CPRA: Major Milestone for Southwest Louisiana

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have now both agreed on a feasibility study that could mean billions of dollars for ecosystem restoration, hurricane protection and home elevations in Southwest Louisiana.

The Corps’ Civil Works Review Board approved the study in Washington, D.C. last week after hearing from CPRA and other officials from the state.

More action and review must be accomplished  before it goes to Congress for potential funding, but the approval of the Review Board is a major step.

“This is a process that started in late 2005. After years of studying, we are finally at a point where we can move this  critically important effort one step closer to a congressional authorization,” said Johnny Bradberry, chairman of the CPRA Board.

“Our sense of urgency to provide Southwest Louisiana with the protection and restoration measures it deserves is unwavering, and we remain committed to seeing this effort being congressionally authorized and ultimately fully funded.”

Ecosystem projects, including marsh creation, chenier reforestation and shoreline protection, would help restore and protect nearly 15,000 acres of wetlands in the parishes of Vermilion, Cameron and Calcasieu.

In addition to other risk reduction measures, approximately 4,000 homes and businesses could become eligible for a voluntary program to elevate structures above the flood level.

The concurrence on the feasibility study comes after years of work by the Corps of Engineers, CPRA, the Chenier Plain Authority, officials representing Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermilion Parishes and citizens of Southwest Louisiana.