Louisiana Announces $215 Million In Funding For Two Coastal Restoration Projects
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced September 29 the approval of $215 million to build two coastal habitat restoration projects in Southeast Louisiana. Funding, approved by the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG), comes as part of the state’s share of the settlement from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
“This is the fifth major restoration plan announcement this year by the LA TIG, and I’d like to applaud the Louisiana trustees for their swift approvals on these major restoration projects,” Edwards said. “I’d also like to thank the CPRA [Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority] staff and the project teams for advancing these large-scale, innovative projects to construction.”
The two projects, one at Spanish Pass on the Mississippi River and the other at Lake Borgne, will restore more than 4,600 acres of wetlands, coastal and nearshore habitats, according to the announcement from the state.
“Today’s funding announcement by the LA TIG means two record-breaking restoration projects will be going to construction in coastal Louisiana,” CPRA Chairman Chip Kline said. “With an anticipated dredging volume of more than 16 million cubic yards, Spanish Pass will be the largest dredging project by volume that CPRA has ever bid. And at more than 2,800 acres, Lake Borgne will be the largest project by acreage ever bid by CPRA.”
The Spanish Pass project, located near Venice, La., about 10 miles above Head of Passes, will create and nourish about 132 acres of ridge and close to 1,700 acres of march. Estimated cost is about $100.3 million. Funding will cover project construction, engineering and design, operations and maintenance and monitoring and adaptive management. The project is part of a large-scale effort to restore the Barataria Basin, located south of New Orleans and west of the Mississippi River and Plaquemines Parish. The area has seen extensive degradation due to storms, sea level rise, salt water intrusion and subsidence.
“The Mississippi River created our parish and the many historic ridges of our landscape,” Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine said. “These features protect against storm surge, reduce saltwater intrusion, provide key habitats and also help retain sediment. The marsh west of Venice has been in need of this level of attention for some time, and I know the people and businesses near Venice will appreciate this massive project and this tremendous investment.”
The Lake Borgne marsh creation project is part of a restoration plan for the entire Pontchartrain Basin. Lake Borgne, due to wetland loss and subsidence, functions more as a lagoon adjoining the Gulf of Mexico in extreme southeast Louisiana, east of St. Bernard Parish. The project, located near Shell Beach, will create an estimated 2,800 acres of marsh habitat. The $114.7 million approved by the LA TIG team will fund the project’s engineering and design, construction, operations and maintenance and monitoring and adaptive maintenance.
“We certainly welcome the news that this major project is moving forward,” St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said. “This project will have immediate benefits to habitat for fish and birds by reinforcing the degrading southwestern shoreline of Lake Borgne and Lena Lagoon. And we need all the natural marsh buffer we can build to lessen the damaging effects of tidal action and storm surge.”