Today, Gulf Restoration Network, released new maps outlining communities that the state of Louisiana has designated as “Resettlement Zones.” These are areas where the state has said they will not invest in assisting people with flood risk reduction. Instead, they are suggesting residents voluntarily relocate. The maps were compiled using data from state and federal officials and show that thousands of Louisiana residents currently live in “Resettlement Zones.” The maps predict that if no protective action is taken, hundreds of thousands of people will live in these zones within 50 years.
“We hope that these maps serve as a resource for communities. Currently, the state is offering people who live in these areas very few options besides voluntary relocation and there isn’t even funding for that,” says Johanna DeGraffenreid of Gulf Restoration Network. “We need our Governor to provide residents the resources they need to protect themselves and their families. Otherwise, they are left with no information, no support and no other options.”
Sea level rise and coastal land loss have put Louisiana’s coastal communities at high risk of flooding. According to the state of Louisiana, if an area would flood more than 14 feet during a 100 year storm, that area is deemed unsafe and a “Resettlement Zone.” In 2017, Louisiana will approve a new Coastal Master Plan. This plan is an opportunity for the state to protect these communities.
While the state has released maps to show flooding potential, they do not have maps that illustrate to residents whether or not their home falls within a Resettlement Zone. Gulf Restoration Network’s Resettlement Zone maps outline the state of communities today and predict the growth of the zones by 2062.
"Our communities are working hard to prepare for their future along the coast of Louisiana. They need honest and clear information about what options are available for their homes, and where the state is saying there will be no support if they decide to stay," said Sharon Gauthe of Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing (BISCO). "The choice is theirs, but the state needs to be direct so that it can be an informed one."
Gulf Restoration Network collaborated with Disastermap.net to create the maps. GRN will be traveling to communities across the coast to share these tools and support communities in advocating for non structural protections like flood-proofing, home elevation and voluntary relocation.
Gulf Restoration Network is a 22-year-old non-profit dedicated to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the health of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Resettlement Zone maps can be found here.
The maps are accompanied by a Companion Document and a technical description of data and methods. These two documents are tools for helping communities understand the content of the maps.