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Mid-Barataria Diversion Project Delayed

Travis Lux
The CPRA Board is updated on coastal activities in February 2019. At its March meeting, the board was informed that the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project has gotten off schedule.

The state’s cornerstone coastal restoration project has been delayed. The announcement was made in Baton Rouge at the monthly Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board meeting.

If constructed, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion would build land by diverting some of the muddy Mississippi River water through a controlled structure along the river levee, and into nearby marshes.

Despite continued pushback from commercial fishing groups, state officials are eager to get the project built quickly. Last year, the state signed an agreement with the federal government that would speed up the timeline for the project by about two years.

Now, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) says the project is behind schedule for a number of reasons, including the federal government shutdown and the need to deliver more project details to the federal government for various permits.  CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline says he’s okay with the delay.

“I will own a delay in schedule all day long if it ensures that we’re getting this right in the long run,” he says. “And that we’re being transparent with our public and with this board.”

The CPRA says it will have a clearer picture of the scope of the delay in June, and will provide an update then.

The board also approved the CPRA’s Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Plan, which is essentially a request to spend money on different restoration and protection projects. The Annual Plan will be sent to the state legislature in April for final approval.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Foundation for Louisiana, and local listeners.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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