Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced yesterday that the RESTORE Council has voted to approve $130 million in Deepwater Horizon oil spill dollars to fund the River Reintroduction into the Maurepas Swamp project.
Administered by Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the project will revitalize 45,000 acres of the Maurepas Swamp, the state’s second-largest coastal swamp forest.
The project will divert freshwater, sediment and nutrients from the Mississippi River into the swamp.
“The Maurepas Swamp is not just an amazing and beautiful swamp and Wildlife Management Area, but it is also a crucial, natural buffer between hurricane winds and storm surge. If we let this swamp continue to die-off we would be putting many large communities in this region at increased risk,” Edwards said.
“The protection and restoration of the Maurepas Swamp is essential to our survival and way of life in southern Louisiana. I commend CPRA and the RESTORE Council for their commitment to saving and protecting our most precious natural resources.”
Like many other delta-area ecosystems, the Maurepas Swamp was once nourished by fresh Mississippi River water. Mississippi River levees, which provide flood protection to the communities, have disconnected the river from its delta.
Project plans include the construction of three 10’x10’ box culverts in the Mississippi River Levee near Garyville, Louisiana.
A new two-mile conveyance channel will flow into the existing Hope Canal which will be enhanced with small earthen levees for the final 3.5 miles into the Maurepas Swamp outfall area just north of I-10.