For Immediate Release: Feb. 25, 2010
Contact: Chris Macaluso
Advisory Commission Discusses Federal Restoration Efforts at Thursday Meeting
BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Governor's Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation focused its discussion at its meeting Thursday on two Congressionally-authorized coastal protection and restoration efforts being headed by the Corps of Engineers.
First, Corps officials updated the status of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration study (LACPR), a much debated document Congress told the Corps to write in the wakes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 that was intended to address comprehensive coastal protection and restoration in Louisiana.
Tom Holden, the Corps's New Orleans District's Deputy Engineer for Project Management and Troy Constance, Corps Senior Project Manager, said the LACPR technical report has been completed, submitted to Corps officials in Washington D.C. and undergone review by the National Academies of Sciences.
Constance added that the study has identified a multiple lines of defense strategy, one that combines the restoration of barrier islands and wetlands along with the construction of levees, floodgates and pumps as well as elevating homes and roadways, as an essential component of the LACPR technical report.
Commission Chairman R. King Milling said state coastal officials addressed the multiple line of defense strategy in Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast as well and have also examined the compromises and sacrifices that will have to be made in order to restore and protect coastal wetlands and communities. Milling urged the Corps of Engineers to move forward aggressively in pursuing federal funding and building projects.
"It is imperative for all of us to take the givens that we have all already adopted and move past that towards implementation," Milling said. "We have contemplated ecosystem changes in our master plan and we understand that sacrifices are going to have to be made in order to successfully restore and protect this coast. We understand there will be trade offs and sacrifices made in restoring this coast."
Garret Graves, chairman of the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told the Commission that state officials will be meeting with Corps officials and others in the presidential administration early next week in Washington D.C. to urge them to move restoration projects forward as quickly as possible.
Holden said he and other Corps officials from the New Orleans District would try to work closely with Graves and other state officials following those meetings to incorporate measures to expedite the processes used to move projects toward construction.
Graves began Thursday's meeting by praising the administration for including $19 million for Louisiana's coastal restoration efforts in new-start construction projects in its recommended budget for fiscal year 2011.
The LACPR discussion was followed by a presentation by Mark Wingate, senior project manager with the Corps' New Orleans District, about the development of projects contained in the Louisiana Coastal Area study (LCA) which was approved by Congress for construction in the 2007 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
Wingate focused the discussion on what he called the LCA "6", meaning the first six LCA projects being developed by the Corps and Louisiana coastal officials. State officials are leading the development of three projects, including the restoration of the barrier islands in Terrebonne Parish, a diversion from the Mississippi River through the Blind River at Convent and modifications to the Diversion Canal on the Amite River.
Corps officials are leading the way in developing three other LCA projects including the multi-purpose operation of the Houma Navigation Lock, conveying water from the Atchafalaya River to marshes in northern Terrebonne Parish and a diversion of the Mississippi River at White Ditch in Plaquemines Parish.
According to Wingate's presentation, which can be viewed by clicking here, the Corps and state are on track to have a design agreement in place for the projects by September 2010, a project partnership agreement between the state and Corps ready by October 2011, provided Congressionally approved funds are available, and contracts for construction ready to advertise by the middle of 2012.
For more information about the Louisiana Governor's Advisory Commission and all of Louisiana's coastal protection and restoration efforts, please contact Chris Macaluso at (225) 342-3972 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.