Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that $796 million in projects for coastal protection and restoration are currently in progress according to the January 2018 report by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). There are 71 total active projects: 24 projects currently in construction, 39 projects in engineering and design, and 8 in the planning stage.
“These projects are very important to restoring Louisiana’s valuable coast, and once completed will benefit 138,000 acres and improve 186 miles of levees,” said Gov. Edwards. “While our problems did not develop overnight, and it will take some time for us to regain what we have lost, we are certainly headed in the right direction and the benefits will be felt for generations to come. I applaud the work of everyone involved in advancing our restoration efforts.”
With the very recent completion of the $28.2 million Bayou Bonfouca Marsh Creation project in St. Tammany Parish and the $3.2 million Des Allemands Swamp project in St. James Parish, there are now 22 projects currently in construction, as reported below.
The completion of Bayou Bonfouca Marsh Creation project effectively restored approximately 1,000 acres of protective marsh habitat between Slidell and the Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain, providing valuable habitat and increased storm surge protection for the Slidell-Lacombe area.
This ecosystem restoration was achieved in partnership between CPRA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using funding through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). “This tremendous portion of the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline now returns to a healthy ecosystem with vital protective marsh,” said CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry.
CPRA Executive Director Michael Ellis said the restoration was accomplished by dredging sediment from the lake and adding it to the marsh. “By giving the marsh more sediment to root in and by restoring the lake perimeter, the healthier marsh environment will help lessen storm and tidal surge damage,” said Ellis. “CPRA tries to restore natural processes whenever possible to optimize project longevity and resiliency, and this project is a prime example. It is designed to maintain connections between tidal creeks and ponds within the marsh, to allow a healthy flux of water exchange,” he explained.
The completion of the Des Allemands Swamp project successfully re-establishes historic hydrologic flow between the Des Allemands swamp and Bayou Chevreuil, and restores 2,400 acres of wetlands. CPRA and its CWPPRA partner, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), constructed eight spoil bank gaps or channels to help maintain swamp elevation, improve swamp water quality, and increase productivity and regrowth of trees. Impacted by navigational dredging, material from Bayou Chevreuil was placed along the waterway, thereby reducing freshwater flow and negatively impacting the flora and fauna. This project also included planting 1,200 bald cypress and water tupelo saplings.
Click here to view CPRA’s January 2018 Quarterly Progress Report.
Additionally, CPRA reports two projects totaling $39.4million currently headed to construction: $35.4M Rockefeller Refuge Gulf Shoreline Stabilization, to benefit 198 acres of shoreline; and $4M Violet Canal North Levee Alignment to benefit 2.1 miles of levee.
CPRA also reports three projects valued at $49.6M to be bid in the next six months: $24.9M Cole’s Bayou Marsh Restoration, Vermillion Parish will benefit 398 acres; $819K Lafitte Area Levee Repair Jefferson Parish will improve .1 mile of levee; and $23.9M South Grand Chenier Marsh Creation Cameron Parish will benefit 414 acres.
Since 2007, CPRA has secured $20 billion for protection and restoration projects in 20 parishes, 130 million cubic yards of fill have been utilized, 41,305 acres of land have