Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

Louisiana Office of Community Development

As rainfall increases and storms intensify, local officials across Louisiana are looking for ways to protect their citizens. They’re putting up levees and floodwalls and trying to manage all of the water. But floodwater doesn’t follow parish lines, so state officials are working on a solution.

As Hurricane Barry headed for the coast in July, Sharonda Kotton and her family were on edge. They live near Bayou Manchac in Iberville Parish, a densely-wooded rural area just south of Baton Rouge. It floods often.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan is the state’s guide for restoring its disappearing coastline and defending cities from rising seas. It includes things like levees and rebuilding marshes. But how does the state decide where to build projects? How does it decide what kind of project to build? And how is climate change considered?

All month long, WWNO is teaming up with Louisiana Public Broadcasting to bring you a special series called Sinking Louisiana. This week, WWNO’s Travis Lux talks talks with Bren Haase, Executive Director of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), about how the state makes big decisions that impact lots of people. They spoke at the CPRA headquarters in Baton Rouge.

Travis Lux / WWNO

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.

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.

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