The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) announced yesterday, receipt of approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to Louisiana’s request to include the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion project on the Federal Permitting Dashboard.
The official request was submitted on January 28, 2019 by Chip Kline, CPRA Board Chair and Governor Edwards’ Executive Assistant for Coastal Activities on behalf of the State of Louisiana for the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion project.
The approval letter issued on February 11, 2019 states “Upon posting, the USACE New Orleans District will initiate requisite coordination with all identified federal, state, and local agencies and develop a coordinated project plan.”
The Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton sediment diversions represent an approximately $2 billion total investment in the sustainability of southeast Louisiana, and if approved for construction, are anticipated to be fully funded by Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement dollars, not tax dollars.
“These projects will build marsh between our levees and barrier islands which should reduce storm surge and wave heights while protecting existing and future coastal infrastructure,” said Bren Haase, CPRA Executive Director.
Over the next 15 years, CPRA plans to dredge as much as 55-65 million cubic yards in proximity of Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton basins, and over 200 million cubic yards throughout the state at nearly $2 billion dollars.
“Dredging projects create land immediately and provide critically needed short-term benefits. However, long-term sustainability is a major issue with dredging,” said Brad Barth, Mississippi River Mid-Basin Sediment Diversion Program Manager.
“Diverting sediment through engineered channels will use the power of the river to maximize the delivery of the sediment to these basins, and once established, provide a constant sediment-delivery system which is what these basins need to build and sustain land for generations,” added Brad Barth.
Since the Mississippi River was leveed in the 1930s, the Barataria and Breton Basins and Mississippi River Delta have lost approximately 700 square miles (or 447,000 acres) of land, representing one of the highest land loss rates in the world.
Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast has included sediment diversion projects in all three iterations of the plan 2007, 2012 and most recently 2017. Each edition of the Master Plan has been unanimously passed by Louisiana’s Legislature.
This is the second project to receive approval for inclusion on the Federal Dashboard. In January 2017, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion was also posted on the Dashboard.