louisiana coastal master plan

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.

WWNO / Travis Lux

Thousands of miles of canals have been cut throughout Louisiana’s coastal marsh -- most of them for oil and gas wells and pipelines. A lot of them have never been filled back in, which has contributed to coastal erosion.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY 2.0)

Louisiana isn’t the only place in the world trying to fight back the ocean. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, and the Dutch are well-known for their water management expertise.

 

State officials in Louisiana are signing a formal agreement to tap into that knowledge.

 

mississippiriverdelta.org

Governor John Bel Edwards recently declared coastal land loss a "State of Emergency." Officials hope this will speed up federal approval of big coastal restoration projects -- like planned river diversions south of New Orleans.

 

Though good for the coast, big land-building projects can have unintended consequences -- like changing where certain species live. So if the feds agree, instead of a lengthy environmental review process the state could get leeway and start building earlier.