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Recovery Assistance & Mitigation Planning

Recovery Planner Jennifer Gerbasi


FloodSafe Information

Flooding is an issue for a large number of residents in the Parish and will continue to affect the day to day decisions we make. Changes to insurance premiums and federal funding may have an impact on the lives of your constituents whether they are in the Special Flood Hazard Area or not.

Use Homeowner’s Insurance to Elevate?

Posted on 04/10/2017

Here at the coast, we all know that our homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage.  People need a flood insurance policy to cover flood damage.  What about flood compliance?

If a structure has been burned, damaged by a tornado, and suffered wind damaged and water damage from rain, a homeowner’s insurance policy may help the rebuilding more broadly than we generally think.  Most know that the homeowner policy will pay to repair the house to the original condition.  What is less known is that there is an additional coverage in many homeowner policies that will help with code compliance for damaged structures, not just putting the structure back to the original condition.

Commercial and homeowner’s policies may have options for “Ordinance and Law Coverage” that will pay for some or all of the new code requirements put in place since the original structure was built.  This is an additional coverage that is usually purchased separate from the standard policy adding 10% to 20% of the base policy coverage to cover additional legal requirements when rebuilding. 

In Terrebonne Parish, structures that are damaged by any cause to at least 50% of the assessor’s value of the structure are deemed to be “substantially damaged.”     A substantially damaged home in the Special Flood Hazard Area would be required to meet current flood requirements.  Outside the Special Flood Hazard Area, the plumbing code now requires that structures be built 18 inches above the centerline of the road to ensure that sewerage treatment functions properly.  This could be triggered by a substantial damage designation as well.  This may be covered by a Law and Ordinance endorsement.

Ordinance and Law Coverage may be available on the homeowner policy to pay for coming into compliance with this ordinance if the insurance policy is paying for a covered loss as well.  It wouldn’t be available after a flood if that was the only insurance claim from an event, but it might help elevate the structure after a fire or wind event. 

Ask your insurance agent if your policy has, or could have, a Law and Ordinance endorsement.

Parish staff are not insurance professionals and all questions should be directed to an insurance agent.  


1 - The Parish uses the assessor’s database value to determine whether a structure is over 50% damaged, but people can bring an appraisal to refute that value.  

LA SAFE Community Wide Meeting March 28, 2017

Posted on 03/24/2017

Community Wide Meeting March 28, 2017

LA SAFE – Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments


The Louisiana Office of Community Development and the Foundation for Louisiana have been in the Parish for several months now leading conversations about the future of Terrebonne Parish.  The groups are gathering information in six parishes to help decide how to allocate $40 million won by the State in the National Disaster Resilience Competition sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Both residents and council members have met for focus groups and direct interviews to inform the help develop the Terrebonne Parish set of actions to adapt to our changing coastline and natural and manmade disasters. 



March 28th at the Civic Center from 6-8 pm,

Food, childcare and transportation available.


The facilitators from Terrebonne Parish will assist the State in presenting the projections for the Terrebonne coastline and inland threats from flooding and other events.  The goal is to share information and maps, and hear from the public about what they think of the projections and what residents want to do to adapt to the situation other than big levee and floodgate options.  This could be common practices such as buyouts, elevations, reconstructions, or newer adaptations such as safer  building practices, coastal restoration, or natural barriers – workforce development?  All approaches and suggestions are welcomed.  The best plan will take into account input from all residents in all different situations. 


See attached for a further description of the six-parish effort and a flyer for this specific event.  Post broadly within your circle to be sure that everyone is heard.  Feel free to post at churches, community centers, businesses or hand out at civic events.  All are welcome, and all have a perspective that needs to be captured.

Related Information

Meeting Flyer
Program Description

FEMA sending letters to policyholders to clearly communicate flood risk

Posted on 01/31/2017

FEMA sending letters to policyholders to clearly communicate flood risk

Please see the attached information from FEMA regarding mailings that will be going out to all policy holders. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014  requires FEMA to clearly communicate true flood risk to individual property owners. To meet this requirement, FEMA is writing to all National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders to explain their current policy rating and discuss how and when Elevation Certificates can be useful. Because policies are not all rated the same and information varies, the letter encourages each policyholder to contact his or her insurance agent or company to discuss the letter and their specific insurance rating options.  The letters are intended to be sure that the policy owners understand their flood risk, and the relationship between the cost of their policy and that risk.  The letters also provide links to materials that have tips on how a homeowner might reduce their flood risk and lower their premiums. 


The policy holders are not being asked to take any particular action, nor do the letters signify a change in the person’s policy.  They are informative only.  The letters are specific to the type of property owner, so to see each form letter content, go to

Related Information

FEMA Original Release

Rental Elevations Available

Posted on 01/05/2017

Call for Applications for Rental Elevations

Terrebonne Parish has been informed by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) that $1.6M in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding from Hurricane Gustav may be available to the Parish. 

This funding will be earmarked for rental properties that are and have been used as single family year-round rentals or leases.  This is an additional service beyond the residential elevations that have been funded with the Gustav FEMA HMGP funding. 

Changes in the National Flood Insurance Program have put pressure on the rental market that serves the workforce and low to moderate income families.  Rentals used as primary residences are considered second homes just like a vacation home that is used here and there throughout the year.  This program aims at improving the safety and quality of life for these renters.  There is an upfront cost to the owners that is difficult for many homeowners to bear, but may be a smart investment for a landlord. 

The program will require a 25% match, and only properties that have been flooded repeatedly will be considered.  The standard selection criteria will be in place should the demand be greater than the funding available.  The structures with the most storms, the most damage, that are the most cost effective, and that serve the most people will take priority among other criteria.  

The applicant must be the owner, and not the renter.  Contact the Planning Department Recovery Assistance and Mitigation Planning (RAMP) Division for an application and more details. 

985-873-6565 : 8026 Main Street, Second Floor, Houma, LA 70360

Elevation Programs Require Insurance - Now!

Posted on 10/26/2016

Elevation Programs Require Insurance - Now!

Grant Applications Open Soon

Get your insurance now


FEMA has been opening their applications in March or April to elevate, relocate, demolish or demolish and rebuild severe repetitive loss and repetitive loss properties.  

The program for SRL properties is now 100%.  These properties are designated as SRL by FEMA after they have flood damages equal to 100% of the value of the property, or 4 floods with paid claims over $5,000 each.  However, applicants must have flood insurance180days prior to the application to be eligible to apply. 

The Parish is willing to apply for buyouts for repetitive loss properties outside the Morganza to the Gulf footprint as well. 

Repetitive loss properties are eligible for up to 90% of the total project cost including the cost of relocating while the structure is being elevated, moved, or built. 

Remember to bring an elevation certificate to your insurance agent to see if you are eligible for any discounts at your current height. Elevated air conditioners and water heaters can earn discounts even if the structure still requires elevation. 

How to document damage for FEMA claim

Posted on 08/22/2016

Though Terrebonne did not sustain significant damages in the recent floods, it is always good to have a plan for documenting flood damage whenever it occurs.  Below are some tips for documenting the damages from a flood event. 

How to document damage for FEMA claim 

FEMA said there are several steps homeowners with flood damage should take as they clear their homes.

The first step homeowners should take is to turn off power to the home at the main breaker box.

Then, take pictures of everything you can. You should stand in the middle of each room and take pictures in every direction.

As items are being removed from the home, have someone at the door making a list of every single item that leaves the home and save that for the claims process.

After items are outside, take photos of the debris piles.

FEMA says it is important to register for FEMA help as soon as possible so that an inspector can get to your home and begin the claims process. People can register by calling 1-800-621-3362 or by going online to

FEMA says the agency cannot duplicate insurance coverage. So, if your insurance coverages something, FEMA cannot also cover it. FEMA can, however, help with immediate needs such as housing, medication and vital items like wheelchairs or false teeth that might have been lost or damaged.

Other tips for FEMA and Insurance Claims:

Keep copies of all the pictures you have.  Do not give your original pictures to the insurance agents or FEMA.  Be sure to keep an electronic copy that is safe even if that means sending them to a relative elsewhere or a safe deposit box. 

Write down everything you can, particularly if you did not have an inventory of the serial numbers and types of contents or fixtures in the house prior to the flood. 

If your insurance company provides a check that you do not believe is what you should receive, call your agent.  Before cashing the check, see if it is the final payment, or an interim check to help as the full claim is assessed.

Take your own pictures.  Do not rely on FEMA or the insurance company to keep a photographic record of the damages. 

If you disagree with the amount of money the insurance company wants to provide, communicate in writing with documentation showing the cost of repairs and damages.  There are strict timelines, and even if you have spoken on the phone or written that it is “not enough,” without further information in writing showing how much you think the loss should be valued and why, you can lose your ability to receive the proper amount. 

