The latest coastal news, events and more from the Barataria and Terrebonne Basins...

ROR Celebrates Coastal Day at the Louisiana Legislature
The annual event draws coastal stakeholders, businesses and organizations to the State Capitol to talk coast.

Coastal Day at the Louisiana Legislature has become an annual event, and this year's event highlighted progress with the Governor and coastal legislators earlier this month.
Coastal funding panelist shared updates on Coastal Day
The day kicked off with a panel centered on coastal funding organized by Restore or Retreat, and featured Robin Barnes of GNO Inc, Stephen Barnes of LSU, Steve Cochran of EDF, ROR Executive Director Simone Maloz, Richelle Moore of CPRA, Megan Terrell of the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities, and was moderated by Chip Kline, Deputy Director of GOCA.  The group covered projects related to GOMESA forecasts, environmental impact bonds, ROR's Financing the Future Report, outcome based performance contracting, and Louisiana's Natural Resource Damage Assessment Banking Program.  
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the large crowd on Coastal Day
A discussion with Governor John Bel Edwards and several coastal legislators followed shortly thereafter.  Senate Natural Resources Chairman Norby Chabert acknowledged the diversity in the room and the commonality of those working for progress in coastal protection and restoration, despite differing opinions.  House Natural Resources Chairman Stuart Bishop also discussed the FY19 Annual Plan.

The day closed with exhibits in the Capitol rotunda, outreach to statewide legislators, and/or attending the industry briefing by CPRA which always takes a deep dive into projects coming online in the upcoming months.  Coast Builders Coalition and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana hosted a crawfish boil reception to round out the day.  

Want to hear the comments from the Governor?  Check out Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's Facebook page where it was live streamed!
State, Corps Commit to Expedited Permitting for Diversion
The Trump administration has followed through on a promise to expedite federal permitting for a critical coastal restoration project, shaving about two years off the timeline for the Mid-Barataria sediment diversion

Photo: LSU
From CPRA, Associated Press and the The Baton Rouge Advocate:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District announced in early April it has updated the comprehensive schedule for completing all environmental reviews needed for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, advancing the anticipated permit decision date from October 2022 to November 2020.  Expediting the permit timeline by almost two years, the revised permitting timetable is now available on the federal Permitting Dashboard.

This announcement follows the execution of a MOU 
between the State of Louisiana and multiple federal agencies on January 26, 2018.  That MOU, which established a more collaborative permitting process, included a commitment by all of the agencies to work to reduce the permitting timeline.

"Today's announcement reflects the continued collaboration between our State and the federal government and the commitment from all parties to implement this transformational project as safely and quickly as possible," said CPRA Board Chairman Johnny Bradberry. "I am pleased that our recent efforts to implement the new MOU has resulted in a new permitting timetable, and I anticipate further reductions in the schedule as we continue to coordinate and find efficiencies in this process.  The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is critical to our future as it addresses the root cause of our coastal crisis by reconnecting the Mississippi River with our basins and restoring the natural process that built our delta." 

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will provide sediment, water, and nutrients to the basins in order to build, maintain, and sustain the wetlands, complementing the billions of dollars that have been or will be invested in coastal protection and restoration projects, such as marsh creation, ridge restoration, and barrier island restoration projects, along with shoreline and other structural protection projects.  The structure will be located in Plaquemines Parish, LA, along the west bank of the Mississippi River, just north of Ironton and south of the Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery, near Mississippi River Mile 61.

"For a landscape where wetland loss is measured at an hourly rate, shaving nearly two years off the permitting timeline for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is a significant accomplishment," the conservation coalition Restore the Mississippi Delta said in an emailed statement. "This updated timeline for the project begins to reflect the true urgency of the environmental and economic crisis facing coastal Louisiana."

Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan identifies sediment diversions as necessary projects to create a more sustainable coastal Louisiana landscape.  The Barataria and Breton Basins are two areas that have experienced significant land loss due to sediment deprivation, hydrologic alteration, subsidence, sea level rise, and salt water intrusion.  Since the Mississippi River was leveed in the 1930s, the Barataria and Breton Basins and Mississippi River Delta have lost approximately 700 square miles (or 447,000 acres) of land, representing one of the highest land loss rates in the world. 

To learn more, visit the program's webpage: 
Mississippi River Mid-Basin Sediment Diversion Program.
ROR recently hosted a Congressional staff field trip to Davis Pond and Port Fourchon.  Read more on our blog!
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