BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana can soon start spending $1.2 billion in federal cash to fortify communities against future flood risks.

The governor's office announced Friday that federal officials have approved the state's plan for the funds. The dollars are overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They will bolster an effort that Gov. John Bel Edwards has pushed since the 2016 floods to use regional approaches to flood mitigation and drainage improvements around Louisiana. The federal aid will be spread across projects in 46 Louisiana parishes identified through the governor's Louisiana Watershed Initiative as most flood-prone and impacted by water.

Edwards' office expects the federal dollars to be available by spring.

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