Spring Coastal Updates

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“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

No doubt about it– spring has sprung, and there are exciting things afoot!  Here are some recent plans and projects underway on the coastal front:

Volunteer Beach Cleanup- Restore or Retreat is teaming up again with the Barataria National Estuary Program to host a spring cleanup at Elmer’s Island.  The popular recreation spot along our coast near Grand Isle was recently restored to full glory, but it needs a little spring cleaning thanks to a series of hurricanes last year and general marine debris washing up daily.  We are targeting the end of March for the major volunteer effort —check back with Restore or Retreat and BTNEP for more details soon.  But don’t worry, if you miss this volunteer opportunity, BTNEP will be regularly cleaning up the beach as part of a long-term partnership with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the state agency managing the island.

Coastal Annual Plan- Comments Requested:  Every year, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority releases a report of the coastal work recently accomplished, and also outlines projects to be implemented in the upcoming three years.  The Fiscal Year 22 Annual Plan intends to invest over $877 million in coastal projects in the next year alone and over $600 million for just Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes in the next three years, with the majority going to construction.  Significant coastal investments like those outlined could lead to thousands of jobs for our area.

Priority projects on the list include: Shoreline protection for Port Fourchon, the Nicholls Coastal Center, levee projects for both North and South Lafourche and Terrebonne, as well as the completion of major barrier island work and the start of construction for the Houma Navigational Canal Lock, all impacting the entire bayou region.  For more information on how you can lend your support for these coastal investments, visit coastal.la.gov or go to Restore or Retreat’s website to view our annual plan one pager under News and Events.

Major basin-wide project reaches a milestone:  At the beginning of the month, the US Army Corps of Engineers released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.  There is also a companion restoration plan by the Louisiana Trustee Group, which oversees the spending of post-BP dollars which will be paying for the project and the mitigation and stewardship required.

The urgency to build the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion cannot be overstated:  Without this project, the future for our coast, communities, economy and wildlife is dire. The Barataria Basin alone could lose an additional 550 square miles of land over the next 50 years, a nightmare scenario that would jeopardize the safety and prosperity of not only Lafourche Parish, but our entire region, threatening our unique culture and our status as Sportsman’s Paradise.

For decades, scientists and engineers have considered all the tools available and agree the Mid-Barataria project is the best long-term solution necessary to match the challenges we face from land loss and sea level rise.  Is it without challenges?  No.  But this is our best shot, and we need to take it.  A “future without action” would mean a future without Louisiana, and that is something we simply cannot afford or allow.  For more information on this project and the DEIS process, please join one of the community webinars on March 22 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., March 23 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., April 20 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.   You can also visit Restore or Retreat’s website to register for the webinars under News and Events.

There is no shortage of ways this spring to get active, get engaged and get to know more— let us know how Restore or Retreat can help you support the solution!

ROR was able to see the first pelican egg on Queen Bess this spring during a recent trip out to the island!

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