Two NOAA-sponsored habitat restoration projects in Louisiana have been approved for $30 million in funding in 2020 by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act Program (CWPPRA).
These projects will restore habitat along Louisiana’s coast, increase protection for people and property, and help restore some of America’s richest fisheries.
Coastal wetlands are Louisiana’s first line of defense during hurricanes and storms, protecting communities and infrastructure from the damaging effects of wind, waves, and flooding.
They also provide habitat for fish and shellfish, which support a statewide seafood industry valued at nearly $1 billion per year. However, the Louisiana coastline has deteriorated considerably over the last several decades, with one of the highest rates of wetland loss in the world.
Since 1990, the CWPPRA has served as the primary means for responding to coastal wetland loss in Louisiana. Each year, large-scale restoration projects are approved for funding by the CWPPRA Task Force.
In the last week of January, 2020, the CWPPRA Task Force approved two NOAA-sponsored projects for funding to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, including:
- Construction of the West Fourchon Marsh Creation & Nourishment Project, which will create and restore nearly 537 acres of marsh and mangrove habitat east of Timbalier Bay in Terrebonne Parish. ($26,319,998); and
- Engineering and design for the North Delacroix Marsh Creation & Terracing Project, which will restore 389 acres of marsh in St. Bernard Parish, helping to protect the nearby community of Delacroix. ($3,714,166).
Altogether, funding will support restoration of 926 acres of wetland habitat.
“Our coastal wetlands protect Louisiana communities, families and businesses while also providing critical habitat for wildlife and fisheries. Rebuilding our coast is essential to preserving our culture and strengthening our economy, and this announcement is great news for people throughout Southeast Louisiana who rely on a strong coastline,” said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
“I applaud NOAA’s commitment to conserving and sustaining Louisiana’s wetlands, a commitment that will increase protection for our local communities,” he added.
The Task Force is composed of the State of Louisiana and five participating federal agencies:
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Since 1990, NOAA has been the federal sponsor for construction of nearly 30 wetland restoration projects through the CWPPRA Program. They have restored more than 12,500 acres of vulnerable coastline and helped build the resilience of coastal communities.