For Immediate Release: November 21, 2008
Contact: Chris Macaluso
CPRA and Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District Sign Agreement on Bayou Lafourche Restoration Project
THIBODAUX, La. -- The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District signed an agreement Friday to begin work on a landmark project to clear and restore the capacity of Bayou Lafourche for drinking water supplies to more than 300,000 South Louisiana residents and restoration of the coastal ecosystem.
Under the cooperative endeavor agreement, the CPRA will provide up to $20 million and technical support to the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District to clear debris, restore the bayou's capacity, and provide additional freshwater. The additional water will be pumped into the bayou from the Mississippi River near Donaldsonville.
"This is exactly the kind of project this state should be building," said CPRA Chairman Garret Graves. "It is the first time we have moved forward on a project of this scale and encompass so many aspects of coastal restoration; bringing fresh drinking water supplies to communities and bringing nutrients to coastal wetlands."
The project will begin December 1, 2008 with land surveying and staking of areas along the banks of the upper 6.2-mile stretch of the bayou. The Fresh Water District's request for right of way access to implement the project was granted by the Louisiana Governor's Office on Friday.
The additional capacity allowed by the clearing project will improve safe drinking water supplies for communities in Ascension, Assumption, Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish while bringing freshwater and nutrients to wetlands adjacent to the bayou. Water supplies to communities in those parishes were contaminated by high bacteria levels due to stagnant water and plant decomposition after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
"This historic agreement is the culmination of years of work and dedication," said Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District Chairman Hugh Caffery. "To preserve our bayou home, we must greatly increase the water flow. Now we have the resources at hand to get this done."
Bayou Lafourche once carried as much as 15 percent of the flow of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico until an earthen levee was built in the early 20th century that isolated the bayou from the river.
"Signing this agreement is the step that allows us to finally move forward on this much needed project," said State Representative Joe Harrison, who chairs the Select Committee on Bayou Lafourche Diversion Project. "Louisianian's will now see the enormous difference moving freshwater down Bayou Lafourche makes to the health of communities and our wetlands."
This project is the first of approximately 18 coastal restoration initiatives comprising the multi-billion dollar Louisiana Coastal Area program authorized by Congress in November of 2007. The Louisiana Legislature unanimously approved the project in the state's comprehensive coastal master plan in 2007.
For more information, please contact Chris Macaluso at (225) 342-3968 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan. For the first time in Louisiana's history, this single state authority will integrate coastal restoration and hurricane protection by marshalling the expertise and resources of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and Development, and other state agencies, to speak with one clear voice for the future of Louisiana's coast. Working with federal, state and local political subdivisions, including levee districts, the CPRA will work to establish a safe and sustainable coast that will protect our communities, the nation's critical energy infrastructure, and our bountiful natural resources for generations to come. The CPRA of Louisiana was established by Act 8 of the 1st Extraordinary Session of 2005.