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.