Seven major coastal restoration projects in Louisiana totaling more than half a billion dollars have been completed and paid for with settlement money resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Projects working their way toward construction this year or in years to come will use another $4.4 billion in settlement dollars.
Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Deputy Executive Director Greg Grandy reported to the CPRA Board that projects completed to date are a harbinger of much more to come.
Grandy explained the funding streams the state has received and will continue to receive through 2032 as a result of monetary settlements related to the oil spill.
The total amounts include $930 million in civil penalties assessed, $1.27 billion in criminal penalties, and more than $5 billion through the Natural Resource Damage Act (NRDA).
“Four of the seven completed projects used NRDA money for marsh creation at Lake Hermitage, and for barrier island and headland restoration projects on Shell Island West, Chenier Ronquille, and the Caillou Lake Headlands project commonly called Whiskey Island,” said Grandy. “Queen Bess Island is out for bid, and Breton Island soon will be. NRDA money also funded planning for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.”
He added that three Barataria Basin restoration projects are using Natural Resource Damage funding for planning or engineering and design, as are projects to restore Rabbit Island, as well as Lake Borgne Marsh Creation, Jean Lafitte Shoreline Protection, and Terrebonne Ridge and Marsh Restoration.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is in charge of funding projects using the criminal penalties that were assessed.
Already completed is the second increment of the Caminada Headland restoration, and going to bid soon is the Terrebonne Basin Barrier Island and Beach Nourishment project that includes Trinity and Timbalier Islands as well as the West Belle Pass Headland.
NFWF funding is paying for engineering and design of the Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton Sediment Diversions, as well as the project to increase the flow of Atchafalaya Basin water and sediment into the Terrebonne basin.
Projects using RESTORE Act funding are in engineering and design: the Calcasieu Ship Channel Salinity Control Structure, Houma Navigational Canal Lock Hydrologic Restoration, River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp, West Grand Terre Island, Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline, and Golden Triangle Marsh Creation.
Grandy concluded that CPRA also aims for a synergy among projects within its system-wide approach, creating projects that help sustain each other. He pointed to the Maurepas Diversion and the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain projects as an example.