KEEP A COPY OF EVERY WRITTEN DOCUMENT from the insurance company, FEMA or from you. 

Adapted from original article Tuesday, August 16th 2016, 1:00 pm CDTTuesday, August 16th 2016, 3:27 pm CDT WAFB Staff


Proper Clean-up Following Flood Can Reduce Molds and Mildew and Lessen Health Risks

Posted on 08/19/2016

Donations have been  requested for rubber boots, buckets, bleach, mops, paper towels, and other supplies for cleaning the thousands of homes affected by the recent flooding.  Below are some tips for preventing mold. Fans, dust and mold masks, socks, and protective eyewear may also be appreciated.     

Moist, fibrous materials and stagnant water provide the ideal climate for mold growth.  However, according to disaster response officials, the risk of illnesses associated with exposure to mold following flooding can be reduced.

Large numbers of airborne mold spores can trigger allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections and other respiratory problems.  Exposure to high spore levels also can cause development of an allergy to mold, creating long-term problems.

The basic rule is, if you can see or smell mold, take steps to eliminate the excess moisture; then, cleanup and remove the mold by:

  • Using a non-ammonia soap or detergent and hot water or a commercial cleaner.
  • Thoroughly scrubbing all contaminated surfaces (using a stiff brush to clean masonry walls) with the soap or detergent.  Use an excessive amount of cleaning solution for best results.
  • Rinsing clean with water.

After cleaning, apply a disinfectant solution of household bleach (one-fourth cup bleach per gallon of water) to the surface.  If the mold has already started to grow back, try a stronger solution: one-half gallon bleach in five gallons of water.  A bleach solution should be applied with a handled garden sprayer.  Thoroughly wet the studs, wall cavities and floors.  Avoid excessive run-off.  Use a wet-dry vacuum to collect extra bleach solution.  Allow the bleach solution to dry naturally for a six- to eight-hour time period.  The bleach solution should not be removed or dried quickly - extended contact time is important.  A safety tip:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia: the fumes are toxic.
  • Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Ventilate the working area well by opening doors and windows and using fans.

Molds can infiltrate Sheetrock, carpeting and insulation.  When working around moldy areas, use respiratory protection.  Individuals vary in their susceptibility to these substances, but almost anyone who breathes enough spores will have an adverse reaction.  These reactions can include tightening in the chest, flu-like symptoms or even more severe reactions.

The following individuals appear to be at higher risk for adverse health effects of molds:

  • Infants and children;
  • Elderly;
  • Immune-compromised patients (individuals with HIV infection, cancer, chemotherapy, liver disease);
  • Pregnant women and
  • Individuals with existing respiratory conditions for sensitivities such as allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity and asthma.

For more information, visit the following site:

Courtesy of SD, 2010

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Louisiana

Posted on 08/19/2016

Terrebonne was very lucky this last week with minimal damages from this historic flooding event.  However, loved ones or colleagues may have had significant damages.  Below are some reminders of assistance that may be available from FEMA, and contact information to request it if needed.

We wish all a safe and full recovery. 

Release date: 

August 14, 2016

Release Number: 


Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of Louisiana.

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable.  Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters.  Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.  (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.  (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.   (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.  (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance.  Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses.  Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.  (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact.  This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.  (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)
  • Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and social security matters.

How to Apply for Assistance:

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. 

New Program Available for Shutters and Roofs

Posted on 06/08/2016

Parish Gauging Interest for Funding Applications

FEMA has announced that it will make funding available for wind retrofits to increase the wind resistance capacity of structures.> The program is intended to “encourage wind mitigation of existing residential buildings in hurricane-prone regions.”
Various packages will be made available in Terrebonne Parish if there is a demand and funding is awarded.

Packages are available whether the roof covering is replaced, or not.> The program will:

  • Develop a continuous load path to strengthen new or existing roof
  • Strengthen vents and soffits
  • Strengthen overhangs and gable walls
  • Protect doors, windows and garages from flying debris and wind pressure

The Fact Sheet and guidance documents are attached for your review.> Anyone interested in this opportunity should call 873-6565 for more information about the application process.

If there is sufficient interest in the program, and application will be developed for the 2017 funding cycle. The grant would be a Predisaster Mitigation Grant which is nationally competitive and requires a 25% nonfederal share. The nonfederal share will be paid by the property owner.>



Related Information

Fact Sheet

Buyout Properties for Sale

Posted on 05/25/2016

In this unusual opportunity, substantially damages, repetitively flooded, and severe repetitive loss structures were purchased with HUD Community Development Block Grant funds and demolished or otherwise cleared from the land. The properties, unlike FEMA HMGP properties, can be sold for uses limited only by the law, homeowner association limitations, and grant requirements. See the attached list for the properties that will be auctioned off in June.

Preview: 5/20/2016 - 6/19/2016>

Bidding: 6/20/2016 - 6/22/2016 at 10:00 am>

Link to auction website:

Like all of the Terrebonne Parish projects with federal funds, what will be rebuilt on these properties must be flood safe. Any new structures built on the property will have to carry flood insurance, and will be built without fill to the 2008 DFIRM maps or the ABFE 2006 maps, whichever is higher, plus 1 foot of freeboard.

The proceeds are called “program income” and must be expended on another project that serves low to moderate income beneficiaries. The state must approve of the use of the program income. It is likely that it will be used to complete Susie Canal Levee Extension, which is currently underfunded.

Please advise anyone interested in the properties to review these materials or call Purchasing or Recovery Assistance for more information (873-6754 or 873-6565).


Related Information

Propety Address List

State deadline extended - Grants

Posted on 04/27/2016

State deadline extended.  Parish Still Accepting Applications to elevate, rebuild, relocate or buy flood damaged houses! 

The Parish is applying for funding to elevate, relocate, or buyout certain Severe Repetitive Loss (100% funded) or Repetitive Loss (90% funding) properties. FEMA has identified which properties are on the list, and the Parish has sent direct mail to the owners of those addresses. This year for the first time, FEMA has required that structures were insured as of March 15, 2016, so anyone who was not insured may not have received an invitation to apply.

Only those properties outside Morganza to the Gulf proposed footprint and not on leased land can be bought. No property in the V zone can be demolished and rebuilt with FEMA funds. Relocation requires that the owner purchase land outside the floodplain and transfer ownership of the original site, which will be kept as green space.

The state extended the timeframe that the Parish must submit the application draft. If any of your constituents call for assistance with the grant application, let them know that we have extended the application period to Monday, May 2nd.

The Parish accepts Letters of Interest in elevation all year, and will begin processing those applicants and any others responding to the recruitment materials immediately. Call 873-6565 for more information or to get a packet if needed.

The Parish will also be submitting applications for a drainage project for Petit Caillou, the Living Mitigation Project for Lake Boudreaux being developed with the US Corps of Engineers, and the Oyster Bed Surge Protection System project to protect the coastline near Lake Tambour or Chien.

The Parish will also be applying for some generators for critical facilities in order to keep continuity of service at the Government Tower, Police communications, and the Port.

These funds are competitive nationally, and there is no guarantee of funding. 



Using Insurance Benefits to Relocate to a Safer Lot

Posted on 03/22/2016

Terrebonne Parish residents are no strangers to flooding, or reducing their flood risk. Over 1,000 structures have been elevated to reduce the risk of flooding again. The Planning Department used FEMA funds to demolish ~650 storm damaged structures after hurricanes Gustav and Ike. About 160 structures have been bought out by government programs.

Residents may not know that property owners may be able to relocate a structure in or out of the floodplain with their private insurance benefits. This may be an opportunity to relocate a structure rather than elevating a house 8-14 feet from the ground or it being demolished.
If a structure is substantially damaged, within two years of the last claim, a flood insurance policy holder may be able to get $30,000 to relocate the structure somewhere on the same property or to another property as long as the risk is significantly reduced. At this time, the $30,000 can’t be used to purchase the new land, but it can be used for:

  • Engineering fees, Permits
  • Preparing the moving route,
  • Clearing vegetation for the installation of lifting support, 
  • Disconnection and reconnection of utilities
  • Clearing of the abandoned insured structure foundation and grading,
  • The new foundation and utility connections, and more!
  • The insured structure is relocated and the land is not sold or restricted.
A structure that has been substantially damaged (over 50% of the value paid in flood claims) is out of compliance with the NFIP regulations, which the Parish is required to adopt in order for the Parish to be eligible to purchase flood insurance. A non compliant structure is required to be elevated, relocated, or demolished to get back into compliance. The Standard Flood Insurance Policy has a rider called “ICC,” or Increased Cost of Compliance benefits to help any policy holder get back into compliance. This insurance policy benefit is worth up to $30,000.
At this time, 20 structures are considered Severe Repetitive Losses due to either being damaged more than 100% of the fair market value (FMV) by 2 flood claims, or flooding at least 4 times for $5,000 in damages or more. As many as 127 structures are designated by the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as Repetitive Losses. These structures have flooded at least twice with the average of each flood being 25% of the FMV. Each of these FEMA NFIP designations means that the structures are also Substantially Damaged and out of compliance. These structures are the targets of an ongoing grant application that may pay 90-100% for elevation, reconstruction, or relocation of a structure. Under the grant the original land, unlike with ICC, must be sold to the Parish and designated as open space use.

