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Ask questions about $14M plan to develop Maurepas Swamp help

RESERVE — River water could be coming to Maurepas Swamp by diverting freshwater from the Mississippi River through a gated structure near Garyville into a five-mile conveyance channel in an effort to preserve local wetlands.

More than $14 million has been allocated to designing the project, with local residents afforded the opportunity to learn about the effort and ask questions from its supporters.

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is co-hosting an informational meeting with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority on the Mississippi River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Regala Gym in Reserve, 194 Regala Park Road.

The public is invited to learn more about the project, its current status and next steps, and ask questions to those working to implement the restoration.

The meeting’s open house kicks off with refreshments and information to view about the project. Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and CPRA will give presentations beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.

Maurepas Swamp consists of more than 140,000 acres of cypress-tupelo trees and is one of the largest areas of forested wetlands along the Gulf.

The project will reconnect the swamp to the Mississippi River, restoring wildlife habitat and maintaining over 45,000 acres of sinking and degraded wetlands.

In September, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority was awarded $14.2 million from the RESTORE Council to advance the project to its engineering and design phase.

Authority Chairman Johnny Bradberry said river reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp has long been discussed at the state and federal levels as a key restoration project.

“We are excited to advance this important project toward construction readiness,” Bradberry said.

Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is the single state entity with authority to develop, articulate, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal Master Plan of unified vision, to reduce tropical storm surge flood impact, to restore our bountiful natural resources, to build land to protect our nation’s critical energy infrastructure, and to secure Louisiana’s coast now and for future generations. Visit coastal.la.gov to learn more.