For Immediate Release: February 11, 2008
Corps of Engineers completes MRGO Closure Study
CPRA, Corps Collaborating to Close Navigation Channel
NEW ORLEANS - By signature of the Chief of Engineers, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief's Report for the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Deep-Draft De-Authorization (MRGO) Study was completed on January 29, 2008. The report was then transmitted to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)) to review the findings, obtain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) input, and send the report to Congress.
In conjunction with construction of the MRGO closure, the Corps will de-water the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Lock to perform required repairs to the lock and gate structure. These repairs will increase the reliability of the IHNC Lock prior to construction of the MRGO closure. Because the IHNC Lock repairs would impact shallow draft traffic, the Corps will dredge the Baptiste Collette channel to allow marine traffic to bypass the lock. All of the material dredged from Baptiste Collette will be used beneficially to build coastal wetlands in the Mississippi River delta.
The work on the MRGO closure will also be coordinated with the storm surge protection measures in the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal. This work is an integral component of the commitment to provide 100-year risk reduction to the Greater New Orleans area by 2011. The contract for that design-build project is planned for award this spring.
The Corps expects to begin the construction of the MRGO closure structure during the lock repair work, but completion of the MRGO closure will not occur until that work is completed. The Corps intends to begin construction of these projects early this summer and expects to complete them before the start of the 2009 hurricane season.
The Corps and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana have collaborated closely on this effort. The Corps is preparing the final engineering plans for the recommended closure structure while the State of Louisiana is beginning negotiations to acquire the necessary property to build and maintain the MRGO closure structure.
The Corps will closely coordinate all of these projects and continue to work closely with stakeholders and the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority as well as look for opportunities to expedite completion.
To view the Chief's Report and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Deep-Draft De-Authorization (MRGO) Final Report and Legislative Environmental Impact Statement (LEIS), visit http://mrgo.usace.army.mil.
For more information about the CPRA and to read Louisiana's Comprehenisve Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, please log on to http://www.lacpra.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.