Archive for 2012 Coastal Master Plan


Conservation Groups Praise Governor Edwards’ Executive Order on Coastal Master Plan

April 4, 2016 | Posted by Emily McCalla in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, coastal restoration, Media Resources, State Legislature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Conservation Groups Praise Governor Edwards’ Executive Order on Coastal Master Plan

Order Underscores State’s Prioritization of Comprehensive Coastal Restoration and Protection

(NEW ORLEANS – April 4, 2016) Moments ago, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Executive Order NO. JBE 2016 – 09 underscoring the state’s prioritization of coastal restoration and protection activities and requiring all state agencies, departments and offices to adhere to the Coastal Master Plan to the greatest degree possible. In response, national and local organizations comprising the Restore the Mississippi River Delta CoalitionEnvironmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – released the following statement:

“This executive order strongly affirmed the state’s commitment to coastal restoration and protection today. With billions of dollars already invested in a master plan that has benefitted tens of thousands of acres with more forthcoming, we applaud Governor Edwards for helping to remove barriers and ensure efficiency in the state’s fight to save its coast.

“We’re all in this together, and we need to work together to undertake what the Governor has outlined as a top state priority in the years ahead. This order helps to ensure that agencies and departments will work cooperatively and leverage resources wherever possible to get the job done.

“This collaboration and unified front is especially important with Louisiana in the midst of one of the largest ecosystem restoration programs in U.S. history. We have a golden opportunity to get this right – and that also means protecting funding for and advancing projects in the Coastal Master Plan. Our organizations will continue to work with Governor Edwards and all stakeholders to do just that.”

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at www.mississippiriverdelta.org.

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LA Business Organizations Tout Significant Economic Potential of Coastal Restoration to Gov. Edwards

March 14, 2016 | Posted by Emily McCalla in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, coastal restoration, Economy, Job Creation, Media Resources, State Legislature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org
Caitlin Berni, Greater New Orleans, Inc., 504.527.6980, cberni@gnoinc.org

Louisiana Business Organizations Tout Significant Economic Potential of Coastal Restoration to Governor John Bel Edwards

Groups Urge Edwards to Protect Coastal Funding, Advance Master Plan for Long-term Prosperity of State

(New Orleans – March 14, 2016) Today, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition sent a letter to Governor John Bel Edwards signed by 29 Louisiana business associations, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and civic groups urging him to protect funding for coastal restoration and to move forward with the implementation of the state’s Coastal Master Plan. The groups thanked Governor Edwards for his leadership in protecting coastal restoration funds from mid-year budget cuts and for his continued statements that coastal funds should only be used for coastal restoration and protection.

“Our ongoing land loss crisis creates significant business risks to the many industries that depend on a healthy Gulf ecosystem,” said the letter. “A recent study prepared for the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority evaluated the economic impact of coastal land loss in the state. Their report showed that another 25 years of continued land loss would cost residents and business owners $2.1 billion to replace commercial and residential properties, roads, rails and pipelines lost due to erosion. Disruption to business activities during that same time period would cause an additional loss of $5.8 billion. Implementing our Coastal Master Plan can help reduce such losses.”

“Investing in coastal restoration will not only reduce the economic impact to businesses and communities, but will actually grow the economy through development of a new water management sector and expertise,” continued the letter. “The expected infusion of billions of dollars in coming years from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlements, GOMESA and other sources will fuel the creation of jobs and expansion of companies working in this sector.”

A recent analysis by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition based on The Data Center’s methodology shows that water management – which includes coastal restoration, coastal protection and urban water management – is the fastest growing industry in southeast Louisiana, with more than 32,000 jobs. Coastal restoration is not only the biggest job creator in the region, it also has some of the highest-paying jobs, averaging $69,277 per year.

“Coastal restoration projects will not only rebuild our vanishing coast – they will create and sustain jobs, protect communities and provide a sustainable future for the people and industries that call Louisiana home,” said Steve Cochran, Campaign Director for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition. “By safeguarding coastal dollars for coastal efforts, the state is keeping its commitment to restoring and protecting Louisiana’s coast.”

