Louisiana Announces Start Of Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project

On January 4, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the state has begun construction on the Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project, part of the Pontchartrain Basin restoration plan being overseen by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). 

“I want to thank CPRA for their work in advancing this record-breaking effort to restore hundreds of acres of marshland in the Pontchartrain Basin,” Edwards said. “The Lake Borgne project and others like it play a vital role in reversing the trend of land loss across Louisiana, and this project represents significant progress in the fight to preserve our coast.”

Lake Pontchartrain is the oval-shaped lake just north of New Orleans that covers roughly 630 square miles. Through the Rigolets and Chef Mentour Pass and tiny Lake St. Catherine, Lake Pontchartrain connects to Lake Borgne to the southeast. Early maps depict Lake Borgne as totally separate from the Gulf of Mexico. However, erosion and subsidence have transformed Lake Borgne into an open, tidal lagoon connected to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project, located in eastern St. Bernard Parish, will “create and nourish” about 2,770 acres of marsh on the southern end of the lake. The project, at a cost of $61 million, will be funded by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment program created after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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“At over 2,700 acres restored, the Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project will be the largest marsh creation project by acreage ever built by CPRA,” the authority’s chairman, Chip Kline, said. “This massive effort is just one component of our ambitious dredging program, and we look forward to continuing the important work to restore coastal Louisiana.”

Engineering for the project is by Covington, La.-based Duplantis Design Group, and West Lake, La.-based Mike Hooks LLC has been awarded the construction contract. The dredge team is constructing containment dikes, which will be filled with dredged material.

“To complete the Lake Borgne project, we’re using 13 million cubic yards of dredged material to restore deteriorating marsh from the eastern shore of Bayou Yscloskey extending over four miles toward Lena Lagoon,” CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase said. “We’re excited to be making progress on another major restoration effort in St. Bernard Parish that will protect the hurricane risk reduction system around the Greater New Orleans region.”

Elected officials from St. Bernard Parish universally praised the project.

“Our coastal marsh and wetlands are some of Louisiana’s most iconic features, and I applaud CPRA’s efforts to protect, preserve and restore these treasured assets,” state Sen. Sharon Hewitt said. “The Lake Borgne project is as impressive in scale as it is in design, and building 2,700 acres of new land will add critical storm surge protection for our community. I’m thrilled to see this investment coming to St. Bernard Parish.”

“The Lake Borgne restoration has been a long time coming, and I’m thankful for the work CPRA and its partners have dedicated to making this project a reality,” state Rep. Raymond Garofalo said. “The rebuilding of such a large area of marshland is a welcomed effort that will provide both improved habitat and enhanced hurricane protection to St. Bernard Parish.”

“Coastal restoration has been a top priority for our administration since taking office,” St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said of the news. “This project is just one of many going to construction that will change the landscape over the next decade.”