LA TIG approves $234.6M for coastal restoration projects

Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards, announced this week 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.

“We thank the LA TIG for helping to advance these critically important coastal restoration projects,” said Gov. Edwards.

“Yet again, Louisiana is showing itself to be a good steward of oil spill resources by implementing large-scale projects that will offer real benefits to the sustainability of the people and ecosystem of our state. Today’s announced projects further our ongoing efforts to restore the natural resource damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and will also provide a measure of protection as we seek to restore the natural ecosystem buffer we once had.”

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.

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.

Another $3.5 million is going toward engineering and designing Isle au Pitre in St. Bernard Parish. This project is intended to enhance nesting conditions for birds by using dredged sediment to elevate portions of the island and planting suitable vegetation for nesting brown pelicans and wading birds, etc.

Photo: Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA)