BREC gets $4.7M for Cypress Bayou flood mitigation project

BREC has secured funding for a Louisiana Watershed Initiative project to help reduce flood risk in areas surrounding the Cypress Bayou watershed, which is just south of Baker and includes BREC’s Greenwood Community Park.

The agency today received official notice that it has secured about $4.7 million in funding for the Cypress Bayou green infrastructure project. Plans include retaining water in the 660-acre Greenwood Community Park and flushing or releasing water slowly downstream, resulting in flood risk reductions to approximately 14,000 residents in the north Baton Rouge and Baker areas.

In a prepared statement, BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson says the funding will help mitigate the impact of rising construction costs, which are affecting not only this park improvement project, but dozens currently underway parishwide.

“The project will reroute stormwater from the surrounding waterways and drainage systems, store and cleanse millions of gallons of diverted stormwater, allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground, capture runoff from surrounding streets and provide educational opportunities for the community to better understand the value of well-planned green infrastructure,” Wilson says.

The project will be based on design concepts from the Greenwood Community Park master plan, which includes nature trails, bike trails, canoe launches, multipurpose fields, open space, playgrounds, gardens and meadows that will be paired with stormwater practices utilizing nature-based flood reduction systems such as bioretention areas, deepening and expansion of the existing lake, rain gardens, bioswales and constructed wetlands.

Meanwhile, BREC’s maintenance department will engage certain strategies to sustain operations. For instance, Grow Zones—areas utilizing native plants—will provide natural stormwater mitigation, increased biodiversity and improved water quality, allowing maintenance staff to mow less.

The $4.7 million award is part of a larger pool of funding for local and regional projects through the Louisiana Watershed Initiative.