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St. Charles Parish Coastal Plan Up For Public Review

St. Charles Parish Government
Coastal Zone Management administrator Earl Matherne says St. Charles Parish officials have tried to pass a plan like this for more than 40 years, but uncertainty about the levees made it hard.

St Charles Parish officials hope to gain more control over their local wetlands by adopting their own coastal plan.

St. Charles Parish officials hope to minimize the loss of wetlands through restoration, local permitting and mitigation. The plan is in concert with the state Master Plan, but includes more specific details for the upriver parish.

St. Charles Parish plays an important role in the statewide coastal master plan because it includes two man-made Mississippi River diversions in the East Bank: the Bonnet Carré Spillway and the Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion on the West Bank.

Coastal Zone Management administrator, Earl Matherne, says they have tried to pass a plan like this for more than 40 years, but uncertainty about the levees made it hard.

“The problem was, every time we had a map we’d have so much public comment saying ‘No, no, my property’s dry, I’m going to build a house there.’ But now we have the levee alignments so everybody knows if they’re inside or outside the levee alignment,” says Matherne.

The new levee plan is now being implemented.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources gives parishes more control over wetlands zoning if they pass a local plan. If St. Charles’s plan is approved it will be the 11th parish in the Local Coastal Program, joining Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

The plan is up for public comment through October 1 on the parish website.


Support for WWNO's Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Kabacoff Family Foundation and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.


Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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