Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Coast To (the) Coast

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has released its revised master plan for coastal restoration.

A revised state coastal protection and restoration master plan unveiled Tuesday moves a proposed pair of major Mississippi River diversions to a location closer to the mouth of the river, as Plaquemines Parish officials and residents had requested.

Presented in Baton Rouge at a meeting of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the master plan also for the first time outlined a list of flood protection and coastal-restoration projects to be financed by $523 million in offshore oil lease payments.

A summary of the projects are as follows:
  • Divert Mississippi River water at Violet to replenish wetlands along the MR-GO and in easternmost New Orleans.
  • Pump treated wastewater to create marsh, including cypress forest, in the wetlands between the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the 40-Arpent Canal in St. Bernard Parish.
  • Pump sediment through a pipeline from the Mississippi River to rebuild wetlands in Jefferson, Plaquemines and Lafourche parishes.
  • Protect the Lake Borgne shoreline and create marsh along its northern shore to strengthen part of the fragile eastern New Orleans land bridge that separates that lake from Lake Pontchartrain.
  • Rebuild the southern edge of East Grand Terre Island, just east of Grand Isle in Plaquemines Parish.
  • Divert fresh water from the Mississippi into the Blind River in St. James Parish to reduce damage to wetlands and cypress swamp.
  • Protect the shoreline and rebuild wetlands along the east bank of Bayou Rigolettes in Jefferson Parish with dedicated dredging.
  • Remove a floodgate at Bayou Lamoque on the Mississippi River that will turn the project into a freshwater diversion, building wetlands in California Bay in eastern Plaquemines
  • Begin the planning process for redesigning the bottom of the Mississippi River to allow major diversions to create new delta.
  • Begin building a lock on the Houma Navigation Channel that will both protect inland areas from storm surge and provide a channel for freshwater to wetland restoration areas.
  • Protect the northwestern shoreline of Lake Salvador.
  • Buy easements and take other measures to protect coastal forests, mostly cypress, on private property.

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