Coastal Rundown: Louisiana RESTORE Project Proposals
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the state agency charged with implementing and maintaining Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan, is applying for funding for five major restoration projects. The projects include creation of marshes adjacent to the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans East, Lake Maurepas and Biloxi, and money for consolidated management of the Mississippi River.
The funding will come from an organization called the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, a group of governors and federal officials charged with spending the money expected to come from Deepwater Horizon spill fines.
Need a refresher on the RESTORE Act? This is straight from the CPRA’s website:
In June 2012, Congress proactively passed the RESTORE Act, which dedicates 80 percent of all prospective Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties related to the DeepwaterHorizon spill to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. The RESTORE Act also outlines a structure by which the funds can be utilized to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast region.
One of the three "pots of money" under the act allows each of the five gulf states to submit restoration projects to the council. If approved, the projects will be on put on the priority funding list. Here’s a rundown on the five projects Louisiana submitted:
Golden Triangle Marsh Creation Project
This project would create 600 acres of new wetland habitat in Golden Triangle, an important natural buffer that protects New Orleans from storm surge. Golden Triangle is within the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, the largest urban National Wildlife Refuge within the city’s limits.
Mississippi River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project
This project aims to restore the connection between the Mississippi River and the Maurepas Swamp to address land loss caused by reduced sediment input from the river and brackish water from Lake Maurepas.
Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline Project
The Biloxi Marshes function as an important storm buffer for the City of New Orleans. This project aims to create 47,000 feet of bioengineered, marsh-fringing oyster reefs along the eastern shoreline of the Biloxi Marsh in efforts to jumpstart a self-sustaining system.
West Grand Terre Beach Nourishment and Stabilization Project
This project directly addresses gulf shoreline erosion and subsidence, and aims to mitigate those issues by restoring dune and back barrier marsh habitat on West Grand Terre. This area has lost marsh and therefore lost protection against storm surge, so an estimated to 12,700 feet of beach and dune will be built, and a rock revetment (sloping structures placed on banks or cliffs in such a way as to absorb the energy of incoming water) will be constructed to protect restored marsh.
*Fun fact: Restoration of West Grand Terre will protect Fort Livingston State Commemorative Area, which was constructed in 1841 and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Lower Mississippi River Management Program
Straight from the CPRA site: The Lowermost Mississippi River, the reach from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico, is a multiple use resource of national significance. Past flood control and navigation management practices have led directly to the loss and degradation of coastal habitat adjacent to the river, and current management practices often conflict with proposed restoration measures. The ultimate goal of the program is to create an integrated, science-based, management philosophy for the Lowermost Mississippi River that results in restoration of lost wetland habitat and no net loss of wetland habitat in the coastal area affected by navigation and flood protection programs.
*See all Coastal Rundowns here.
Support for WWNO's Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and the Kabacoff Family Foundation.