Related Information

Using Insurance Benefits to Reduce Risk Through Relocation

Stormwater Retention on Hazard Mitigation Sites

Posted on 03/07/2016

Recently, fruit trees have been planted on Parish owned properties purchased through FEMA buyouts after storm events. Other properties have been planted with shrubs and trees that are good for bird habitat and food. All of these plantings should also reduce flooding in the immediate area.

Using the National Tree Benefit Calculator to look up the species planted, or one closely related, the 140 trees may take up 473,970 gallons of water over 10 years. This assumes that the trees are 1" in diameter now and will grow to 6" by year 10. Assuming they grow to 10 inches over 30 years, they would take up over 3 million gallons of water. That is enough to cover 10 acres one foot deep in water.

When the Parish purchases homes with FEMA funds, the properties must remain in open space use permanently. The Parish has few options for transferring ownership of the land. This project will make use of these properties as productive community gardens and stormwater sinks.

Properties that used to be sources of runoff from homes, slabs, driveways and patios will now take up water. Water will be used by the fruit trees, and the root system will stabilize the soils if the land is flooded.

The fruit will be available to anyone in the community. They will be able to go on site and pick it. The nonprofits, youth groups, or churches may opt to pick the fruit for local schools or food banks in the future.

Thanks to UPS for planting and funding this venture, Keep Terrebonne Beautiful for getting the funding and coordinating efforts, and Bayou Grace, BTNEP, Sowing Seeds, Wetland Warriors, the South Louisiana Wetland Discovery Center, and all others who took their time and energy to plant.




Related Information

Stormwater Retention on HMGP Properties

Predisaster Mitigation and Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Applications Open Soon

Posted on 02/19/2016

FEMA has announced the application period for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant programs: March 15 - June 15, 2016. These applications are available to repetitive loss (RL) and severe repetitive loss (SRL) properties. A repetitive loss property is one that has been flooded (as proven by flood claims) 2 or more times with damage adding up to 50% of the value of the structure. A severe repetitive loss property has flood damage over 100% of the value of the structure, or has flooded at least 4 times with at least $5,000 in damages each time. FEMA creates this list, and the Parish develops the application from those eligible.

The Parish recently sent reminders to Severe Repetitive Loss structures reminding them that the program for SRL properties is now 100%, and that they need to get or maintain flood insurance to be eligible to apply.

The Parish was most recently awarded $2.8M for 14 SRL property elevations and $4M for 23 RL elevations. We hope to submit at least as many structures this funding round.

The Repetitive Loss property program requires that the property owners provide 25% of the total project cost as a nonfederal match. It is unknown at this time if there will be funding for low to moderate income applicants to help with that match. If they are substantially damaged, they may be able to access up to $30,000 in insurance benefits (ICC) to help with the cost. 

The Parish accepts Letters of Interest in elevation all year, and will begin processing those applicants and any others responding to the recruitment materials immediately.

Solutient, Inc. is under contract to prepare and submit the application and their staff will be available as of March 15th for property owners to ask questions, explain the program, or accept documents. The phone number is 857-4400.

PDM: The PDM program provides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects for the purpose of reducing overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time, also reducing reliance on federal funding from actual disaster declarations. FEMA is making $90 million available for FY 2016 PDM grants.

FMA: The FMA grant program provides funds on an annual basis so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FEMA is making $199 million available for FY 2016 FMA grants.

States, Tribes and Territories, or Applicants, must submit their PDM and FMA grant applications to FEMA via the Mitigation eGrants system (MT eGrants) on the FEMA Grants Portal on the Internet by 3 pm (ET) on June 15, 2016.  The state will likely require Terrebonne Parish to provide the application May 15, 2016.


Fruit for the Communities - A Time to Sow

Posted on 01/29/2016

Terrebonne Parish is pleased to announce a cooperative effort to plant fruit trees on properties mitigated by the Parish. Area nonprofits are planting several types of fruit trees on properties purchased with mitigation funds. All of these properties can only be used for open space uses. Trees can provide not only fruit for the residents, but additional flood control by sequestering rainfall. Please see below and attached for the sites currently identified. The neighbors will receive notification of the plantings to invite them to participate. This serves a dual purpose of informing them of the activity so that noone will be alarmed.

A 2015 FloodSafe Minute introduced the National Tree Benefit Calculator that allows anyone to enter a tree type and size to see the water uptake of the individual tree as well as the estimated financial benefit and added property value. Go to > to check it out.

For full information please download the attached flyer. 

Fruit for the Communities - A Time to Sow
Keep Terrebonne Beautiful has successfully competed for a grant from UPS to plant 140 fruit trees in Terrebonne Parish. The grant was awarded for planting a community garden of fruit trees. Louisiana Sweet oranges, satsumas, figs, and lemons are being provided by a grower. Volunteers from Keep Terrebonne Beautiful, Bayou Grace, Sowing Community Seeds, South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center and BTNEP have organized plantings in February at various sites. If you or an organization to which you belong want to assist in the planting or maintenance of these trees, please call Wendy Billiot at 851-7578 or Brenda Babin at 873-0107.
February 11-   6877 Shrimpers Row       9:30 am         BTNEP
               - then  5123 Grand Caillou Road until ~ noon BTNEP
                        - 608 Columbus                 9:30               Sowing Seeds
February 20- 520 Woodhaven           10:00               UPS
February 24- 1427 Hwy 55                  10:00               Bayou Grace
These trees will be planted on Parish owned properties purchased through FEMA buyouts after storm events. When the Parish purchases homes with FEMA funds, the properties must remain in open space use permanently. The Parish has few options for transferring ownership of the land. This project will make use of these properties as productive community gardens.
The fruit will be available to anyone in the community. They will be able to go on site and pick it. The nonprofits, youth groups, or churches may opt to pick the fruit for local schools or food banks in the future.
Shovels and all materials will be provided if you do not have your own.

Each participant or observer must sign a waiver of liability for the Parish and nonprofits. BTNEP is also planting sites for bird habitat. Further updates to come.

Call Jennifer Gerbasi in the Planning Department at 873-6565 if your organization is interested in similar activities on parish HMGP properties. 


Related Information

Flyer with dates and agenda for redistribution

CPRA to host four Community Conversations on Flood Risk and Resilience Program

Posted on 01/25/2016

As part of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), in partnership with the Office of Community Development, will host a series of four Community Conversations in coastal Louisiana in early 2016 to share information about the Flood Risk and Resilience Program.

Attendees will learn more about future coastal flood risk; how the State, parishes, and residents can reduce this risk; and the State’s approach to residential elevation, commercial floodproofing, and this risk; and the State’s approach to residential elevation, commercial floodproofing, and voluntary acquisition.

Input received at these meetings will inform how CPRA’s Flood Risk and Resilience Program can be tailored to best meet the needs of local communities.

Each Community Conversation will include:

  • An open house from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. designed to share information and gather residents’ feedback about current and future flood risk through interactive vulnerability mapping;
  • A CPRA presentation at 5:30 p.m. on the Coastal Master Plan, the Flood Risk and Resilience Program, and nonstructural projects being analyzed; and,
  • Discussion about resilience measures and what types of nonstructural projects would best benefit the community as a whole.

The Community Conversation schedule will be in Houma February 17, 2016.

February 17, 2016

Terrebonne Parish Public Library Main Branch

151 Library Drive

4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact
Parish staff will attend to answer specific questions about risk reduction programs and resources.





Related Information

Flyer with dates and agenda for redistribution

What to Do Before and After a Flood

Posted on 01/06/2016

We are past the official storm season and had no major event in 2015. Still, we need to be prepared for a flood at any time. Advance planning and research of options in the off season can save time and money, and lives, in future events. The range of damages after a flood can be major or minor. Minor flood damage can include a small amount of seepage in the walls or crawlspace, but that can cause permanent damage to the structure. Your car may also become flooded. No matter what the damage, keep these 20 flood safety tips in mind.

