CPRA breaks ground on the most ambitious environmental restoration in Louisiana

Governor John Bel Edwards yesterday joined the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), as well as several federal and state leaders, to officially break ground and begin construction on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.

CPRA photo

The project is widely regarded as the most ambitious environmental restoration project in the state’s history.

Once operational, the first-of-its-kind project will harness the land-building power of the Mississippi River to build and sustain up to 26,000 acres of wetlands in the Barataria Basin – an area experiencing some of the highest rates of land loss in the world. 

“Today will be remembered as a critical turning point for Louisiana’s coast,” said John Bel Edwards.

“The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will restore and rebuild thousands of acres of coastal land and provide better protection to our most vulnerable communities and critical infrastructure. I’m grateful to CPRA and our federal, state, and local partners for their decades-long effort to make this first-of-its-kind project a reality.” 

Sediment diversions are designed to mimic the natural processes that created Louisiana by reconnecting the Mississippi River to surrounding wetlands.

Such projects have been called for in studies of Louisiana’s coast for more than 100 years, including each iteration of Louisiana’s Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.

Project features include a controlled gate structure through the river’s levee, a manmade channel, and outfall structure in the basin.

Construction is anticipated to take over five years to complete and is projected to produce an economic impact of nearly $1.5 billion in sales and approximately 12,400 jobs in the region.