Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

Travis Lux / WWNO

The River Parishes are about to get a major new coastal protection project: 18 miles of storm surge levees between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

St. John, St. James, and St. Charles Parishes are only protected from flood waters along the Mississippi River. There are currently no levees on the swampier side of those parishes along Lake Pontchartrain.

CPRA

Governor John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday that he plans to put some of the state’s surplus money toward the coastal program, but first needs approval from state officials.

 

The state of Louisiana ended fiscal year 2018 with an extra $300 million. At an event on Wednesday, Edwards said he plans to dedicate $55 million of that extra cash to coastal restoration and protection, but legally can’t until state officials recognize the funds.

CPRA

Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) released a draft of its new annual plan at the monthly CPRA Board meeting on Wednesday, Jan.16. At the meeting, officials said they plan to seek permits for a significantly bigger Mid-Breton river diversion.

Tristan Baurick / Nola.com | The Times-Picayune

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: marshes are usually pretty wet, so you might not think they'd burn -- but near Avery Island, land managers are lighting them on fire. Plus, we discuss conflict of interest accusations around one of the state’s big coastal restoration projects.

WWNO’s Travis Lux talks about the week in coastal news with environment reporter Tristan Baurick from Nola.com | The Times-Picayune.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) wants feedback on its list of projects for the next year. Officials are holding a series of public meetings. The first meeting was last night in Belle Chasse.

 

The state’s big-picture plan to protect and restore the coast is updated every five years — it includes plans for things like river diversions and rebuilding marshes. That’s the Master Plan. But the money for those projects is approved on a yearly basis — the Annual Plan.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

A new state study says land loss could cost Louisiana a lot of money if nothing is done. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority commissioned the study, which was done by LSU and the RAND Corporation.

The Interior Department Inspector General says two federal agencies lack of oversight when dealing with coastal restoration grants in Louisiana.

An audit of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program outlines concerns about contract awards and other financial matters.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority are in charge of that coastal impact program. They say the audit didn't cite serious problems, but did point out areas for improvement.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's coastal chief, Garret Graves, is leaving state government this month.

Graves has been chairman of the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for six years. Jindal announced Tuesday that Graves' last day will be Feb. 17.

The governor's office didn't give any reason for Graves' resignation, but praised his time leading the state's coastal restoration efforts.

Graves says he's not sure of his next job plans yet. He says he'll be taking "some down time with family" before choosing another position.

Eileen Fleming / WWNO

A viewing platform on the edge of the Lower Ninth Ward can now offer visitors a chance to see the damage done to wetlands by saltwater intrusion. They can also watch through new interactive signs as restoration projects try to repair the damage at Bayou Bienvenue.

Taxpayers may be on the line for hundreds of thousands of dollars if the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East has to withdraw its lawsuit against oil and gas companies.

SLFPA-E met opposition from the legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee Wednesday, as the committee gathered information from the authority on the suit, also hearing opposing testimony from Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority head Garret Graves.