1.Wading Through Flood Waters

Wading through flood waters is dangerous for several reasons. First, flood waters can be moving at a rapid pace. Before you know it, you can be swept away and drown. Next, flood water can contain hundreds of different chemicals that are harmful for the body. In addition, bacteria and other microorganisms can cause disease and infection.

2.Driving in Flood Waters

Driving in flood waters is dangerous and risky. Cars can be swept away in just a few inches of water. You can become stranded, or worse – lose control and be swept into a waterway, other traffic, electric lines, structures, etc.

3.Keep Flood Insurance Policies up to Date

Flood insurance can protect you from an unexpected flood. Typically, the people that assume they do not need flood insurance are the people most affected by flood damages. > Contact an insurance agent for rates and insurance information.

4. Listen to Flood Stage Warnings

Every waterway has its own unique flood stage. Every single time a warning is posted for floods, be prepared. Flooding can come from the bayou, the gulf, or a heavy rain storm.

5.Understand the Dangers of Mold and Mildew

Mold after a flood can cause major problems even years after flood waters have receded. When hurricane Ike ravaged Texas, millions of tons of debris had to be removed because of growing mold and mildew problems.

6.Using Electricity After the Flood

Always remember that electrical lines and water do not mix. Standing in water and attempting to remove electrical wires is plain dangerous. Also remember that even if you do not have power in some locations in your house, not all the lines could be dead.

7.Handling Animals after a Flood

Snakes, rodents, and stray animals can be extremely dangerous after a flood. From bites to diseases, never handle or approach animals after a flood. Keep in mind that insects are also a nuisance after a flood and can carry diseases.

8.Wear Protective Clothing and Gloves

Always wear protective clothing and gloves after a flood. Chemicals, animals, and debris can cause serious illness or injury. It is also a good idea to wear a protective mask when cleaning up after a flood. Many of the chemicals or mold can cause respiratory problems.

9.Use Caution on Previously Flooded Roads and Bridges

Floods can damage roads and bridges. Unseen structural damage can mean it is not safe to drive on previously flooded roadways. Be sure that the area has been inspected by officials and approved for travel.

10.Get a Home Inspection to Assess and Document the Damages

Whether it is the insurance company, FEMA, or the local jurisdiction, make an effort to be sure that your damages are documented. Many people don’t make an insurance claim if they think the damage is near the deductible. 100% grant opportunities may be available to those who have four claims of $5,000 or more.

11. Inspect Your Septic Tank or Sewage System

If your house is flooded, so is your septic tank or sewage system. Raw sewage is extremely dangerous and can carry a multitude of infectious agents. Be sure your plumbing system is intact before resuming your daily routines in your home.

12.Drinking Water after a Flood

Unless you get an official okay from your township or city, do not drink the water. Whether you have a well, spring water, or city water, the system may have been contaminated by flood waters. Have a professional test your water after the flood to be sure. Until then, drink bottled water.

13.Lighting Candles in a Building

Candles are a staple of emergency equipment. Why would lighting a candle be bad after a flood? The main reason for not lighting a candle is the possible presence of flammable liquids such as oil and gasoline. Lighting a candle in a flooded building could create a fire emergency on top of the flood emergency.

14.Keep Immunizations Current

Have you had a tetanus shot in the last ten years? Are your immunizations current? Floods can cause diseases because of the mix of microorganisms within the flood waters. Keep yourself and your children current on their immunizations to prevent problems. Access to medical care may be decreased after an event.

15. Use Caution to avoid Carbon Monoxide Buildup

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas. Keep generators and gas-powered heaters in areas with good ventilation. Also make sure your home is well ventilated during clean up. It is also a good idea to keep a carbon monoxide detector in the home.

16.Take Photos of Structures Inside and Out

I always recommend keeping a disposable camera in your emergency supply kit. Photos of damages can help you to make a claim to your insurance company after the flood is over. The photos can also be used to document the extent of the floods. Finally, you may even be able to learn how to better protect your home from another flood if you live in a flood prone area.

17.Have a Weather Safety Kit

Even a small storm can cause a loss of power for days. Not having power, especially in the winter months can be dangerous. Always have a weather emergency kit available. The kit can be stored in a large plastic bin and put in the corner of your garage or a closet. Maybe you will never use the kit, but maybe you will. Learn how to make a weather emergency kit.

18.Eating After a Flood

Foods in the pantry can be dangerous after a flood. High humidity and the spread of insects can cause even seemingly dry foods to become infested. Thrown out dry goods in boxes. Also throw out any foods that came in contact with the flood water.

19. Know Your Flood Risk

Is your structure lower than the suggested safe elevation (base flood elevation)?> An elevation certificate provided by a licensed surveyor, architect, or engineer will be required for flood insurance policy renewals.> It will also contain the projected height of flood at that specific location which could help the owner plan for storms.> For a quick look, go to>floodmaps.

20.Lower your Flood Risk if Possible

Whether raising the water heater or air conditioning unit, putting electric appliances or valuables above the projected flood levels, or raising the whole house, there are ways to reduce losses if a flood does occur. Call the local floodplain manager at 985-873-6567 for information about lowering your flood risk.

Adapted from: Things You Should NEVER Do After a Flood

Flood Safety Tips for After the Floods

By Rachelle Oblack


Federal Flood Risk Management Guideline Revisions Released

Posted on 10/27/2015

 On January 30, 2015, the President signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input, which amended E.O. 11988, Floodplain Management, issued in 1977. After eight public listening sessions the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group provided the Water Resources Council with recommendations.

On October 8, 2015, the Water Resources Council considered the recommendations of the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group and approved issuing revised Guidelines for Implementing Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management, and Executive Order 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input. A summary found on pages 3-5 identify the “Version Highlights” of the guidance. Link:

FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have produced fact sheets in response to several frequently asked questions regarding the intended scope of the President’s Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) and the anticipated impacts to many of the programs of these agencies.

The Applicability of Executive Order 136090 Fact Sheet responds to several frequently asked questions regarding the intended scope of the President’s FFRMS and the potential impacts to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Link:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers produced talking points and a fact sheet, Applicability of Floodplain Management and FFRMS Executive Orders to USACE Permitting Authorities, in response to questions about Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. Link:

HUD’s Implementation of E.O. 13690 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard addresses the application (or not) of the FFRMS to single-family home mortgages for acquisition or refinancing of existing homes under the Federal Housing Administration or any other programs.

Clearing Title Getting Easier for some Properties

Posted on 09/08/2015

Since the 2005 hurricanes, the inheritance process has become easier and less expensive for many people. There is now a simplified and less expensive affidavit process that may allow families to clear title quickly and without extensive research and legal fees.

For many families, the lack of clear title to inherited property created serious barriers to their recovery after hurricanes or a death or loss of income in the family. People who live on property passed down to them without a will or by family agreement, without using the legal system, do not have clear title to property. Owners without clear title cannot sell the property, use the property as collateral for a loan, or get federal or state disaster aid for home repair.

If you live on property you inherited, please call the Louisiana Civil Justice Center at 1-800-310-7029 or Louisiana Appleseed at 504-561-7304 to learn how you can get clear legal title to your property. Or visit > A sample of the affidavit is attached as well as background information on the process.

Related Information

Sample Affidavit

For Flood Insurance – Don’t Overvalue Your House

Posted on 08/18/2015

The value you use on your flood insurance can make the difference between being eligible for a 100% or 90% grant, and not receiving grant assistance to elevate.

Terrebonne Parish recently submitted a request for elevation funds for 14 Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) or Repetitive Loss (RL) properties. These are properties that are targeted by FEMA due to either having been damaged to 100% or 50% of the fair market value respectively. Each of these structures will be funded at 100% or 90% if the Parish competes successfully.

The Flood Mitigation Grants are available each year. The list of eligible properties is created by FEMA based on the information the insurance company provides from flood policies. Some people will likely be on the grant next year, but this year missed out. Their houses were valued at more than the assessed value or appraised value, and therefore FEMA thought that they didn’t qualify. Since the Parish can only include qualified parties, these families couldn’t be included in the grant.

If you believe a structure should qualify, FEMA may require an appraisal which may cost up to $450. You may be able to work with your agent to lower the reported value now in preparation for next year’s application. Contact your insurance agent>.



Be Sure to Opt In for Lower Flood Insurance

Posted on 07/07/2015

Make Sure You Pay the Correct Surcharge

As of April 1, 2015, every new or renewed NFIP policy includes an annual surcharge required by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA). The surcharge amount depends on the use of your insured building and the type of policy insuring the building, regardless of its flood zone or date of construction. Primary residences will pay $25. 

If you or your agents don’t fill out the paperwork proving that the structure is a primary residence, you will be charged $250 instead of $25.

