April 20, 2022

Surplus Funding for Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection

Surplus Funding for Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection

Alongside the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recently announced a proposal to allocate $150 million in surplus funding toward coastal restoration and protection projects, as per the governor’s office.

During the April press conference, Governor Edwards announced his proposal by saying, “at this moment, we are reaping the rewards of over a decade and a half of planning and implementation efforts. We have invested in the science and directed every available dollar toward projects that deliver real benefits to our people. Our track record of investment and implementation has allowed CPRA’s program to grow steadily into the success story it is today. The confidence we have in our coastal program has now been reaffirmed by an even larger investment from the federal government. I am now asking the Legislature to help us recover further from the devastating hurricanes of 2020 and 2021 by dedicating $150 million of state surplus to projects that will make us safer and more resilient well into the future.”

At the press conference, Col. Stephen Murphy, the commander of the USACE New Orleans District, commented on the Governor’s office’s push toward coastal restoration. Col. Murphy said, “coastal Louisiana’s importance to the Nation is underscored by the Administration and Congress’ recent investment of more than $2.6 billion under the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs acts. We look forward to our continued partnership with the State of Louisiana in delivering their commitment to support the area’s recovery and improve its resiliency to future conditions.”

The $150 in surplus funding will be allocated to fifteen total coastal projects, with $84.5 million being directed toward restoration efforts and $65 million toward hurricane and flood protection projects across 13 parishes. The many projects range from $200,000 allocated for the LSU Center for River Studies in Baton Rouge to $38 million being allocated for the design and construction of the Northwest Little Lake Marsh Creation in Lafourche Parish.

The full list, which can be viewed here, includes $30 million for construction of the Pailet and Crown Point Basin polders of the Lafitte Tidal Protection project in Jefferson Parish, $12 million for construction of the LaBranche Shoreline Protection project in St. Charles Parish, $2 million toward funding the Atchafalaya Basin Program for environmental restoration efforts and enhanced recreational opportunities, and $10 million toward the Southwest Coastal Project in Cameron, Calcasieu, and Vermilion parishes. Additionally, $5 million will be allocated toward various Vermillion Parish projects, including funding for shoreline protection and ridge restoration projects at Cheniere au Tigre as well as an increment of the North Vermilion Bay Shoreline Protection Project.

The mandate of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is to develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan. As per its website, the CPRA’s 2023 Coastal Master Plan “will build upon previous master plan efforts and strive to ensure that the collective effects of project investments reduce storm surge-based flood risk to communities, provide habitats to support an array of commercial and recreational activities, and support infrastructure critical to the working coast. This will be achieved by harnessing natural processes, focusing protection on key assets, and adapting to changing coastal conditions.”

As revealed by CPRA Chairman Chip Kline, the 2023 Annual Plan is the largest in CPRA history. Chairman Kline stated, “this is a pivotal moment for the coastal program. Our 2023 Annual Plan is the largest in CPRA history, with over a billion dollars allocated for construction and major investments in hurricane protection, sediment diversions, and 23 dredging projects across our coast. We are excited to see the prioritization of vital coastal restoration and protection projects in this year’s surplus funding.”

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