Biden-Harris Administration recommends funding for Louisiana to strengthen Climate-Ready Coasts

Published 6:52 am Friday, April 21, 2023

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Today, Vice President Harris announced that the Department of Commerce has recommended $40.3 million for projects across Louisiana to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Investing in America agenda. Across Louisiana, 12 projects will create jobs and boost economic and environmental outcomes for coastal communities. The awards are made under the Biden Administration’s Climate-Ready Coasts initiative funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) with additional funds leveraged from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

“Louisiana’s coastal communities are home to more than half of the state’s population, so an investment in Louisiana’s coasts is an investment in the state’s people and economy,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “By making projects that remove marine debris, restore oyster habitats, protect against erosion, and more possible, the Biden-Harris Administration is making a down payment on the bright future of Louisiana’s booming coastal economy.”

Administered by the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Climate-Ready Coasts initiative is focused on investing in high-impact projects that create climate solutions by storing carbon; build resilience to coastal hazards such as extreme weather events, pollution and marine debris; restore coastal habitats that help wildlife and humans thrive; build the capacity of underserved communities and support community-driven restoration; and provide employment opportunities.

“Investing in the restoration, reconstruction, and protection of marshes, tidal creeks, and oyster reef habitats along the Louisiana coast demonstrates the nation’s commitment to the protection and conservation of our vast shorelines and various species who thrive in these coastal environments,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “NOAA is proud to recommend these projects to help coastal communities invest in their future and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.”

“I am happy to join Secretary Raimondo and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today to praise this funding for our coastal communities. We must prioritize restoring our coasts and helping our neighbors fight against the worst effects of the climate crisis. I will continue to support mechanisms that create jobs and boost economic and environmental outcomes for coastal communities. I’m serious about protecting Louisiana’s coast and culture,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (LA-02).

These projects are part of NOAA’s nearly $6 billion total investment under BIL and IRA. Recommended projects and funding amounts in Louisiana include:

  • High-Impact and Large Marine Debris Removal throughout the National Marine Sanctuary System
    National Marine Sanctuary Foundation: $14.9 million 
    Funding Source: Marine Debris Removal Competition
    This investment will result in the removal of large marine debris from several national marine sanctuaries including the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, located off the coast of Louisiana and Texas.
  • Coordinated Large Marine Debris Removal in the Gulf of Mexico
    Gulf of Mexico Alliance: $7.7 million
    Funding Source: Marine Debris Removal Competition
    The Gulf of Mexico Alliance will administer a regional competitive grant program for large marine debris removal in the Gulf of Mexico. The project will also remove previously identified abandoned and derelict vessels across Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Projects in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas are potentially eligible for future funding under this grant program.
  • Gulf of Mexico Community-based Oyster Recycling and Reef Restoration Network
    Restore America’s Estuaries: $4.9 million 
    Funding Source: Transformational Habitat Restoration and Coastal Resilience Grants   
    This project will restore oyster reef habitat at sites across the Gulf of Mexico region. Restaurants from around the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas will participate in a comprehensive oyster shell recycling program to help build oyster reefs that provide habitat for a diverse group of species, including recreationally and commercially important fish and their prey. Shell recycling programs and oyster reef restoration sites will be designed to serve local ecosystem and community resilience needs, with an emphasis on tribes and underserved communities.
  • Bucktown Marsh Restoration and Living Shoreline
    Jefferson Parish: $4.5 million 
    Funding Source: Transformational Habitat Restoration and Coastal Resilience Grants
    Living shorelines help reduce erosion; defend against storm surge and rising seas; improve water quality; and establish shoreline habitat important for fish, shrimp, crabs, and other important commercial and recreational fisheries. This project includes constructing a mile long living shoreline and will restore marshes, tidal creeks, and lagoons along the southern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain. It will protect the existing shoreline and levee from damage from waves, erosion, and storm surge and will mitigate impacts of future storms. This will also increase the resilience of the Jefferson Parish levee system, which protects homes and critical infrastructure.
  • Coastal Land Conservation at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge – Cameron Parish, Louisiana
    Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries: $4 million 
    Funding Source: Coastal Zone Management Habitat Protection and Restoration Grants
    This purchase of 6,800 acres of critical coastal habitat in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, directly adjacent to the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, will reduce coastal flood risks, conserve critical ecosystems, and preserve habitats for a variety of coastal resources, as well as provide much needed public recreational opportunities through the expansion of public lands.
  • Restoring Louisiana Marshes: Protecting Sacred Sites, Increasing Tribal Resilience, and Reducing Flood Risk
    Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government: $1 million

