THE NEW ORLEANS HURRICANE PROTECTION SYSTEM

Assessing Pre-Katrina Vulnerability and Improving Mitigation and Preparedness

Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment

Division on Engineering and Physical Systems

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING AND NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page R1
Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment Division on Engineering and Physical Systems

OCR for page R1
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of the Army under Contract No. W912HQ-06-C-0010. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied of the U.S. government. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-13833-8 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-13833-7 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www. nap.edu. Photo on front cover is from I.E. Phelps Stokes Collection, Mirriam and Ira, D. Wallach Division of Arts, Prints and Photographs. The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. Photo on the back cover is courtesy of David Moreau. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

OCR for page R1
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph, J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
COMMITTEE ON NEW ORLEANS REGIONAL HURRICANE PROTECTION PROJECTS G. WAYNE CLOUGH, Chair, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC RAFAEL L. BRAS, University of California, Irvine JOHN T. CHRISTIAN, consultant, Waban, Massachusetts JOS DIJKMAN, Deltares/Delft Hydraulics, Delft, The Netherlands ROBIN L. DILLON-MERRILL, Georgetown University, Washington, DC DELON HAMPTON, Delon Hampton and Associates, Washington, DC GREG J. HOLLAND, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado RICHARD A. LUETTICH, JR., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill PETER MARSHALL, consultant, Norfolk, Virginia DAVID H. MOREAU, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill THOMAS D. O’ROURKE, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York KENNETH W. POTTER, University of Wisconsin, Madison Y. PETER SHENG, University of Florida, Gainesville ROBERT H. WEISBERG, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg ANDREW J. WHITTLE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Staff JEFFREY JACOBS, Study Director M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Project Assistant v

OCR for page R1
WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD CLAIRE WELTY, Chair, University of Maryland, Baltimore County JOAN G. EHRENFELD, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey GERALD E. GALLOWAY, University of Maryland, College Park SIMON GONZALEZ, National Autonomous University of Mexico CHARLES N. HAAS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania KENNETH R. HERD, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brooksville JAMES M. HUGHES, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia THEODORE L. HULLAR, consultant, Tucson, Arizona KIMBERLY L. JONES, Howard University, Washington, DC G. TRACY MEHAN III, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Arlington, Virginia DAVID H. MOREAU, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill THOMAS D. O’ROURKE, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York DONALD I. SIEGEL, Syracuse University, New York SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine HAME M. WATT, consultant, Washington, DC JAMES L. WESCOAT, JR., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director JEFFREY JACOBS, Scholar LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Staff Officer LAURA J. HELSABECK, Associate Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Senior Program Associate MICHAEL STOEVER, Senior Program Assistant STEPHEN RUSSELL, Senior Program Assistant vi

OCR for page R1
BOARD ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE CONSTRUCTED ENVIRONMENT DAVID NASH, Chair, David Nash and Associates, Birmingham, Alabama JESUS DE LA GARZA, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg REGINALD DESROCHES, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta DENNIS DUNNE (retired), California Department of General Services, Sacramento G. BRIAN ESTES, consultant, Williamsburg, Virginia PAUL FISETTE, University of Massachusetts, Amherst LUCIA GARSYS, Hillsborough County, Florida THEODORE C. KENNEDY, BE&K, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama PETER MARSHALL, consulting engineer, Norfolk, Virginia DEREK PARKER, Anshen and Allen, San Francisco, California JAMES B. PORTER, DuPont Corporation, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania E. SARAH SLAUGHTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge WILLIAM A. WALLACE, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York Staff GARY FISCHMAN, Director LYNDA STANLEY, Study Director KEVIN LEWIS, Senior Program Officer HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator vii