Policies for owner-occupied, single-family detached buildings and individual condominium units that are your primary residence will include a $25 HFIAA surcharge. If you have a contents-only policy for a rental unit that is your primary residence, it includes the $25 HFIAA surcharge. Policies for all other buildings include a $250 HFIAA surcharge.

To ensure that you pay the correct surcharge at renewal, you must complete and return a Verification of Primary Residence Status form to your flood insurance provider, which will mail you the form before it issues the renewal notice. You are required to respond within 30 days of receipt.

To receive the $25 HFIAA surcharge, you or your agent must submit one of the following with the form:

  • Drivers license
  • Automobile registration
  • Proof of insurance for a vehicle
  • Voter registration
  • Documents showing where children attend school
  • Homestead Tax Credit form for primary residence
If the form and documentation are not received within the 30-day period, your renewal premium will reflect the $250 HFIAA surcharge.

If your policy is coming up for renewal soon and you have not received the letter and form, or if you have misplaced it, please contact your insurance agent.

The surcharge will be kept in a reserve created to ensure that the National Flood Insurance Program can pay all flood claims after disasters without going into debt. FEMA states that this surcharge will offset subsidized policies still paid by structures built before the Flood Insurance Rate Maps were adopted for that jurisdiction.

Gamers! Can You Build a Floodsafe House?

Posted on 06/29/2015

The Last House Standing

Two interesting approaches are related to this phrase. One is an app to get the you social media gamers thinking about flood safety. It was released this summer to get tech users to have fun competing for flood safety superiority.
The game, Last House Standing, uses an innovative app to get the younger generation or any savvy user to compete for the safest construction. This may be as fun as flood outreach gets. 

Each player gets $100,000 and three (3) minutes to build a house to withstand flood. The game is run, and the house that has received the least damage is the winner. 

Produced by a Florida nonprofit, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, this app is trying to reach the next generation of homeowners and kids with fun, engaging techniques that also teach.

Email the attachment to the gamers in your life to test it out or download for free from the app store.

The other reference to the Last House Standing is cement homes. Interesting site if you want to check out these super solid homes at

Related Information

FloodSafe Minute and Scan Code

Flood Mitigation Assistance Application Period Open

Posted on 06/11/2015

Flood Mitigation Assistance Application Period Open
New Mitigation application open for Severe Repetitive Loss and Substantially Damaged Repetitive Loss Properties.

FEMA is providing up to $180,000,000 through the Flood Mitigation Assistance and Pre-disaster Mitigation programs for elevating storm damaged structures. These funds are awarded through a national competition, and are not already earmarked for the Parish. 

The Parish will be sending invitations to apply to the owners of the Severe Repetitive Loss structures offering 100% of the funding to elevate those structures. Those eligible are pre-identified through FEMA. There are two different ways to qualify for SRL status. One is to have two floods that have damages greater than the value of the structure. The other is to have four floods, two within 10 years, of $5,000 or more in value. The second is, for the first time, prioritized lower than the 100% damage criteria, so the Parish may be awarded some and not others. 

The repetitive loss structure applications are limited to $3M federal share, and are lower in priority for FEMA approval than any SRL property. Depending on the competitive strategy there will be a 10% -25% match requirement which will be the applicant’s responsibility. The Pre-disaster (PDM) funds are largely reserved for planning activities this year, also limiting the potential for awards. Terrebonne recently completed the Hazard Mitigation Plan Update, and therefore will not apply for planning funds at this time. 

Applicant inquiries about the program should be directed to the application manager, Solutient, at 985-857-4400. Only those on the FEMA list of eligible applicants can apply, though the Parish will always accept letters of interest. 

Elevated Foundation Systems

Posted on 04/13/2015

Elevated Foundation Systems May Be the Next Great Way to Rebuild Safer and Stronger 

New Mitigation Approach from FEMA Launched for Sandy may be available for future storms elsewhere.

The growing threat of floods and hurricanes throughout the nation and increasing costs for elevations may have been the driving force behind a new pilot program for flood mitigation. Rather than elevating houses, rebuilding is encouraged. FEMA is providing up to $45,000 to construct the foundation of a new home should a flood survivor opt to demolish and rebuild a structure. The grant also pays for nonconstruction costs such as demolition, surveys, design fees, and permits above and beyond the construction cap. The same funds can also be used for wind mitigation costs as well, such as shutters or hurricane proof glass, doors, or roof components.

Eligibility requirements limit the funds to primary residences owned by the applicant at the time and made substantially damaged by the storm or already severe repetitive loss structures. This would mean that structures already substantially damaged would not be eligible for the program. Structures in the V-zone are also ineligible. Terrebonne will encourage this approach to be available for all substantially damaged structures if possible, and work to have this grant program available soon after a storm when insurance proceeds are available.

If a structure has insurance claims worth more than 50% of the assessors value of the property, it would be determined by the National Flood Insurance Program to be substantially damaged and eligible for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) insurance benefits (up to $30,000). These can be used to elevate, relocate, or demolish a structure or to match other programs for those activities. FEMA programs generally require a 25% match and the ICC benefits can be used for that match.

FEMA hopes that these incentives used together will enable people to choose 
demolish and to rebuild rather than elevate a storm damaged structure with questionable structural integrity.

The current Sandy guidance is attached for more details.

This mitigation method is new, and only time will tell if it will be offered in future storms.

Related Information

FEMA Program Description

National Tree Benefit Calculator Available

Posted on 03/13/2015

New Website Helps People Select the Right Trees for Stormwater Management and Adding Curb Appeal
Terrebonne Parish and the U.S. Corps of Engineers have partnered to do a study and develop plans for Bio Shields to lessen the effect of storm surge and provide wind break as well. Part of this process will be to identify tree, brush and grass species that will grow and meet the needs of the project. A new web site can help planners and the general public choose the right tree to help control water on property. This could be used to decide what to plant, or decide if you really want to cut down that tree in the back part of your lot.

The calculator , available at > , is very easy to use. Select a tree variety, put in the approximate diameter of the trunk, and click on “calculate.” For a live oak 45 inches across, the results show us one reason they are a favorite tree in Southern Lousiana.
One large live oak can intercept 21,137 gallons of stormwater runoff in a year and reduce 1,096 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air. The summary shows a $266 benefit each year.
The calculator shows the overall benefits in a chart and separate tabs for Storm Water, Property Value, Energy, Air Quality, and CO2.

A 15” diameter Southern Magnolia can intercept 2,531 gallons of stormwater per year (15” Live oak: 3,929; 15” Pecan 3,750; Leuland Cypress – 45” 16,210, 15” 2,450, 15” White Pine, 2,450).

Check out the site and put in a tree you have been meaning to plant or to cut. Make an informed decision about the work that tree is performing for stormwater management. The water will go somewhere. Having trees in that low spot in the back of the property may help it stay drier, and provide shade and wind break.

Related Information

PDF of FloodSafe Minute with Screen Captures

Why do I need an Elevation Certificate?

Posted on 01/21/2015

An Elevation Certificate may help you save money on flood insurance for structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area and is required by FEMA mitigation programs as part of an application for all structures. 

An Elevation Certificate will let you know how high your structure is now, and if it meets the current and proposed elevation requirements set by the NFIP. An Elevation Certificate is required by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to certify the elevation of a building for insurance rating purposes. Without the data provided by an Elevation Certificate the property cannot be properly rated for flood insurance. 

Many people in Terrebonne Parish may be paying too much for flood insurance in the Special Flood Hazard Area. The preferred risk policies are sometimes higher rates than a policy obtained with an Elevation Certificate that is based on actual risk. New regulations adopted by congress in 2012 could make it more expensive to get an insurance policy without an elevation certificate.
Get a certificate now! The insurance savings may pay for the cost. 

In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is requiring people applying for funding to elevate their homes to provide elevation certificates prior to approval of the grant. The application itself may be rejected if applicants did not provide an Elevation Certificate. 

Elevation Certificates can only be completed by a licensed land surveyor, engineer, or architect who is licensed by the State. There is a list of firms under “Surveyors Land” in the phone book that provide this service in the Parish. It can take weeks to get an EC in times of high demand. Don’t get caught without one when your insurance renewal is due. 

The attachment provides more information about measuring your flood risk and the resulting Elevation Certificate.

Related Information

Finding the first floor elevation

Teaching Tools for Children – Staying Safe

Posted on 01/05/2015

As we move into the new year, we reflect on how to improve our quality of life. Part of that is the safety of the community. Often, we look to FEMA for tips on safety, but other institutions have a lot to offer as well. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Severe Storms Laboratory has developed teaching tools that include Owlie Skywarn and Billy and Maria storm safety topics in coloring books and other accessible materials for kids. The attached Owlie Skywarn: Hurricanes product and other tools for educators and students are available at Games on line also teach about safety and the environment at 

Be safe, be well, and happy new year.