    Funding Source: Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities
    Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government will restore coastal wetlands in areas near to where the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi–Chitimacha–Choctaw Tribe, the Pointe–au–Chien Indian Tribe, and the Jean Charles Choctaw Nation are located or have sacred and culturally significant sites. Using local and indigenous knowledge, they will work to refill canals that were previously dug for oil and gas exploration to help reestablish the wetlands.
  • Enhancing Resilience of Southeast Louisiana’s Asian American Fisherfolk Communities
    The Water Institute of the Gulf: $822,000
    Funding Source: Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities
    The Water Institute of the Gulf will partner with community liaisons to directly engage southeast Louisiana’s Asian American shrimpers and processors and co-develop a climate change adaptation plan to protect their communities and fishing infrastructure. Through interviews, workshops, and interactive modeling activities, they will work to develop a comprehensive plan that takes into account the specific needs and experiences of Asian American fishing communities.
  • Caad Kuujaamnix/Bayou Sale Living Shoreline Design
    Wayti Services, LLC: $737,000
    Funding Source: Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities
    The Chitimacha Tribe, through its business Wayti Services, LLC, will design a living shoreline to restore and protect areas of Caad Kuujaamnix (Bayou Sale) that are home to tribal cultural sites. Funding will support staff and technical experts in their work to conduct a study and plan a construction method for creating marsh habitat, protecting the shoreline, and supporting traditional fisheries.
  • Restoring Resilience Through Central Wetlands Reforestation Collective  
    Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana: $715,000
    Funding Source: Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities
    The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana will restore habitat in the Central Wetlands Unit, a nearly 30,000-acre marsh bordering communities in the Ninth Ward of Orleans Parish and St. Bernard Parish. They will engage local community members in hands-on project work to provide a new generation of coastal stewards with the skills and experience needed to build capacity for coastal restoration.
  • Bayou Bienvenue Wetlands Triangle Habitat Restoration – Planning and Design 
    City of New Orleans: $490,000
    Funding Source: Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities
    The City of New Orleans will work toward restoring the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle, a large and complex wetland next to the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood. They will work closely with partners to collaborate with the local community in creating a restoration prioritization plan. Based on the results of that plan, they will develop designs to restore a portion of the wetlands.
  • Fostering Community Partnership and Understanding Financial Vulnerabilities to Reduce Marine Debris and Enhance Louisiana’s Resilience to Disaster
    Louisiana Sea Grant: $299,000
    Funding Source: Marine Debris Community Action Coalitions 
    This investment will help municipalities with underrepresented populations understand their financial vulnerability to storm events in terms of clean-up costs. Using the Financial Debris Management Simulation tool, the  project will improve awareness of the issues surrounding storm-transported litter in Louisiana and also engage with youth and community groups to educate on the consequences of litter/marine debris and promote environmental stewardship through clean-up activities.
  • Consider Litter: Data-Driven, Community-Centered Marine Debris Prevention and Mitigation
    Louisiana Sea Grant: $295,000
    Funding Source: Marine Debris Community Action Coalitions
    This investment focuses on the removal and prevention of marine debris in Louisiana’s Barataria, Pontchartrain and Terrebonne Basins, communities that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution and are historically marginalized. By focusing on Title I schools, Consider Litter will build a network of visible and diverse community stewards (students, teachers, businesses and local leaders) who can monitor litter in their communities and compile data that can help inform the resulting prevention/mitigation projects.