“Coastal restoration and protection will create long-lasting, good-paying jobs and be an economic driver for Louisiana,” said Michael Hecht, President of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “As evidenced in GNO, Inc.’s ‘State of the Sector: Water Management’ report, there are currently 30,350 people employed in the water management sector in the Greater New Orleans region. Additionally, this sector is predicted to grow by 23 percent over the next ten years. And with the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in oil spill money for coastal restoration over the next 16 years – money that is dedicated solely to this growing industry – we will continue to create jobs and provide economic opportunities for the people and industries of coastal Louisiana.”

“The citizens and businesses of Louisiana are relying on you, as our new governor, to prioritize coastal restoration, protect coastal restoration funding and continue to implement restoration plans,” concluded the letter. “Thank you for your continuing attention to this top priority for Louisiana business interests and citizens.”

Read the letter in full along with all signers here: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/03/14/mrd-coalition-sends-governor-edwards-letter-touting-economic-potential-of-coastal-restoration/.

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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330 Groups Call on President Obama to Protect Critical Funding for Coastal Restoration

March 8, 2016 | Posted by Emily McCalla in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, coastal restoration, Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

330 Groups Call on President Obama to Protect Critical Funding for Coastal Restoration

Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act (GOMESA) Provides Crucial Source of Restoration Dollars

(NEW ORLEANS – March 8, 2016) Today, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition sent a letter to President Obama signed by 330 groups, ranging from local governments and business and industry to environmental organizations and community groups, in response to his 2017 proposed budget that redirects funds from the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act (GOMESA) away from Gulf Coast restoration. In the letter, the signers urge the President to reconsider, saying the move would weaken Louisiana’s ability to address its severe land loss crisis for the benefit of the region and the country.

“You have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to Louisiana’s ongoing recovery and its importance to the nation,” the groups stated in the letter. “We believe your proposal to redistribute GOMESA dollars is inconsistent with that very worthy commitment, and we were disappointed to see it again as a part of the budget discussion this year.” The letter continues, “The restoration of coastal Louisiana’s wetlands is one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) will soon provide the only consistent source of federal funds to continue its implementation.”

The U.S. Congress passed GOMESA in 2006 by an overwhelming majority, authorizing the sharing of 37.5 percent of revenues from oil and gas leasing activities with the five Gulf states. Other states receive 50 percent of revenues from similar activity that occurs on their lands, with no restrictions on how to use the money. At the time of passage of GOMESA, advocates argued that the Gulf states should receive similar treatment, as they support and bear the effects of these activities.

The letter concludes, “We respectfully request that you reconsider that approach as you work with us and our communities to build the kind of long term resilience we can achieve.”

Revenue sharing from GOMESA is set to begin in earnest in 2017. GOMESA funding is critical to implementing the state’s Coastal Master Plan – a science-based blueprint that ties ecosystem restoration with community protection and resiliency. In 2006, Louisiana voters constitutionally dedicated this funding stream to the state’s Coastal Trust Fund, which supports master plan implementation.

“This move is not only bad for Louisiana, it’s bad for the nation, as it threatens the Louisiana communities, industries and wildlife that help feed and fuel our entire country,” said Steve Cochran, Campaign Director for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition.

Read the letter in full along with all signers here: www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/03/08/mrd-coalition-sends-president-obama-a-letter-on-gomesa-funding/

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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MRD Coalition Sends President Obama a Letter Urging for Protection of GOMESA Funding

| Posted by Emily McCalla in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, coastal restoration, Media Resources

Today, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition sent a letter to President Obama signed by 330 groups, ranging from local governments and business and industry to environmental organizations and community groups, in response to his 2017 proposed budget that redirects funds from the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act (GOMESA) away from Gulf Coast restoration. In the letter, the signers urge the President to reconsider, saying the move would weaken Louisiana’s ability to address its severe land loss crisis for the benefit of the region and the country.

