SOUTH LOUISIANA—Today marks the return of Coastal Day for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. To Celebrate, Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards had an announcement to make, saying, “I am pleased to announce the advancement of three major restoration projects in southeast Louisiana today. They are the West Grand Terre Barrier Island restoration near Grand Isle, the Spanish Pass restoration near the town of Venice and the Golden Triangle Marsh restoration near New Orleans East, in Chalmette.
3,200 acres of restoration is the goal of the three projects. The methods used will be dredging and reconstructing natural ecosystem by restoring beach, dune and marshland. The CPRA says it’s time for Louisiana to work with the river again and not against it.
Chip Kline is the Chairman of the Coastal Restoration Authority and says, “we are fighting against over 80 years of coastal land loss in this state. The Mississippi river literally built the land we stand on today. That is what we are trying to do with sediment diversions; mimic the natural process that built our state to begin with.”
Historically, even before the 1600’s it was the water of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico that made the land attractive. Industry was fed by the water. Today, water eats up the land, with every storm and tide that rolls through.
Since 1932, Louisiana has lost over two thousand square miles of land due to coastal erosion. The Spanish Pass Project in Venice, Louisiana will use ten million cubic yards of sediment to build. That high number makes the highest volume of dredge material from the Mississippi River to date.
There are many factors that desperately call for the rebuilding of Louisiana’s coastline. From an ecological standpoint, it helps keep the diversity in wildlife and terrain. Also, there are many who have been forced to move because of a shrinking coastline. However, one of the pressing issues is that natural coastline is one of the main defenses against storms.
Kline says, “coastal restoration and hurricane protection are one in the same here in Louisiana. For every two miles of wetlands that exist, storm surge can be knocked down by one foot.
Governor Edwards says, “severe weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe, which makes crystal clear how important coastal restoration protection is because of the climate and the impact. Last year there were four hurricanes that made landfall in Louisiana.”
Governor Edwards joins the United States Climate Alliance and has created a climate initiative task force. The cost of the coastal restoration projects total over 256 million dollars. The money is leftover from the BP oil spill aftermath.
Chip Kline says, “if you look at the projects that we are going to break ground on over the next four years, we are actually going to create more land than we expect to lose by implementing these projects. That’s the first time we can say that since the 1930’s.”
The three projects are already underway and will continue throughout the year and the into the 2022.