. The levee is settling earlier before he can finish, which is why it is taking so long, but it will result in a better levee that will be less susceptible to future settlement. T. Allen motioned, seconded by E. Pitre to approve Change Order No. 10 to increase the contract amount by $216,480.00 and to increase the contract time by an additional 39 days to extend the construction period to December 20, 2022 related to January 2023 adverse weather conditions and time to perform the additional required excavation as requested by Dynamic Group, LLC and recommended by the project engineer. No discussion or public comment. Motion passed unanimously.
Morganza to the Gulf Eastern Tie-in, Reach 3 Interim Improvements: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported funding for this project is included in the States Annual Plan this year. NLLD plans on continuing the meetings on March 13 with the USACE regarding the alignment of Reach 3 and the MtoG Eastern tie-in as a whole. NLLD expects that process to take some time but NLLD is moving forward with the permit application, design, and RoWs for the portion of the Reach 3 alignment in which the PAC alignment and NLLD alignment are consistent. Intracoastal Consultants has drafted a RoW map and NLLD plans on meeting with Raceland Sugars as the whole of the common alignment is on their property. DCC via IC is drafting the permit application for the project.
Ludevine Pump Station Replacement: D. Bourgeois and A. Ostheimer reported this project was developed out of the poor condition of the existing station and a conflict with the Reach 2 levee alignment. Recognizing this conflict and need, CPRA through GOMESA funding committed an initial $2.8M in the annual plan for construction of this project. NLLD is seeking additional funds to cover anticipated project cost increases. Some of these needed funds have been included in this years Annual Plan from CPRA. NLLD has been working with GIS Engineering on the development of this project. CPRA has submitted the amendment to the IGA that increases the available state funding to $4.42M for the project and NLLD is waiting on the executed amendment. NLLD does know the amendment was awaiting the final signature so NLLD should have it very soon. CPRA has closed out all comments and NLLD has given the drawings to LPG for a final review. NLLD is expecting to begin advertising the project ASAP.
I. Maintenance and other Regional Projects: A. Ostheimer reported NLLD is continuing to work with GIS and LPG to look at some drainage improvements around Allied Shipyard/Ledet Drive to remove the connectivity to the GIWW in the system. The TAZ unit as previously discussed is working in Woodland Heights which should be completed in the next couple of weeks. NLLD is continuing with the replacement of four culvert crossings and the dredging of the 28 Arpent Canal. NLLD has sent out an RFP for repairs to Cane Lane asphalt which was something needed to do upon completion of the Natural Gas project. This is just restoring to existing condition prior to the project.
Morganza to the Gulf: D. Bourgeois reported the Morganza to the Gulf project has its federal new start designation, a signed PPA and considerable funding for the project at $378M through the IIJA. NLLD is also pursuing additional ongoing funding from the Federal Government and are encouraged in what is being heard. Everything is falling into place; but everyone has to keep pushing for ongoing funding to match efforts and needs with the Corps. Even with funding coming, all involved needs to continue staying ahead of which projects are a priority and which other MtoG projects can be funded through other opportunities. D. Bourgeois said he will be in DC from March 6-8 for the MVFCA Spring Meetings where this and other topics of interest will be discussed with our delegation and others.
J. Equipment: Travis Colombel gave an update on equipment for this month. NLLD had a busy month with the TAZ unit. MBI responded to the unit after a leak in the hydraulic system near the power pack was discovered. Faulty O-rings at the fittings were identified. The O-rings were later replaced, and TAZ was placed back in service. Then, the power pack on the TAZ was partially backed out. M&L and Quest technicians repaired the poor frame of the power pack and replaced the damaged bolt and nuts. TAZ also had four cutting tools replaced on the barrel portion of the Fecon cutter. The TAZ was then placed back in service.
CPRA Fiscal Year 2024 Draft Annual Plan and 2023 State Master Plan (every six years): D. Bourgeois suggested if the board is interested in reviewing these plans and / or making a comment on either or both, please note that Public comments may be submitted for the plan now through March 25, 2023 via email, regular mail. To Submit Feedback for the 2023 DRAFT Coastal Master Plan or the FY 2024 DRAFT Annual Plan, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the online public comment form at the CPRA website. WWW.coastal.la.gov/our-plan/2023-coastal-master-plan/. Send comments in writing to CPRA Master Plan Comments, 150 Terrace Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.
K. General Items:
Photo Presentation: A. Ostheimer presented photos and gave explanations of the following projects: 28 Arpent Canal (near Brandy Wine); 60 Arpent with NLLD 350 buggy; Acadia Woods; Hollywood Canal southern side and northern structure; MtoG Reach 2; Woodland Heights
Other Meetings this Month: D. Bourgeois stated in addition to the regular monthly meeting circuit and those previously discussed, he participated in the following meetings:
CPRA Board Meeting: 1/18/23
DC Mardi Gras / Legislative and Other visits: 1/24/23-1/29/23
CPRA 2023 Draft Master Plan Hearing: 2/2/23
BTNEP Management Meeting: 2/9/23
Dr. LaFleur & Grad Students at NLLD: 2/10/23
BIG Luncheon: 2/13/23
SCIA Luncheon: 2/28/23
MAC Meeting: 2/28/23
C. Kief spoke about the ALBL Executive Committee meeting on Friday of that same week with flood insurance on the agenda. He welcomed all Board Members to attend. He talked about the involvement with the Attorney Generals office and that next month, NLLD will have a recommendation for action by the Board regarding this issue. D. Bourgeois said NLLD attorney Pat Amedee has been tracking this, the LPG, as well as many others and they are in support of this action.
Finance & Priority Committee: Committee Chairman L. Andolsek reported that the Finance and Priority Committee conducted a meeting on January 17, 2023, in which he did not attend. The NLLD Board has a copy of those minutes in tonights meeting packet. During that meeting, the committee reviewed and approved the Payables Report that was accepted by the full board in the Regular meeting that followed.
Accounts Payable: A motion was made by L. Andolsek, seconded by A. Peltier to accept the Payables Report as given. No discussion or public comment. Motion passed unanimously.
The President called for other engineering reports; there were none.
The President called for additional public comments; there were none. The President announced the next Regular Monthly Board Meeting will be at 5:20 PM (or immediately following F&P Committee meeting at 5:15 pm) on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at the Districts office located at 3862 Highway 1, Raceland, LA. The meeting was unanimously adjourned at 7:03 PM on motion by R. Foret, seconded by M. Crochet.
/s/Cory Kief, President
/s/Dwayne Bourgeois, Executive Director