View the full letter below:

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This Tool Lets You See Flood Risk to Your Own Home

March 2, 2016 | Posted by Emily McCalla in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), Community Resiliency

By Simone Maloz, Executive Director, Restore or Retreat, @smaloz

Want to know more about flood risk in your own backyard, zeroing in on your very address? Want to know more about Louisiana Coastal Master Plan projects that will help reduce that risk? Then check out the best kept secret in coastal Louisiana: the Flood Risk and Resilience Viewer launched by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

Watch this quick video tutorial and introduction.

The easy-to-use viewer displays information on coastal land change, flood risk and impacts to communities. This innovative, online tool provides residents with access to the state’s best information about how Louisiana’s coast may change in the future, as well as resources to make communities and properties safer.

The viewer uses data produced for the 2012 Coastal Master Plan and shows current land loss and flood risk, as well as projections 50 years into the future. Also displayed are the 2012 Coastal Master Plan protection and restoration projects that offer land-building and risk-reduction benefits across Louisiana’s coast.

Flood risk and resilience viewer: flood map

Flood risk in 50 years without the Coastal Master Plan

On the homepage of the website, you can enter a specific address or view the entire Louisiana coast. Through an easy-to-navigate toolbar, you can click on land change, flood risk, socio-economic factors, impacts from flooding, and other resources. You can delve into different sea level rise scenarios, flood events (50, 100 or 500-year) and impacts with or without the implementation of master plan projects. There is information explaining what a 100 or 500-year flood event actually means, as well as a Frequently Asked Questions page to assist in using the site.

Flood risk and resilience viewer: master plan projects

Restoration Projects in the 2012 Coastal Master Plan

This information is also integrated with additional coast-wide data on infrastructure and other elements of the built environment to show how flood risk impacts communities. The information can be used to better understand current coastal flood risk and how this risk may change in the future. In addition, a variety of resources are provided to enable homeowners and business owners to take steps toward reducing their flood risk.

The viewer is intended to support residents, communities, local governments, state agencies, non-profits and community advocates in coastal planning and hazard mitigation efforts; and we believe it does just that. But don’t take our word for it… check it out for yourself!

To learn more and explore the viewer, visit: cims.coastal.louisiana.gov/floodrisk

As the executive director of Restore or Retreat, Terrebonne Parish native Simone Maloz works daily to advance projects and policy to address the needs of the disappearing Louisiana coast, specifically across the Barataria and Terrebonne Basins. Ms. Maloz was appointed by Governor Jindal to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation in the summer of 2014. She is working with her partners at the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition to ensure Louisiana remains a prosperous place where her children – and their children – can live, work and play.

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Louisiana Releases Draft Annual Plan for Coastal Restoration and Protection

January 12, 2016 | Posted by jhebert in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), coastal restoration, Diversions, Restoration Projects, State Legislature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Louisiana Releases Draft Annual Plan for Coastal Restoration and Protection
Plan Includes CPRA’s Recommendations for Two Sediment Diversions

(BATON ROUGE, La. – January 12, 2016) Last week, Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) released its draft Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Annual Plan for Integrated Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana. This year’s Annual Plan expands on last fall’s recommendation by CPRA to advance two sediment diversion projects at Mid Barataria and Mid Breton.

CPRA is required by the state legislature to produce an Annual Plan that reports on the progress of projects as well as project funding schedules and budgets. The agency will host a series of three public meetings this week in Lake Charles, New Orleans and Thibodaux and is accepting comments on the draft plan.

National and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released the following statement:

“The drafting of the Annual Plan is a vital part of the restoration process in Louisiana. It gives CPRA the opportunity to take inventory of projects in the Coastal Master Plan, project real dollars to continue progress and communicate directly with the public on the status and potential futures of specific projects.

“We are pleased to see the most current and best-available science from the Coastal Master Plan process continue to drive prioritization and planning by CPRA. As the Annual Plan says, the Mid Barataria and Mid Breton sediment diversions must continue to move forward into engineering and design, and eventually, implementation.