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
Preface H urricane Katrina struck the coast of Mississippi and Louisiana in August of 2005. New Orleans and the surrounding areas were flooded by storm surges due in large part to multiple failures of its hurricane protection system. The damage and the loss of life were catastrophic and Katrina ranks as one of the nation’s most devastating natural disasters. The damages were brought home as the national media beamed scenes across the nation of New Orleans’s submerged neighborhoods, people stranded on roofs, and levees torn apart by floodwaters. In order to understand why the failures of the protection system occurred, and to aid in rebuilding of the system, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET) to carry out a large- scale investigation of the issues. To provide an independent review to the IPET, Mr. John Paul Woodley, Assistant Secretary of the Army Civil Works, requested the National Academy of Engineering to convene the Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects. This is the committee’s fifth and final report. It provides review comments on the IPET draft final report, and comments on lessons learned for decision makers to consider in the task of rebuilding the hurricane protection system. This final report of our committee takes into account the findings documented in the previous four reports of the committee, the extensive IPET draft final report, and our committee’s professional viewpoints on hurricane protection, risk, and mitigation. During the course of our 3.5-year project, we convened five meetings in New Orleans. At those meetings, IPET staff, those conducting alternative formal studies, and citizens of New Orleans were given opportunities to provide briefings and study materials, and to make comments as desired. The committee wishes to express its appreciation to Mr. Woodley and his staff in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works for excellent support of our committee’s activities and consistent responsiveness to the concerns of the committee. We also wish to compliment the members of the IPET team for producing a comprehensive evaluation of the New Orleans hurricane protection system, and for their patience and thoroughness in discussing the details of their efforts with our committee. We also appreciate the willingness of parties to provide information, reports, and external review comments that helped inform our findings. Finally, the committee gives thanks to Dr. Jeff Jacobs and the staff of the National Research Council (NRC) for ix

OCR for page R1
Preface x outstanding support and assistance in preparing the reports of the committee. This report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with the procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the NRC in making its published report as sound as possible, and to ensure that the report meets NRC institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following for their review of this report: Rudy Bonaparte, Geosyntec Consultants; Ross Corotis, University of Colorado; Charles Cushing, C.R. Cushing and Co., Inc.; Walter Lynn (emeritus), Cornell University; Dorothy Moore, The Citadel; Doug Plasencia, Michael Baker, Jr., Inc.; Asbury Sallenger, U.S. Geological Survey; Doug Woolley (emeritus), Radford University; and Robert Whitman (emeritus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Although these reviewers provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions and recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert Frosch, Harvard University, who was appointed by the NRC Report Review Committee, and by Robert Dalrymple, Johns Hopkins University, who was appointed by the NRC Division on Earth and Life Studies. Drs. Frosch and Dalrymple were responsible for ensuring that an independent examination of this report was conducted in accordance with NRC institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for this report’s final contents rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC. The post-Katrina setting poses challenges and open questions, as there is no model to follow for post-hurricane recovery for New Orleans. Although building a hurricane protection system to better standards and making wise choices about future development should help create a safer and more sustainable city, clear agreement does not exist about the basis for design or development guidelines and policies. What does seem clear is that information about the vulnerabilities to hurricanes and storm surge in New Orleans must be accorded a higher priority than in the past and be central to future development plans and decisions. The IPET has made a good faith effort to improve knowledge of these vulnerabilities. We offer our final report in the spirit of improving preparedness and public safety of the region’s citizens and contributing to a more sustainable future for the city of New Orleans. G. Wayne Clough, Chair

OCR for page R1
Contents SUMMARY 1 Review of the IPET Draft Final Report, 1 Lessons Learned From the Katrina Experience, 3 1 INTRODUCTION 8 2 THE IPET DRAFT FINAL REPORT 13 Characterization of the Pre-Katrina Hurricane Protection System, 14 Evaluation of Hurricane Katrina Storm Surges and Waves, 14 Performance of the Hurricane Protection System During and After Katrina, 15 Societal-Related Consequences of Katrina-Related Damage, 16 Risks to New Orleans and the Region Posed by Future Tropical Storms, 16 Additional Comments, 18 3 LESSONS LEARNED IN HURRICANE KATRINA AND ITS AFTERMATH 21 The New Orleans Hurricane Protection System, 22 Nonstructural Aspects and Options, 26 The 100-Year Level of Flood Protection, 32 Independent Review for Engineering and Design, 33 The Future of Hurricane Risk Analysis for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region, 35 REFERENCES 37 APPENDIXES A Statement of Task: Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection 39 B Biographical Information: Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects 41 xi

OCR for page R1