Details of the State’s Billion Dollar Annual Plan– yes, that’s Billion with a “B”!

The Board of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) approved the draft Annual Plan during their virtual monthly meeting, and for the first time in history, the authorization document will surpass the milestone billion dollar mark in potential coastal spending.

The CPRA Board is required by Act 523 of the 2009 Regular Legislative Session, amended by Act 604, to produce an Annual Plan that inventories projects, presents implementation schedules for these projects, and identifies funding schedules and budgets.

Due to an increase in both offshore royalty revenues shared with Louisiana, plus state surplus dollars committed by the Governor to the coastal program, the FY 21 Annual Plan increased from $958 million in its early draft to $1.08 million with this approval. Under this plan, $804 million will be allocated for construction, over 60,000 acres will benefit, and 118 miles of levee will be enhanced.

Here is our take on this year’s FY21 Annual Plan.

Vital Restoration Projects Advance

There are a significant number of vital, priority projects funded and advancing through the Annual Plan. This year alone will see 120 active projects with 68 in construction.

  • The $3.34 billion coastal protection and restoration budget over the next three years represents the largest spending plan in the history of the State’s coastal program, an exciting milestone.
  • Of the $1.08 billion fiscal year 2021 total expenditures, $804 million allocated toward construction is a sign our state is taking this crisis and its urgency seriously and stepping up with major action.
  • As we exceed $1 billion expended annually on restoration and protection projects, we would like to continue to encourage the State to maximize and leverage all available coastal dollars through both traditional and alternative financing and delivery methods.
  • Additional dollars were also allocated to two non-structural projects in southwest Louisiana and Jefferson Parish.

Time is of the Essence/Lead with Science

With the Gulf of Mexico inching closer every day, the threat to millions of people across our state, fish and wildlife, as well as businesses and infrastructure is ever increasing. It is absolutely critical the state prioritize science in planning and put available funding toward the best, most impactful coastal projects as quickly as possible to match the urgency of our crisis.  We are pleased to see progress in the state’s diversion program, as well as the inclusion of a robust 17 dredging projects moving over 80 million cubic yards of valuable material to benefit 14,000 acres.

Dedication of GOMESA and Surplus Dollars

The State and the parishes’ share of offshore royalty revenues, or GOMESA, represents a critical investment to help protect over 2 million Louisianans who live and work along our coast, including in the Bayou Region, where we have contributed our own dollars to better protect our communities.  Achieving our maximum limit of $143 million will benefit over a dozen additional projects all across our coast.

We would also like to commend the current administration for dedicating past surplus dollars wisely on the coastal program and are pleased to see potential future dollars dedicated to priority coastal projects as well (upon its recognition by the Louisiana Legislature.)  In particular, we applaud the following line items listed as potential surplus expenditures: Morganza to the Gulf, North and South Lafourche levee improvements, diversion program, Nicholls Coastal Center, and restoration partnerships.

Education and Outreach

CPRA has made an effort to increase outreach and engagement on many priority projects.  Strategies such as utilizing engagement of social media interactions, Coastal Connections efforts, document translations, stakeholder updates, and fact sheets have and will continue to positively benefit stakeholders.   Particular outreach line items that include Coastal Education, Language Access, Restoration Partnerships, and Public Outreach and Field Trips are commended.

Parish Specific Comments

We are highly appreciative of the following regional projects listed in the plan for FY21, FY22, FY23:

  • We are excited to see major projects in our area advance like: Terrebonne Basin Barrier Islands, Morganza to the Gulf, North Lafourche and Larose to Golden Meadow hurricane protection systems, Houma Navigational Canal Lock complex, Caminada Back Barrier Marsh, and the critical pump station in Bayou Lafourche that will provide a stable potable water source and increased fresh water to the marshes in the Bayou Region, just to name a few.
    • Extra kudos to the Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District and CPRA for utilizing the EPA state grant program to help fund this important project.
  • There are 37 active projects in the South Central Region, which includes the Terrebonne Basin, and 69 active projects in the South East Region, which includes the Barataria Basin.
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