Louisiana commits nearly $1.3 billion to critical coastal restoration projects

Published 12:03 am Saturday, January 22, 2022

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority recently released its Draft Fiscal Year 2023 Coastal Annual Plan, the annual spending plan for the state’s coastal program. The Annual Plan guides funding to implement the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, the 50-year vision for priority coastal restoration and risk-reduction projects to restore and protect Louisiana’s coast.

In response to the draft release, Restore the Mississippi River Delta – a coalition of national and local conservation groups working together to address Louisiana’s land loss crisis comprised of Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Pontchartrain Conservancy and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released the following statement from Campaign Director Simone Maloz:

“Today’s announcement marks a turning point in Louisiana’s coastal program, as the state has committed to invest over $1 billion next year to restore and protect its coast. This investment follows one of the more devastating hurricane seasons in Louisiana’s history. With so many communities still rebuilding from recent storms, the urgency and importance of restoring wetlands and protecting vulnerable communities cannot be overstated.

“This Annual Plan, combined with the over $2.5 billion also announced for Louisiana from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act led by Sen. Cassidy, means Louisiana is poised to make significant investments to achieve a safer, more equitable and climate-resilient future for its people, wildlife and economy.”

The plan includes strategies to advance several key coastal restoration projects that will benefit over 57,000 acres of vulnerable wetlands and 109 miles of levee. Key projects advancing through the plan include the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, the Golden Triangle Marsh Creation project, the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain risk reduction project and the Houma Navigation Canal Lock Complex project.

The state of Louisiana intends to spend $1.28 billion on a total of 114 Coastal Master Plan projects. This will be the largest single-year funding commitment for the coastal program to date.

This dedication of funding reflects the nearly universal belief of Louisiana voters that the state should prioritize confronting its coastal land loss crisis. An overwhelming 97% of voters along Louisiana’s coast agree that state officials should work to maintain as much of the coast as possible and 70% of voters believe stronger hurricanes and increased coastal flooding are already having an impact on themselves and their families.