State Releases Draft Annual Plan– See ROR’s Comments

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The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority recently released their annual spending plan.

The Integrated Ecosystem Restoration & Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana: Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Plan anticipates investing $887 million in Louisiana’s coast with 71% of that amount going directly to constructing projects.

Key takeaways from the Draft Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Plan include:

  • 90% of total expenditures will go toward project implementation and maintenance
  • 110 active projects: 66 in construction totaling $633 million; 37 in engineering and design totaling $97.7 million; $10.4 million for seven projects in planning
  • 9 active projects in Southwest Louisiana, 35 in South Central Louisiana, and 66 in Southeast Louisiana.
  • 19 dredging projects are slated for construction, using more than 92.4 million cubic yards of dredged material to create or nourish nearly 15,000 acres of coastal wetlands.

CPRA is requesting public comments through March 27, 2021, by emailing coastal@la.gov, or by mail to CPRA 2022 Annual Plan, 150 Terrace Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70802. For more information, call 225-342-7308.

 

Restore or Retreat’s Key Messages

  • Remarkable Progress: The $2.8 billion coastal protection and restoration budget over the next three years, of which $2.2 billion is for projects in construction, shows that our state is taking this crisis and its urgency seriously and stepping up with significant action.
    • We would like to see additional context added on how many jobs this investment to our state could bring.  For example, we recently heard the Terrebonne Basin Barrier island project employed 120 or more people.  This is a great way to show how we can continue to create a robust water management sector here in Louisiana.
  • Vital Restoration Projects Advance: We are pleased to see such progress being made in both coastal protection and restoration, with several important projects advancing in the Bayou Region.
    • Increase Atchafalaya: We strongly support the Increase Atchafalaya Flow to Terrebonne project and would like to see more progress and funding for this project’s construction.
  • Houma Navigational Canal Lock: It is encouraging to see the Houma Navigation Canal Lock Complex move forward with funding for Phase I from Pot 3 of RESTORE, and we hope to see construction start very soon. We are encouraged by the state’s idea to finance the shortfall for the project and are willing/ready to assist with that if needed.
    • Terrebonne Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation: Bayou Terrebonne: we are pleased with the progress of this project and look forward to construction starting this year.
    • Port Fourchon Shoreline Protection: We are pleased to see this project in development, as it serves as a critical first line of defense for not only the economic hub of Port Fourchon, but the thousands of residents in Lafourche Parish.
    • Others:
      • We are supportive of the Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion and look forward to the major milestone coming soon with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
      • We are supportive of the Lafourche Parish project related to Grand Bayou.  This project has been talked about for quite some time, so it is positive to see progress towards its implementation.
      • We appreciate the inclusion of the coastal center at Nicholls for state surplus funding, and we are committed to ensuring the success of the research center.
      • There also appears to be an increase in non-structural funding, which is a critical component to any multiple lines of defense strategy, especially in the Bayou Region.
  • Funding the Master Plan: Restore or Retreat would like to continue to work with CPRA and others on finding long term funding for the program beyond the BP settlement dollars.   This includes both existing programs, as well as new federal and state programs that might emerge.
  • Outreach and Engagement: The plan still lacks the narrative in draft form, which is very much helpful when educating the public on the progress CPRA is making, including in this narrative could be more specific information like job creation which also appeals to folks not traditionally interested in the plan.  The draft plan does include restoration partnerships and language access, which is important to the non-profits and community groups.
  • Time is of the Essence/Lead with Science: In the aftermath of the devastating 2020 hurricane season and with the Gulf of Mexico marching closer every day, the threat to millions of people across our state, fish and wildlife, as well as businesses and vital infrastructure is ever increasing. The state must continue to prioritize projects using the best available  science and put limited funding toward the best, most powerful coastal restoration projects as quickly as possible to match the urgency of our land loss crisis. Investments in coastal protection and restoration will significantly reduce the costs of future disasters and help create jobs and economic opportunities within Louisiana at a time when these are desperately needed.

RestoreorRetreat