A coastal restoration task force has granted approval for planning and engineering work to begin on $74 million worth of coastal restoration projects in Louisiana.
The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act task force, whose members include the Corps of Engineers and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, is responsible for approving funding for and executing coastal restoration projects in Louisiana. The newly approved projects include the Barataria Bay Rim Marsh Creation, Oyster Lake Marsh Creation, Fritchie Marsh Creation and Terracing, Camindada Headlands Back Barrier Marsh Creation II, and the East Leeville Marsh Creation and Nourishment.
The $28 million Rockefeller Refuge Gulf Shoreline Stabilization project will involve the construction of a shoreline protection barrier along the Gulf of Mexico. The three-mile structure will consist of a rock breakwater with light aggregate core with gap to facilitate material and organism growth.
The Cole's Bayou Marsh Restoration project will create 365 acres of brackish marsh by dredging and relocating material from nearby Vermillion Bay. Culverts will also be trenched along the projects area to allow for nutrient and sediment flow into the area.
The Fritchie Marsh project calls for creating 287 acres of marsh east of Slidell along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Contractors will create the marsh by dredging sediment from the bottom of the lake and pumping it along the shoreline.
Land loss is a critical problem in Louisiana. According to CWPPRA, the state loses an area of marsh the size of a football field every hour and has already lost coastal land area equal to the size of the state of Delaware. Without intervention or action, Louisiana will lose another 800,000 acres of land by the year 2040 with the shoreline advancing inland as much as 33 miles in some areas.
More sources of funding and political commitment have been fueling billions of dollars worth of restoration projects. The state's 2012 Master Plan identified $50 billion worth of construction projects over the next 50 years to provide 500-year flood protection for New Orleans and hopefully reduce the rate of land loss.