For Immediate Release: Sept. 10, 2007
Contact Chris Macaluso
CPRA Meets: State Charts Path Forward in Implementing Coastal Master Plan
BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority was given progress reports regarding ongoing levee protection projects for the New Orleans area, long-term federal plans for coastal restoration and hurricane protection in Louisiana and the ongoing implementation of the state Master Plan at its meeting Monday.
State officials detailed efforts to develop a set of principles and guidelines essential to the successful implementation of the CPRA comprehensive Master Plan for Coastal Restoration and Hurricane Protection. The secretaries and staff members of the Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation and Development as well as the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities (GOCA) have been engaged in discussions for more than six months to develop a memorandum of understanding among the three agencies.
The goal of the talks has been to outline the roles and responsibilities of the three agencies, all of which play a part in implementing the Master Plan.
"We have been breaking down the barriers that have traditionally separated the roles of these three agencies to find the best way to implement this plan and get to work protecting and restoring our coast," said CPRA Chairwoman and GOCA head Sidney Coffee. "The level of cooperation between agencies that are used to doing things their own way has been tremendous. This cooperation is unprecedented in Louisiana's history."
Also, Karen Durham-Aguilera, director of the Corps' Project Hope, told the Authority the Corps continues to craft the Congressionally-mandated Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Plan (LaCPR). Durham-Aguilera reasserted the promise she made the CPRA in April that the LaCPR plan will use the state Master Plan as a basis.
"LaCPR is going to be an extension of the state Master Plan with additional work added to meet federal requirements," she said.
In addition to outlining future levee building projects, Durham-Aguilera said the LaCPR plan will address the dire need to curb wetland degradation and saltwater intrusion by re-introducing freshwater and sediment into areas that have been isolated from the Mississippi River by levees.
The report will also detail the closing of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet to both deep and shallow draft navigation opening the possibility of using the channel as a fresh water conveyance to rebuild surrounding marshes. A copy of the plan is due to Congress in December.
"No net loss of wetlands and slowing degradation of marshes is a prominent part of the LaCPR plan," Durham-Aguilera said. "The state Master Plan and the LaCPR are working hand in hand. LaCPR will be a way to deliver the vision the state first formed in its Master Plan."
The Corps' is also recommending that Congress supply funds in addition to the $7.6 billion requested by the President to complete the 100-year hurricane protection system in New Orleans for continued maintenance and evaluation of the system over the next 50 years.
The CPRA then heard a report from Terrebonne Parish Levee District Director Jerome Zeringue on the status of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee system which has been designed for more than 10 years but awaits construction. Authorization for the project is contained in the Water Resources Development Act currently awaiting approval from Congress.
The CPRA also discussed the formation of five subcommittees to address ongoing issues and concerns as implementation of the Master Plan proceeds. The five suggested committees are: land use, linear levees, financing, insurance and legislation.
For more information about Monday's meeting or the CPRA, please contact Chris Macaluso in the Louisiana Governor's Office of Coastal Activities at (225)342-3968 or by email at email@example.com.
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.