$234.6M approved for coastal restoration projects in LA

Gov. John Bel Edwards yesterday announced that the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG) has approved $234.6 million in funds resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement for restoration projects that will create and restore wetlands in Plaquemines and Terrebonne Parishes.

In all, the funding will be used for the engineering, design, and construction of five coastal restoration projects.

As reported, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) will lead the planning and implementation of all approved projects.

“We have been putting the oil spill settlement funds to work for Louisiana’s people, economy, infrastructure, and environment,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “The approval of these NRDA projects caps off a very busy year in which the LA TIG has approved a number of restoration plans totaling over $900 million in restoration planning and implementation funds.”

The approved projects are intended to restore wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats, including bird nesting habitats.

Two projects are located in Terrebonne Parish. The Bayou Terrebonne Increment of the Terrebonne Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation Project has been allocated $157 million for restoration, maintenance, and monitoring of up to 1,430 acres of brackish and saline marsh and 80 acres of earthen ridge on the eastern side of Bayou Terrebonne, south of Chauvin.

Another $3.1 million will be used for engineering and design of the Terrebonne Houma Navigation Channel (HNC) Island Restoration project, which is intended to restore and enlarge the bird nesting island located about four miles southeast of Cocodrie. The effort will focus on ways to restore the 32-acre bird island and enhance it to approximately 50 acres by importing dredged sediment from a nearby suitable sand source and depositing it on and around the existing island.

“The establishment of land and habitat south of our Morganza to the Gulf levee system is vitally important,” said Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove. “Without our barrier islands and the marsh between, our levees face the brunt of storm. The land and marsh we restore provides additional protection to our ecosystem and our way of life.”

Two projects are located in Plaquemines Parish. The Grande Cheniere Ridge Marsh Creation project is approved for $65 million in construction funding and is designed to build up to 624 acres of marsh in the open water areas near Bayou Grande Cheniere, as well as approximately 12,480 linear feet of earthen ridge along Jefferson Canal. A secondary benefit of the project will be its contribution toward the reestablishment of a southern land bridge in the Barataria Basin.

The Bird’s Foot Delta Hydrologic Restoration project in Plaquemines Parish is receiving $6 million for engineering and design. The project is intended to restore the hydrology in the Mississippi River Bird’s Foot Delta by dredging portions of Pass-a-Loutre, South Pass, and/or Southeast Pass to reconnect the river with the delta’s marshes.

These projects bring total NRDA funding for projects either entirely or partially in Plaquemines Parish to $609.46 million since the Deepwater Horizon event in 2010.

Photo: CPRA

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