The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board yesterday received updates on multiple hurricane protection systems and projects that will protect people, property and habitat across the state coastal zone.
“We made great advances in the decade following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and now we are seeing an acceleration of bigger projects moving from the pages of the Coastal Master Plan to reality on the ground,” said CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline.
CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase cited the recent designation by Gov. John Bel Edwards of more than $350 million towards coastal projects, including money that will enable the $760 million West Shore of Lake Pontchartrain hurricane protection system to move forward in St. John the Baptist, St. James and St. Charles Parishes.
He highlighted the partnering agreement recently signed between CPRA and the Corps of Engineers that will initiate a study that could lead to major funding for non-structural measures for homes and businesses in Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermilion Parishes.
Haase also touted the value of CWPPRA funding partnerships in restoring land and marsh, highlighting the current collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Cameron Creole Watershed Grand Bayou Marsh Creation Project.
The 476 acres of marsh being restored is not the end of it, as the La. Dept. of Natural Resources is allocating some $2.3 million of mitigation and beneficial use funds to add another 50 acres to the project.
Structures are also being built, including the addition of a $386 million lock adjacent to the Bubba Dove Flood Gate in the Houma Navigation Canal. The entire 98-mile Morganza to the Gulf system of levees, floodgates and locks is being funded by a tax passed by the citizens of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, with an additional $208.5 million already invested by the state.
In New Orleans changes have been made to the outfall canal openings at Lake Pontchartrain that allowed lake water to flood the city during Hurricane Katrina.
Mark Wingate, Deputy District Engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, outlined federal funding for flood risk management projects in Louisiana authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. This includes $787 million for CPRA projects.
In addition to the previously mentioned $760 million for the West Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, CPRA will see $15 million for construction of offshore breakwaters on the west end of Grand Isle, and $12 million for four studies to advance projects in the Upper Barataria Basin, South Central Coastal Louisiana, and levee lifts of the Lake Pontchartrain Levee system and the West Bank and Vicinity Levees.