Related Information

Teachiing Tool for Children

Take Advantage of End of the Year Sales to Get Pet Supplies for Evacuation

Posted on 12/18/2014

Take Advantage of End of the Year Sales to Get Supplies for Pet Evacuation

It is always a good time to think about flood safety and our furry, feathered or slippery housemates. 

When you evacuate take your pet with you! Call hotels ahead of time to find out which ones accept pets. 

Choose a designated pet caregiver who will be responsible for picking up your pet if an evacuation is necessary when you are not at home. This caregiver should have keys to your home and know the location of your pet survival kit (see kit materials below).

If you have a pet rescue sticker on your house be sure to either remove it or write 'evacuated' across it when you evacuate.

Assemble a pet survival kit to bring with you including:

  • Recent photo for identification purposes
  • medications including heartworm and flea treatments, and vitamins
  • veterinary records and contact information
  • bottled water for 7 days
  • enough food for 7 days
  • can opener 
  • food and water dishes 
  • first aid kit and other supplies 
  • secure pet carrier or leash 
  • liquid disinfecting dish soap
  • disposable garbage bags for clean up
  • identification tags (consider having an identification microchip implanted into your pets by your veterinarian)
Additional items for cats:
  • cat litter and pan
  • pillowcase (for taking a scared cat to the vet)
Additional items for dogs:
  • yard stake and long leash or rope
  • cage liner
Additional items for birds:
  • Blanket for cold weather
  • spray bottle for warm weather (to moisten feathers to keep cool)
  • secure travel cage
  • catch net
Protecting your pets -

Related Information

Text with Adorable Pictures

How Levees Work to Protect the Parish

Posted on 12/04/2014

The National Flood Insurance Program has developed a series of educational videos online to educate the public on flood risk. With the extensive levee system in place in Terrebonne Parish, education about the strengths and potential failures of the levees may seem like common knowledge, but we can always learn more. The live link in the attachment provides a graphic video with audio regarding levees and making a plan for those living near levees.

Coming Soon!

As part of the Terrebonne Educational Video Series, a Levee Safety Video is in development. It will be available on You can find the following videos on this site right now. Search for "educational videos" from the home page for the listing and links.  These may help people understand their risks and opportunities in Terrebonne Parish.

  • TPCG - GIS 
  • TPCG - How To Start A Business In Terrebonne Parish 
  • TPCG - Parks & Recreation In Terrebonne Parish 
  • TPCG - Home Energy Assistance Program 
  • TPCG - Flood Management 
  • TPCG - Getting a Permit 
  • TPCG - Reporting a Nuisance 
  • TPCG - Emergency Preparedness 
  • TPCG - Transit Bus 
  • TPCG - Solid Waste 
  • TPCG - Culverts

Related Information

How Levees Work

The Hazard Mitigation Plan Preliminary Draft Ready for Review

Posted on 10/02/2014

Public Notice
Public Meeting Announcement
Terrebonne Parish Hazard Mitigation Plan Update
Come and comment on the Hazard Mitigation Plan!

The Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government is updating the parish’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. With input from the steering committee, the public, and state and national data centers, the plan is ready for review. The purpose of the plan update is to identify and prioritize future efforts to reduce our risk of damages from natural hazards like floods and wind events.
Parish staff will be available to answer questions or take comments at a public meeting October 6th from 5:30 – 7:30. The public comment period will be open for two weeks. The public is encouraged to attend to provide feedback. All previous meeting presentations and drafts are available at > See Meeting IV for the draft plan and associated attachments.

Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 5:30 pm
Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum
7910 Park Ave.
Houma, LA 70360

Please direct questions about the meeting to Jennifer Gerbasi, at (985) 873-6565. The setting is informal and children are welcome. Council Members and attendees are welcome to stop by for cheesecake and beverages after the committee meetings if time permits.


The plan is available in the Recovery Assistance and Mitigation Planning office, 8026 Main Street, Second floor from 8-4:30 weekdays. The Draft Plan and all meeting agendas and notes are available at > Comments may be emailed to > with a cc to >

FEMA Preparathon!

Posted on 09/24/2014


Are you prepared for a storm event?
Participate in this nationwide event and find out.
While many Americans understand the importance of preparing for emergencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates roughly half have not discussed or developed a family emergency plan. During national preparedness month, FEMA is urging everyone to be smart, take part and prepare.

National PrepareAthon! Day is set for Tuesday, Sept. 30. It's a call for individuals, organizations and communities to prepare for specific hazards through drills, group discussions and exercises. The goals are to help individuals understand which disasters could happen in their communities, know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage, take action to increase preparedness and participate in community resilience planning. FEMA states that, so far, more than 13 million Americans have registered to participate.

Open the attachment for more links or to launch a local group exercise.
Go to register: >

Related Information

Links to learn about FEMA or Participating

Flood Insurance Refunds

Posted on 09/15/2014

FEMA has provided some information on the flood insurance customers who may receive refunds after the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 rolled back some of the high rates from the Biggert Waters Act of 2012. Attached is the cheat sheet created to help people know whether they may or may not get a refund. It is not as simple as we would all like, but people struggling with this issue may find some relief.

It appears from the text that the refunds are being processed by the NFIP and will be out later this year. There is no contact information in the NFIP materials requesting the insureds to request these refunds. Anyone who wants to know if their policy is being considered for a refund may benefit from calling their agent and asking them to inquire.

Related Information


Update on the Hazard Mitigation Plan Development

Posted on 08/04/2014

The Steering Committee and interested members of the public have now met twice to discuss the revisions needed to the existing Hazard Mitigation Plan last updated in 2009 and approved by FEMA in 2010. To review the meeting agendas, presentations and notes, visit the Department of Planning and Zoning Recovery Assistance and Mitigation Planning Division website section specific to the plan development.

The site has the agendas, meeting notes, and presentations from each meeting. The last meeting included the assessment of the risk, the problem, draft goals of the process and plan, and a preliminary review of possible future risk reduction activities. Specifically, the meeting covered a review of past accomplishments, historical damages data and future risk projections, and invited discussion on new projects proposed to reduce risk in the future. The Steering Committee is seeking public information regarding the accuracy of the maps that show past damages, critical facilities, etc. and projects that would reduce risk in the Parish. Risk reduction equals savings on recovery, mitigation, insurance, and displacement from homes and jobs. 

The Committee is seeking input as well on what flood-related data we do NOT have but the community feels is necessary to properly assess risk throughout the Parish. One suggestion received is data on the elevation of homes and roads in the forced drainage areas outside the special flood hazard area.
If you have a suggestions or concerns, please consider attending or contact Jennifer Gerbasi @ 985-873-6565 / or the Project Manager, Nicole Cutforth at 858-3983.

The next meeting is August 7, 2014 from 10-12 at the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum located at 7910 Park Ave.

Related Information

Advertised Invitation to the Public

What is covered by a flood insurance policy?

Posted on 07/23/2014

We are in the storm season and have considered the need for a response plan, and the need to get insurance, but what does a National Flood Insurance Program policy cover? Please review the attachment and decide if your current level of protection is sufficient. Some of the caps on coverage have been raised under the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, but the basics of coverage and limitations remain the same.

Related Information

FEMA Coverage Brochure

Preventing Pollution Saves Money and Improves Water Quality

Posted on 07/07/2014

Terrebonne Parish is required to take steps to reduce stormwater pollution in an effort to have fishable, swimmable waters in Louisiana’s Bayou Country.
These laws require chosen the Parish to do six things:

  1. Conduct outreach and education about polluted stormwater runoff.
  2. Provide opportunities for residents to participate in conversations/activities to reduce pollution 
  3. Detect illicit discharges (e.g. straight piping or dumping).
  4. Control construction site runoff.
  5. Control post-construction runoff.
  6. Perform municipal housekeeping (e.g. take steps to prevent runoff from city buildings and activities.)

Many people simply don’t know that, unlike sewer drainage systems which flow to treatment plants; water entering the community’s storm drain system flows unfiltered and untreated into the bayous. Once one understands this crucial difference, one recognizes that even without the force of Federal law, these six required steps are all day-to-day essentials for any community which depends on its wetlands, coastal reaches, rivers, canals, ditches, and bayous for its quality of life and the health of its local economy.

See the attachment for no cost or inexpensive ways to keep our bayous clean and reduce municipal and storm damage costs.

Related Information

How we can and Why we should control stormwater

It is time to Get a Plan and Get Insured!

Posted on 05/07/2014

Storm season starts officially June 1, and who knows what is ahead? Are you ready?