“Sediment diversions like these provide the best opportunity to restore our coast over time. They use the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to help rebuild our collapsing delta – the power, sediment and water from the Mississippi River itself. Our disappearing land can only survive if we allow the river that built it to rebuild and sustain it. Ensuring these diversions move forward in an expedited manner should be of utmost importance to us all.

“We look forward to continuing to work alongside CPRA, other organizations and residents all along the coast to get diversions up and running.”

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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New study: Cost of not pursuing significant coastal restoration could reach $133 billion

December 21, 2015 | Posted by jhebert in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), coastal restoration, Community Resiliency, Economics, Federal Policy, Hurricanes, Reports, Restore the Coast, Science

By Elizabeth Van Cleve, Communications Manager, Environmental Defense Fund

Louisiana has lost nearly 1,900 squares miles of land since the 1930s. Without future action to restore the coast and reverse this trend, the state stands to lose another 1,750 square miles of land by 2060.

This land loss crisis not only impacts the communities, wildlife and ecology of south Louisiana, but it also puts cities, homes, infrastructure and industries at risk. Coastal wetlands serve as a buffer against the effects of waves, storms and sea level rise. The continued loss of wetlands jeopardizes Louisiana’s diverse economy as well as the entire nation that depends on the Mississippi River Delta for shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, tourism and other industries.

A recent study conducted by the Louisiana State University (LSU) and the RAND Corporation aims to measure the future economic impacts of continued coastal land loss. Commissioned by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), “Economic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana” provides a quantitative understanding of the economic damages caused by wetlands loss if we don’t take action now to restore the coast.

The two-year study measures the projected economic costs associated with continued land loss under future-with-no-action scenario, including projected damages to capital stock, such as buildings, homes and roads; disruption of economic activity, including employment and trade flows; and changes in ecosystem services and related industries, such as fisheries, tourism and recreation.

Key findings from the report include:

  • $2.1-$3.5 billion: Total replacement cost associated with capital stock at risk from land loss
  • $5.8-$7.4 billion: Total annual output (economic activity) at risk from land loss
  • $10-$133 billion: Increase in storm damage to capital stock
  • $5-$51 billion: Total output lost to increased storm damage

“Every dollar we spend today on coastal restoration and protection will save us many, many more dollars in the future,” said CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline in a press release. “But beyond being cost-feasible, we’re talking about saving lives, families, homes, business and our way of life. This study by LSU and RAND is important in making our case to Congress and the nation that it is better for many reasons to spend now rather than later.”

Read the full report on CPRA’s website here.

The Times-Picayune (video): Coastal erosion, hurricane could cost Louisiana $133 billion

Learn more about how coastal restoration is important to the economy at OurCoastOurEconomy.org.

RANDLSUCoastalEconomicsStudy

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$52.2 million in oil spill funds approved for Louisiana coastal restoration

December 15, 2015 | Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, BP Oil Disaster, coastal restoration, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), Restoration Projects, RESTORE Act

By Elizabeth Weiner, Senior Policy Manager, Environmental Defense Fund

4689SecPritzkerWebCr Robert smith wildlife Mississippi

Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce and Chair of the RESTORE Council. Dec. 9, 2015. Credit: Robert Smith/Wildlife Mississippi

Last week, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration (RESTORE) Council approved its first Funded Priorities List (FPL) of projects and programs to fund with civil penalties available from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Transocean settlement. This is an important step forward for the entire Gulf Coast that is still recovering from the spill. In particular for the Mississippi River Delta, the FPL demonstrates both the state of Louisiana’s commitment to funding Coastal Master Plan projects with RESTORE dollars and progress in implementing the master plan.

