Louisiana Stormwater Summit planned for Nov. 10 in Baton Rouge

trash garbage
This collection of some 81 tons of garbage from homes and vehicles across south Baton Rouge traveled along Wards Creek before settling on property in a wooded area off Essen Lane near the LSU Burden Museum and Gardens. (Marie Constantin)

Experts and activists plan to convene Nov. 10 at The Estuary at the Water Campus for the first Louisiana Stormwater Summit, meant to help residents and officials understand how creating stormwater management programs can help solve flooding and litter issues while improving quality of life and promoting economic development. 

The East Baton Rouge Metro Council this month is expected to debate charging property owners a stormwater management fee, partly to avoid a potential costly federal consent decree. But a robust, effective stormwater management program that addresses both water quantity (i.e. flooding) and water quality (including litter) could do far more, making the area more attractive for residents and business development, activists say. 

“This city could look different in five years,” says Marie Constantin, a member of the Louisiana Stormwater Coalition. 

The coalition and Bonton Associates are presenting the conference. The coalition drove this year’s successful effort to pass legislation allowing Louisiana municipalities to create stormwater utilities. 

According to the draft agenda, speakers and panelists will include:

  • Prabha Kumar of Black & Veatch Consulting, who will provide a stormwater program funding overview and discuss stakeholder engagement.
  • Jodie Cahoon, who manages one of the nation’s first stormwater programs in Tallahassee, Florida, and who will highlight how such programs can help improve insurance ratings and spur economic development. 
  • Jonathan McFarland and Kim Corts with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Kelvin Hill, one of Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s assistant chief administrative officers. 

The summit is scheduled for Nov. 10, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Physical capacity will be limited, but the event will be livestreamed via a private link for registered participants. 

Registration will be available beginning Oct. 18 online here.

The event is paid for by sponsors and receives no public funding, organizers say.