Get a Plan
You and your family need to know what to do in response to a storm. Where will you go? Who should family members call if you are separated? Are there food, water and medical supplies for your time out of the house and when you return? Are all of your most important documents (including bills that are due) in a floodsafe and firesafe place or ready to be carried with you?
If you don’t know where to start, FEMA has very simple forms to fill out to get all your important information in one place. This website is written for families and has answers, forms and activities for kids and parents. The attachment is the communication form from this site.

Get Insured!
It is also a great time to get insured. The Severe Repetitive Loss elevation program application period is open, but you can’t get funded unless you have a policy in place by June 27, 2015. This can take several weeks to get in place, so call an agent NOW! to get started. Be sure that you get your application in before a storm is brewing somewhere in the Gulf.
Go to for for more information about the insurance available for residences, condos, renters, and businesses.

Related Information

Communication Form

Beyond the Basics – Hazard Mitigation Plan Development Tips

Posted on 04/25/2014

A new website is available to help communities get Beyond the Basics in their approach to reducing flood risk and other hazards. The website was designed to walk communities through the plan drafting process to have a place-specific plan that helps each community reach its goals. For a great look at what the update of a plan looks like, visit

Over the next 4-6 months, the Parish will be updating the Hazard Mitigation Plan as required by FEMA. More than a FEMA requirement to earn mitigation funding, this is an opportunity to brainstorm about how to build safer and stronger for the future. The site provides step by step advice and worksheets to help communities through the decision making process. Links lead readers to whatever level of detail each needs. 

The Parish is in the process of hiring a firm to manage the process and draft the plan. These professionals have drafted many plans adopted by FEMA and the State. However, it is Terrebonne Parish’s plan, and only the input of local stakeholders will make it our plan, and our future. If you would like to actively participate in the plan development, call Jennifer Gerbasi at 873-6565 to receive updates on meeting and materials. 

The Beyond the Basics website was developed as part of a multi-year research study funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence and led by the Center for Sustainable Community Design within the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

CDBG Elevation Cost Share Program

Posted on 03/18/2014

In an effort to serve ensure access to mitigation programs for low to moderate (LMI) households, the Office of Community Development has received HUD approval to use Community Development Block Grant funds to assist LMI households with the local cost share match required for most elevation programs. 

The Parish has an opportunity to apply for $300,000 in aide for LMI households from this program and will hold a public hearing on the matter in the 6th floor Council Conference Room Monday March 24th, 2014 at 4:30 if you have any interest in attending. 

The funding is reserved for LMI households that are also receiving FEMA elevation grants. It is expected that approximately 10-12 households will be served. Letters have been sent inviting people who have expressed concerns about meeting a match in the past to encourage participation. Each household will need to provide income information for an official determination of eligibility based on inability to pay. 

This is the first time this targeted approach has been tested by the state. The parish hopes to elevate those households that would otherwise remain in unsafe conditions or lose their homes.

Related Information

Public Notice of Public Hearing

Kids Can Get Ready for Storms, Too

Posted on 02/25/2014

To help kids feel that they have a part in protecting themselves in a disaster situation, the Department of Homeland Security has created a website with tools and suggestions. Colorful characters Ray, Gayle, Misti, Sonny, and Raina show kids how to make a plan, what to put in an emergency kit, and other useful information. This is a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Youth Preparedness Program with tips for kids, parents and educators. Share this link with friends and family to help kids get ready, and feel more secure.  the site is available in english and spanish at this time.

Slab Separation as an Elevation Option

Posted on 02/03/2014

People could save a lot by choosing a slab separation if they are elevating a house.  A slab separation allows the contractor to cut the house from the slab, build a new subfloor, and elevate the lighter house.  This provides a floor that has no flood damage, and a lighter structure to lift and stabilize.  This method is cheaper and can help the homeowner save on the required match (25% of the total project cost, generally).


The “drawback” is that the flooring is lost, and cabinets and the bottom of the walls have to be removed and then put back in place.  This happens in many homes after a storm, but by the time the federal grants for elevation arrive, the walls, tiles, and cabinets are already replaced and the slab elevation is more attractive.  This can add years of delay and $20,000 - $35,000 to a home elevation.  This is inefficient and leaves the home and improvements at risk of flood unnecessarily while the owner waits on grant funds for the most expensive elevation type. 


The Parish is working with state and federal staff and national groups in attempts to receive grant funds from disasters closer to the time that insurance payments are received.  This would make it easier for people to lower their flood risk while they rebuild.  Emergency repairs need to happen immediately, but often much more rebuilding happens without mitigation.  Those repair investments sometimes preclude cost effective mitigation methods like slab separation and could put the Parish at risk of not complying with the National Flood Insurance Program.  If successful, federal grants will be available to elevate a flooded structure at the same time it is being repaired. 

For more information, go to, download “Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting,” FEMA P-312, Second Edition, December 2009, or check it out of one of the local libraries.  This guide covers six (6) options for retrofitting a house to avoid flooding.  Slab separation is on page 12 of the attachment (page 98) and in Chapter 5 of the book. 

Related Information

Homeower's Guide To Retrofitting - FEMA P-312

Maximize Your Insurance Benefits – Get Insurance Now

Posted on 02/03/2014

The hurricane season is months off, but it is always good to prepare.  Getting flood insurance now will also lock in other benefits.  Some federal programs require the home to be insured 180 days prior to the grant application being offered.  The Hazard Mitigation Assistance yearly grant program usually opens on June 1, so get your insurance now! 


Increased Cost of Compliance, or ICC, is a benefit of any National Flood Insurance Program backed flood insurance policy that may provide up to $30,000 to elevate, relocate or demolish the structure.  This insurance benefit is only available to those who have made a certain number of claims. 


Call your agent now to be sure that you can take advantage of grants, ICC, or other benefits that may be offered by the state or federal government agencies. 


Sent 1-2-14

Demolition – A Mitigation Option

Posted on 12/26/2013

Many people think that elevation is the only option for using ICC. 

Demolishing a house prior to rebuilding or without rebuilding is available as well.
ICC for hurricanes Katrina and Rita has been extended to 2015. A structure that was damaged and declared to be substantially damaged due to the 2005 storms may be eligible to be demolished with ICC funds. Call your insurance agent to find out more. 

Increased Cost of Compliance, or ICC, is a benefit of any National Flood Insurance Program backed flood insurance policy. If a property becomes substantially damaged, the policy holder can request up to $30,000 to 
  • Elevate the structure, 
  • Relocate the structure outside the floodplain, or 
  • Demolish the structure. 
In order to receive ICC, the structure needs to have claims on that policy, not proof of floods. 
The Parish is obligated under the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance to declare structures substantially damaged if it would cost more than 50% of the value to repair or has insurance claims or repair permits that add up to at least 50% of the assessed value.
This is required by NFIP to get flood insurance in the Parish, and can’t be avoided.
The structure could be condemned if the condition is bad enough, and the Parish may be required to demolish the structure and recoup the cost of demolition from the owner. 
Demolishing with the ICC leaves more savings to purchase or build another, safer home.
The Parish offered a voluntary demolition program through the Gustav/Ike Recovery Plan funded with Community Development Block Grant funds. At this time ten (10) properties will be cleared of storm damaged structures eliminating slum and blight in the parish.

FEMA Tips for Preventing Flood Damage

Posted on 11/22/2013

Sometimes common sense prevails in preventing flood damage. Sometimes flood damages are from openings in the house that could be sealed or appliances that could be raised at a minimal cost, but with 2 inches of water were destroyed. The attached flier has some helpful suggestions about how to prevent losses from low level flooding. Some of these changes may also have a positive effect on your flood insurance premium. Call your insurance agent for more information on specific savings for water heater placement, etc.

Anyone needing to know their flood zone may be able to find that through their insurance agent, or the LSU Agricultural Center updated Website at If you prefer call Lisa Ledet, Parish Floodplain Manager at 985-873-6567.

Related Information

FEMA - Avoiding Flood Damage - Flier

Flooded by Gustav/Ike?

Posted on 11/22/2013

Insured households can still receive up to $30,000 toward elevating, relocating or demolishing the structure.

The Parish residents and businesses have been very resourceful in rebuilding since hurricanes Gustav and Ike, though funding is sometimes slow to arrive. Insurance benefits called “Increased Cost of Compliance” (ICC) often provide up to $30,000 to reduce flood risk by elevating, relocating or demolishing the structure. The traditional two-year timeframe to take advantage of this benefit has been extended for people who can show good reason for not moving forward sooner. Ask your insurance agent about the waiver process. Anyone who has been in a grant program but not moved forward may receive a waiver.

Many people, whether in a grant program or through their own funds, use this money to reduce their flood risk and come into compliance (usually elevation) directly or to provide a match required for a federal grant. Individuals who have been flooded suffering losses above 50% of the value of the home are considered substantially damaged under the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. Substantially damaged structures are not compliant with the Ordinance and need to mitigate in 3 years. ICC can help people come into compliance as it was intended. This extension may be a second chance for people who were rejected from ICC after September 2012 or never applied.

