Funding secured for phase I of the Houma Navigation Canal Lock Complex

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) has been awarded $26.7 million to fund the dredging of 1.2 million cubic yards of earthen material to begin construction of a lock complex adjacent to the Bubba Dove Floodgate on the Houma Navigation Canal (HNC).

The grant subrecipient, Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District, will perform the dredging activities.

The grant award comes from the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council). The Council previously awarded CPRA $18.5 million for engineering and design of the project. The State has allocated $366 million in RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component funds to this project over a 15-year period.

The HNC Lock Complex is part of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan and 2021 Annual Plan as a key component of the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection system, enhancing the goals of both restoration and protection. It is designed to reduce saltwater intrusion and distribute fresh water within the Terrebonne Basin, an area experiencing one of the highest rates of land loss in coastal Louisiana, while also providing hurricane protection when the floodgate and lock are closed to hold out storm surges.

Hydrologic restoration will reestablish approximately 178 acres of brackish marsh habitat. The lock will enable greater flexibility in operating the floodgate by allowing boats to transit the flood control structure while the floodgate remains closed.

Adequate funding was a major barrier to accomplishing the planned $366 million upgrades to the HNC system until the Louisiana 2020 Regular Legislative Session passed Act 89 allowing CPRA to take advantage of the RESTORE Act distribution of funds in annual installments over a decade and a half. With these funds available, Phase 1 construction work can begin this year with Phase 2 anticipated to begin in 2022.

The 36-mile Houma Navigation Canal was constructed by Terrebonne Parish Government in 1962 as a direct water route for commercial vessels between the Gulf of Mexico and Houma’s Port of Terrebonne along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Photo: CPRA