Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, Baton Rouge Area Foundation executives and seven administrators from the public and private sectors are headed to the Netherlands today for a five-day tour of that country’s noted flood protection methods.
Joining the 10-member delegation on the trip is a 12-member group from the city of Charleston, South Carolina, which, like south Louisiana, is grappling with flood control, coastal land loss and watershed management issues.
Besides Broome, other members of the local delegation include:
- BRAF President and CEO John Davies
- BRAF Executive Vice President John Spain
- CPA and BRAF board chairman Bill Balhoff
- Pat Forbes, executive director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development, and his wife, Ana Forbes
- Water Institute of the Gulf Executive Director Justin Ehrenwerth
- Water Institute of the Gulf Director of Strategic Partnerships Dale Morris
- Bryan Jones, associate vice president of HNTB, which has a contract with the city-parish to devise a watershed management plan
- BREC Assistant Superintendent Reed Richard
- Johnny Bradberry, chairman of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
BRAF has taken the lead in trying to pull together the various entities working on coastal and flooding issues in the region. It’s developing The Water Campus on River Road near downtown, which is home to The Water Institute of the Gulf, the CPRA and LSU’s Center for River Studies.
The Water Institute of the Gulf is picking up the tab for the Baton Rouge delegation’s trip, according to Broome’s spokesperson, who could not say how much it will cost.
A Water Institute of the Gulf spokesperson referred questions to BRAF, which did not return a request for comment in time for this morning’s deadline.
According to an itinerary provided by Broome’s office, the group will tour the famous Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, among other tourist attractions, on Tuesday. Wednesday through Friday the group will meet for briefings and tours of the Waal Room for the River project, the Deltares-Netherlands Centre for Coastal Research, the Noordwaard polder project, the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier and sites around Rotterdam. On Thursday, a film crew from The Smithsonian Institute will travel with the group and document its visit.
Broome’s spokesperson says the mayor is looking forward to the trip because The Netherlands has been recognized internationally for its initiatives surrounding flood prevention and preparation.
“Water management remains among the top priorities of the administration and for residents throughout East Baton Rouge Parish,” spokesperson Rachel Haney says.
The delegation returns Saturday.
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