Port of South La. funding effort to save state’s coastal lands

Published 12:01 am Saturday, May 7, 2016

LAPLACE — The Port of South Louisiana has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Nicholls State University to promote the university’s successful Coastal Restoration Program, dedicated to provide storm surge protection, ending coastal land loss and restoring Louisiana land.

Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul G. Aucoin and Nicholls State University President Dr. Bruce Murphy signed the agreement, which commits the Port to financially assist Nicholls in their endeavors. In turn, Nicholls will supply monthly status reports and other data pertaining to Nicholls’ goals and milestones.

“Restoration of our coast is important to all Louisianians,” Aucoin said. “It’s important for our country. Coastal restoration benefits all of us, male and female, young and old. The Port of South Louisiana is proud to assist Nicholls State University with its coastal restoration efforts.”

The Louisiana coast loses one football field of coastline every hour.

Nicholls’ Coastal Restoration Program came to fruition in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The first community-based restoration project that received funding was for plantings in Leeville, New Orleans City Park and Fifi Island (adjacent and northwest of Grand Isle).

The program’s restoration efforts include mainly grass and mangroves plantings but also installation of sand fences. At the same time, participants monitor changes within the marshes, whether they are positive or negative.

Because industry has such an enormous impact on the economy of Louisiana, the program aims to teach students how changes in the coastline affects industries and, at the same time, instills a sense of stewardship of our natural habitats.

“The Port of South Louisiana’s partnership represents a valuable investment in Nicholls State University and our coastal communities,” Murphy said. “Since July 2014, Nicholls biology students and faculty have grown, harvested and planted over 16,000 grasses and plants in coastal habitats. Thanks to the Port of South Louisiana’s generous support, Nicholls will be able to expand its Coastal Restoration Program, which provides tremendous assistance for Louisiana’s coastal region and valuable hands-on experiences for Nicholls biology students.”

The Port of South Louisiana recognizes the continued success of the Nicholls State University program, which increases safety to life and property and benefits the economy of the region, Louisiana, and United States. As the leading energy transfer port in America, the Port of South Louisiana has an obligation to help protect the region’s oil and gas production, which accounts for 20 percent of the U.S. energy supply.