On September 29, 2020, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group’s (LA TIG) approved $215 million to construct two projects that will restore more than 4600 acres of wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats, a major step forward in the continued restoration of Louisiana’s coastal ecosystems injured as a result of BP‘s Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
These two projects—Spanish Pass Ridge and Marsh Creation Project and Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project—are contained in the LA TIG Final Phase 2 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #1.2.
“This is the fifth major restoration plan announcement this year by the LA TIG and I’d like to applaud the Louisiana Trustees for their swift approvals on these major restoration projects,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “I’d also like to thank the CPRA staff and the project teams for advancing these large-scale, innovative projects to construction. Spanish Pass and Lake Borgne are two major components of the ambitious and historic dredging plan that will be implemented by CPRA over the next three years. We look forward to beginning construction activities on these projects early next year.”
In recent years, CPRA has had a record number of both active projects and projects in construction. Settlement funds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are enabling the state, with the support of its federal partner agencies, to invest in projects that are the state’s largest yet.
“Today’s funding announcement by the LA TIG means two record-breaking restoration projects will be going to construction in coastal Louisiana,” said Kline. “With an anticipated dredging volume of more than 16 million cubic yards, Spanish Pass will be the largest dredging project by volume that CPRA has ever bid. And at more than 2,800 acres, Lake Borgne will be the largest project by acreage ever bid by CPRA. I’d like to once again thank the LA TIG for funding these transformational restoration projects that will continue our state’s recovery following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
The Lake Borgne Marsh Creation – Increment One project is a component of an overall large-scale restoration strategy for the Pontchartrain Basin that will reestablish the bay rim and intertidal marsh habitat. The Lake Borgne Marsh Creation project is located near Shell Beach in St. Bernard Parish.
The LA TIG plan approved approximately $114.7 million in funding for the project’s engineering and design, construction, operations and maintenance, and monitoring and adaptive management for the creation of an estimated 2,816 acres of restored marsh habitat.
“We certainly welcome the news that this major project is moving forward,” said St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis. “This project will have immediate benefits to habitat for fish and birds by reinforcing the degrading southwestern shoreline of Lake Borgne and Lena Lagoon. And we need all the natural marsh buffer we can build to lessen the damaging effects of tidal action and storm surge.”
The Spanish Pass project is located near Venice in Plaquemines Parish. Its primary goal is the creation and nourishment of approximately 132 acres of historic ridge and nearly 1,700 acres of marsh. The LA TIG plan approves funding for project construction, engineering and design, operations and maintenance, and monitoring and adaptive management. The estimated cost is approximately $100.3 million.
It is a component of an overall large-scale restoration strategy for the Barataria Basin to reestablish ridge and intertidal marsh habitats degraded due to sea level rise, land subsidence, diminished sediment supply, and storm events.
“The Mississippi River created our parish and the many historic ridges of our landscape,” said Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine. “These features protect against storm surge, reduce saltwater intrusion, provide key habitats, and also help retain sediment. The marsh west of Venice has been in need of this level of attention for some time and I know the people and businesses near Venice will appreciate this massive project and this tremendous investment.”