CPRA preps for record-breaking dredging season

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) recently released a draft version of their annual spending plan for Fiscal Year 2023 which anticipates investing $1.3 billion in dredging and coastal protection projects.

According to CPRA Chairman Chip Kline, Fiscal Year 2023 – running from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023 – is a pivotal moment for CPRA and Louisiana’s coast.

“This year marks a historic number of large-scale dredging projects, significant investments in hurricane protection, and the start of construction activities on a first-of-its-kind diversion project. Louisiana will see the benefits of the coastal projects being implemented this year for decades to come,” said Kline.

Key takeaways from the Draft Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Plan include:

  • 92% of total expenditures will go toward project implementation and maintenance;
  • 114 active projects: 76 in construction totaling more than $1 billion; 33 in engineering and design totaling over $80 million; $11 million for five projects in planning;
  • 8 active projects in Southwest Louisiana, 39 in South Central Louisiana, and 67 in Southeast Louisiana;
  • 18 dredging projects are slated for construction, using more than 79 million cubic yards of dredged material to create or nourish over 14,000 acres of coastal wetlands.

“CPRA has remained unwavering in our commitment to fortifying Louisiana’s coast from Holly Beach to Hopedale,” said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase. “We are continuing this effort in Fiscal Year 2023 with the advancement of several record-breaking efforts, including the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, and the completion of 18 other highly-anticipated projects.”

Major projects advancing in FY 2023:

  • Barataria Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation – Spanish Pass — Dredging 16 million cubic yards of material from the Mississippi River to build 1,700 acres of marsh and ridge, the largest ridge and marsh creation CPRA has ever constructed.
  • Houma Navigation Canal Lock Complex — The largest public works project in Terrebonne Parish history, this integrated restoration and hurricane protection project will distribute much-needed fresh water to surrounding marshes and serve as a key feature in the Morganza to the Gulf hurricane protection system.
  • Lake Borgne Marsh Creation — Reestablishing the bay rim and approximately 2,800 acres of intertidal marsh habitat near Shell Beach in St. Bernard Parish, the largest marsh creation project by acreage ever constructed by CPRA.
  • River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp — Building a gated channel to divert needed fresh water and nutrients from the Mississippi River into the Maurepas Swamp to revitalize and restore 45,000 acres of coastal swamp forest.
  • West Shore Lake Pontchartrain — A hurricane and storm damage risk reduction levee spanning 18.5 miles to provide 100-year protection to 60,000 Louisianans in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James parishes.
  • Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion – Starting construction on the first-of-its-kind restoration project located in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The project has the capability to build and sustain thousands of acres of land that would provide increased storm surge protection to our vulnerable communities, provide necessary habitats to sustain a productive estuary for fish, wildlife, and industry, and bring billions in economic benefit to the surrounding parishes.
  • Lafitte Tidal Protection System – Goose Bayou Increment – Constructing 4 miles of floodwalls, gates, and levees to 7.5-foot elevation along Bayou Barataria and Goose Bayou to provide vital flood protection to the Lafitte community.
  • Grand Chenier Ridge and Marsh Creation – Restoring 300 acres of brackish marsh habitat and reestablishing 10,600 linear feet of the Bayou Grande Cheniere Ridge in Plaquemines Parish.
  • Terrebonne Bay Marsh and Ridge Restoration – Restoring 10 miles of ridge and up to 1,430 acres of marsh along the east bank of Bayou Terrebonne approximately 20 miles southeast of Houma.
  • Isle au Pitre Restoration – Restoring 50 acres of colonial water bird nesting habitat on Isle au Pitre in St. Bernard Parish.
  • No Name Bayou Marsh Creation and Nourishment – Creating and nourishing approximately 540 acres of marsh south of Calcasieu Lake in the Cameron-Creole Watershed to address land loss due to increased salinity and hurricanes.
  • New Orleans Landbridge Shoreline Stabilization and Marsh Creation – Restoring approximately 280 acres of brackish marsh in the Pontchartrain Basin using 1.3 million cubic yards of dredged material from Lakes St. Catherine and Pontchartrain.

The draft plan will be presented to the public via public hearings on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 25 in Thibodeaux;
  • Wednesday, Jan. 26 in New Orleans;
  • Thursday, Jan. 27 via Zoom (virtual only).

Photo: CPRA