Louisiana submitted five project proposals, all of which are projects from the Coastal Master Plan. While these projects are still in planning phases, they represent critical near-term opportunities to keep the Mississippi River Delta on its path to recovery and sustainability. The Louisiana master plan projects receiving funding include:

Two additional projects, Jean Lafitte Canal Backfilling ($8.7 million; implementation) and Bayou Dularge Ridge, Marsh and Hydrologic Restoration ($5.2 million; planning), are also located in Louisiana and were included in the Council’s FPL. These two projects, submitted for funding by federal members of the RESTORE Council, are complementary to and consistent with the Coastal Master Plan and will directly benefit coastal Louisiana.

The RESTORE Council meeting in Biloxi, Miss. Dec. 9, 2015. Credit: Robert Smith/Wildlife Mississippi

The RESTORE Council meeting in Biloxi, Miss. Dec. 9, 2015. Credit: Robert Smith/Wildlife Mississippi

The finalization of this FPL comes in follow-up to positive progress made through other Gulf oil spill funding streams – the National Fish and Wildlife Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, created by criminal plea agreements with multiple responsible parties, and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDA) process.

Now that BP’s settlement of civil penalties and responsibilities under NRDA is pending, both the RESTORE Council and the NRDA Trustee Council will be able to make even more progress, with an eye toward large-scale restoration. For the RESTORE Council, the next step will be an update to its Initial Comprehensive Plan to improve decision-making, project selection, and to consider the projects planned and funded through the other oil spill funding streams. For the NRDA Trustees, their next step will be considering public comments and finalizing the draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan.

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Coast 2050's Lasting Impacts on Coastal Restoration

November 5, 2015 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA), Restoration Projects, Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

By Estelle Robichaux, Restoration Project Analyst, Environmental Defense Fund and Gaby Garcia, Science Intern, Environmental Defense Fund

This post is part of a series on early restoration planning in Louisiana. Be sure to check out our previous posts: part one, part two and part three.

Since the early 1990's, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Preservation, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) has been providing a steady funding stream for Louisiana coastal restoration, averaging about $45 million per year. Yet despite this funding commitment, at the time, there was still a void in actionable, systematic restoration planning for coastal Louisiana.

Seeing a need, the Louisiana State Wetlands Authority and the CWPRRA Task Force collaborated to develop Coast 2050, a strategic plan for creating an enduring and sustainable Louisiana coast. Approved in 1998, the plan was a consensus-based, stakeholder-informed initiative that received explicit support from all 20 coastal parishes.

Louisiana coastal parishes

Louisiana's coastal parishes

This comprehensive plan takes a regional perspective on restoration, based on three strategic goals:

  • To create and sustain marsh by accumulating sediment and plant matter;
  • To maintain habitat diversity by varying salinities and protecting key land forms; and
  • To maintain ecosystem connections so there is exchange of energy, plants, and animals.

By focusing on these guiding principles, the participants in this collaborative effort were able to generate a plan that relies on a variety of restoration tools – from shoreline protection and marsh creation to the reintroduction of fresh water and sediment to deteriorating wetlands.

From Coast 2050 to LCA Study

The Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Ecosystem Restoration Study was an outgrowth of Coast 2050 that took the plan’s restoration concepts and strategies and formulated them into more specific project ideas that could be analyzed and studied.

The overall goal of the LCA study was to reverse the trend of coastal ecosystem degradation, with a specific focus on using restoration strategies that would reintroduce historic flows of river water, nutrients and sediment to the coastal wetlands.

The results of the study, which were finalized and published in 2004, identify 15 projects categorized as ‘critical near-term features.’ This means that the project or action addresses essential ecological needs of coastal Louisiana in areas where delaying action would result in greater future restoration costs and possibly a loss of opportunity for restoration.

Although the approved LCA plan and these 15 critical near-term projects were included in the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, no funds were actually appropriated for this work. Meaning that while the U.S. Congress authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to work on these coastal restoration projects, they did not give them any money to do it.

Coast 2050’s Lasting Impacts

Many of the recommended actions and priorities advanced in Coast 2050 have had a lasting imprint on restoration planning in Louisiana, by setting the stage for project ideas that became a part of the LCA Ecosystem Restoration Study and, eventually, the 2012 Coastal Master Plan.

