A restoration project that has been on the books for 20 years finally got funding Wednesday. The state will soon break ground on the Maurepas Swamp diversion.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority plans to build a channel from the Mississippi River near Garyville to the Maurepas Swamp, an area south of Lake Maurepas between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The swamp has sunk and eroded over time and the project will help rebuild the marsh, providing a valuable buffer from storm surge and protecting New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
It’s a nearly $200 million project, mostly funded by the Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Council, which was set up with settlement money from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The council just approved $130 million in funding for the project, which CPRA officials say gives them enough to do the project.
Governor John Bel Edwards joined coastal advocates and officials from the CPRA at LSU’s River Center in Baton Rouge to make the announcement. Edwards said that it is not ideal to fund the state’s Coastal Master Plan with money from the BP oil spill, but, “the fact of the matter is that because of that event Louisiana has been entrusted with the financial resources to implement one of the most significant and long-awaited projects in the history of the coastal program.”
The restoration project will replenish about 45,000 acres. It is one of many in the state’s Coastal Master Plan.
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