See the attached document for the original insurance bulletin for details explaining the waiver.

Related Information

Offical Explanation of Waiver Process

Upcoming Flood Insurance Changes

Posted on 11/22/2013

The October 1, 2013 implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act 2012 will kick-off next week. The Parish President has been a proponent of a delay or significant revision to the law prior to implementation and administrative and congressional fixes may come to be in the future. The State of Mississippi has filed a lawsuit against the Federal government for relief. While the discussion continues, there is no delay expected prior to next week. 

Parts of the law goes into effect Tuesday October 1st. Certain properties in the Special Flood Hazard Area built before 1974 will no longer pay a subsidized rate based on earlier designations. Policies will increase at renewal over the next year.
  • All policies will increase 16% this year as part of the standard increase (11%) and 5% for the new reserve fund to save for catastrophic events. 
  • New purchases and lapsed policies for pre-FIRM structures (built to code prior to 1974) will be paying at full rates immediately. If a policy lapses, there is a 30-day grace period to continue the original policy. 
  • Properties that are Severe Repetitive Losses or have claims equal to 100% of the value of the home and Secondary Residences will go up 25% of the current premium until it reaches the actuarial rate. 
Read below for excerpts related to the summaries above. For much more detail about who will see what changes click this link or the attachment to see the Write Your Own bulletin from the NFIP regarding the October 1 changes.

Related Information

Quick Summary of Changes
Complete Document

Freeboard Found Cost Effective in NFIP Benefit Analysis

Posted on 09/13/2013

Due to changes in the federal flood insurance program, these are times of uncertainty for people living near any waterbody. Prior to when these manmade threats came to be, engineers and builders were investigating the cost effectiveness of various building methods including freeboard. When a structure is built 1-3 feet above the known flood risk (base flood elevation) it is called freeboard. Individuals can benefit from significant insurance savings (up to 62%) from using freeboard, and the community received Community Rating System points for requiring it in the ordinance possibly receiving greater discounts on flood insurance premiums community-wide. But is it cost effective? Read the 2008 Supplement for the Evaluation of the National Flood Insurance Program’s Building Standards to see why they believe it is cost effective. It can be cost effective and may provide a buffer against future changes to the flood insurance regulations.

Related Information

Freeboard Cost Benefit Analysis

Public Meetings Start for Flood Ordinance Changes

Posted on 06/21/2013

The Parish is entering the outreach phase of the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance amendment. The amendments have been developed by the Planning Department to reduce flood risk and insurance rates in the Parish. With the potential increases due to the changes to the Community Rating System and the Biggert-Waters Act, the Parish will need to protect and increase discounts.

Please see the attached flier and press release for details on the meeting dates and sites. Other meetings will occur with industry groups and quasi governmental committees. Future notices will announce those meetings. Please feel welcome to attend any or all of these meetings to hear what the public reaction to the proposed amendments.

Public Meetings Will Be Held Day and Evening Across the Parish:

  • Wednesday, June 19 – Noon
    Holiday Inn – Houma Rotary Club Lunch
    1800 Martin Luther King Blvd., Houma
  • Wednesday, June 19 – 6:00 pm
    Dulac Community Center –
    125 Coast Guard Road, Dulac
  • Tuesday, June 25 – Noon
    Gibson Elementary School
    6357 South Bayou Black Drive, Gibson
  • Tuesday, June 25 – 6:00 pm
    Montegut Gym
    107 Recreation Drive, Montegut
The Dulac Community Center kindly will provide a community dinner to encourage participation in their community. Bayou Grace has generously allowed us to take advantage of their community dinner series as well for the Montegut presentation. The Houma Rotary Club has opened their club luncheon to the public where lunch will be available for purchase if desired. BISCO has offered to help in the recruitment for all of the meetings. The community has been very open to providing venues for public input and participation.

A powerpoint presentation will be available on the website next week. An online survey tool and comment tool will also be active next week for those who can’t attend a meeting.

Please call if you have questions, suggestions or concerns.

Related Information

Flier for Meetings
Press Release

Good Construction Management Benefits Everyone

Posted on 05/10/2013

Construction activities have the potential to create pollution in our streets and bayous that cost us money. Water treatment, dredging, street cleaning, storm drain clogs can be costly and the general health of our bayous can be impaired. If mud is getting into the street or drains, the site may be in violation. Currently, sites under one acre are exempt from filing plans.

Clogged drains and pipes raise the flood risks of neighborhoods during disasters, torrential rains, and an average rain. Mud in the street can cause unsafe conditions. Mud in the bayous can jeopardize compliance with the Clean Water Act. Please review the management practices suggested in the attachments. Contact the permits department to report mud or debris that is not contained properly onsite.

Related Information

Best Management Practices for Erosion Control
Erosion Control Measures

What to know before you buy or build

Posted on 04/26/2013

There are always risks involved in owning a home or business including wind, fire or water damage from a flood or storm. Protect your investments by looking into the history of the buildings you might buy or build based on past damages and predictions of future threats. Your floodplain manager in the Department of Planning and Zoning can provide the flood zone and height for any property in the Parish. The flood history has to come from the seller or agent. See the attachment for a list of considerations for buying or choosing the site for your next property.

Related Information

FloodSmart Minute 4-25-13

Homebuilder's Guide To Coastal Construction

Posted on 04/11/2013

Concern over insurance rates is increasing as questions about the Biggert-Waters Act remain unanswered, and uncertainty is the result. Remember that in the background, the Planning Department continues to pursue avenues to protect or increase our discounts, and provide ways for residents and builders to retrofit or build in ways that will reduce that insurance bill.

The attached document is a FEMA bulletin that outlines building practices that reduce risk. These practices also help the Parish residents save on insurance since FEMA runs the National Flood Insurance Program as well. The proposed changes to the parish Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance embrace these practices to protect the 20% discount we have now, and possibly increase that discount when we need it most. The sections of text in bright blue are specific recommendations for the ordinance (freeboard described below, open foundations, ductwork and mechanics above the flood risk, and limits on enclosures).

Below is a sample of the savings that is possible above and beyond this discount from “freeboard,” or building higher than the base flood elevation (BFE). The BFE is the minimum height that a structure can be built in the flood zone. Requiring a higher elevation through the ordinance will help protect the parishwide discount, and the discounts below for individual houses. The savings is so great that the mortgage (even before the increased rates expected) cost per month is lower even though the initial cost of building is an estimated .25%-1.5% higher.

Please contact me at 985-873-6565 if you have questions about this information.

$160,000 house with a 6.5% interest loan over 30 years.

Related Information

Successful Coastal Building Techniques
For More Information

Top Ten Facts about Flood Insurance

Posted on 04/01/2013

Did you know that flood insurance is available for renters? That your homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover flood? That anyone can buy insurance, but there is a 30 day wait before it takes affect? Read more about getting protected in the “Top Ten Facts about Flood Insurance.”

Related Information

Top 10 Facts about NFIP

New Federal Changes to Insurance Premiums

Posted on 04/01/2013

Please find below and attached information on the new insurance changes that started to take effect in January of this year. Other provisions will begin in August. In general, grandfathering for homes built after the National flood Insurance Program began providing flood maps will be phased out. While the Planning Department is working on tools to protect Terrebonne’s access to insurance and public outreach will be provided by an number of sources, residents are likely to begin asking questions regarding these changes. The Department has been able to secure an insurance rating that earns a 20% discount for Terrebonne property owners. New efforts this year aim at retaining that discount or increasing it to 25%. The discount will not be able to offset the increases for many. 

Call Jennifer Gerbasi at 873-6565 for information specific to Terrebonne Mitigation Programs or funding options, or Lisa Ledet at 873-6567 regarding elevation requirements or substantially damaged properties. 
For more information from the federal government on flood insurance or to get a quote call 1-888-379-9531 or visit .

Related Information

FloodSafe Minute NHMA Biggert 2/28/13

Floodplain Regulations and the Court

Posted on 04/01/2013

Please find attached information on floodplain regulations and the courts. Some jurisdictions have faced legal challenges both for approving and denying permits for development activities. This summary provides information about the court outcomes of some cases which gives insight to the Council’s ability to lower our flood risks and protect property rights for and from development. 

Call Jennifer Gerbasi at 873-6565 for information specific to Terrebonne Mitigation Programs or for more Association of State Floodplain Manager materials. 
For more information from the federal government on flood insurance or to get a quote call 1-888-379-9531 or visit .

Related Information

Common Questions about Floodplain Regulation
Erosion Control Measures
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