Coast2050 LCA projects w arrows ER

Coast 2050, Louisiana Coastal Area and 2012 Coastal Master Plan projects (click to enlarge)

Despite the lack of funds and forward momentum in implementing the LCA plan over the past decade, these projects and ideas – that will have a great benefit to the ecosystem and are strongly rooted in science – are finally advancing through the state’s Coastal Master Plan and oil spill-related funding.

Many of these are priority projects for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, because they are based in sound science, have been planned and studied for a long time and are key to comprehensive and sustainable coastal restoration. While implementation of some of these projects has been slow, we expect that many of them will see greater progress now that the results of the basin-wide modeling effort have been announced, CPRA’s recent recommendation to move forward the Mid Barataria and Mid Breton sediment diversions into engineering and design, and as more funding becomes available through the pending BP settlement.

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Groups Pleased As Key Sediment Diversions Advance, Coastal Restoration Funds Protected

October 21, 2015 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), Media Resources, Meetings/Events, Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, Science

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Groups Pleased As Key Sediment Diversions Advance, Coastal Restoration Funds Protected

CPRA Board Moves Forward on Two Diversion Projects, Proposes Using GOMESA Funds for Highway Elevation

(October 21, 2015 – Baton Rouge) Today, Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) board announced two major developments. First, CPRA recommended advancing both the Mid Barataria and Mid Breton sediment diversion projects in the Coastal Master Plan, which will reintroduce fresh water and sediment from the Mississippi River into its surrounding, collapsing wetlands and rebuild land over time. Secondly, the CPRA board voted to approve a new proposal to use Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) money, rather than funds previously committed to projects in the state’s Coastal Master Plan, for elevating Louisiana Highway 1.

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition – which includes Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation – issued the following statement in response:

“We are pleased to see CPRA leverage the most current and best-available science to move forward the Mid Barataria and Mid Breton sediment diversions projects into engineering and design. The urgency and severity of our collapsing delta requires that we use the most powerful tools at our disposal. Sediment diversions provide the best opportunity to restore the coast over time, preserving our communities, industries and entire way of life. We will continue to pursue and understand the science behind diversions, but there is no scientific uncertainty about our physical reality – we live in a landscape built by the river, disappearing because we have cut the delta off from the river.

“This announcement is an important step toward getting sediment diversions up and running. We’re in a race against the clock and forces of nature. We need to move forward at full speed while ensuring efficiency and transparency in the steps ahead.

“Louisiana Highway 1 is a critical corridor for our state and national economic vitality. We believe that the elevation of Highway 1 is eligible for GOMESA funding, and we join with the LA1 Coalition in pursuit of adequate funding for this and other coastal infrastructure projects. We support the development of a prioritization system that would allow for up to 10 percent of GOMESA revenues to be spent on coastal infrastructure projects, with a focus on projects that are directly impacted by coastal wetland loss. This system should reflect the significant role of coastal infrastructure projects such as Highway 1, which contribute to energy security, community resiliency, and the national, state and local economy. This is a long-standing and well-understood aspect of GOMESA and does not veer from any prior commitments to restoration.

“We are gratified that the state has made the right decision in considering an appropriate funding source for this coastal infrastructure improvement project and has not moved forward with using oil spill funds it previously committed to the Coastal Master Plan.”

A recent poll found tremendous statewide support for coastal restoration:

  • 94 percent indicate that a gubernatorial candidate’s commitment to protect and restore coastal Louisiana will be important to them when they vote.
  • 90 percent want the next governor to ensure funds currently dedicated to coastal restoration are not spent on anything but coastal restoration.
  • 87 percent want the next governor to work to identify and secure funding for future projects identified in the state’s Coastal Master Plan.
  • 85 percent believe restoration of coastal Louisiana should be a high priority for the new governor.
  • 95 percent want the new governor to commit to move quickly and get started building coastal restoration projects.
  • 78 percent believe protecting and restoring coastal Louisiana is as important as other issues facing the state.
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) indicate support for river diversions to build new land in Louisiana.

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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