Plaquemines Parish moves ahead with plans to restore island that nearly vanished after oil spill

Plaquemines Parish moves ahead with plans to restore island that nearly vanished after oil spill

PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Despite some misgivings about repeating the same work, Plaquemines Parish is moving forward with plans to restore an island heavily damaged in the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The Parish Council voted Thursday afternoon to accept $1.2 million in state coastal funds (CIAP) for the project, with the first $500,000 slated to be spent on engineering and design.

The parish already spent about half a million on two different designs. However, engineers say the island has deteriorated to such an extent that the original restoration plans are no longer valid.

"I don't like the fact that we have to design it again," said Parish Council Chairman Benny Rousselle, who joined six other council members in voting unanimously for the funding.

Sometime this summer, Plaquemines expects to receive about $3.3 million in Restore Act money from the oil spill. The money could be used to partially fund the $5 million to $6 million project.

Plaquemines could derive some savings from a demonstration project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the "beneficial use" of dredged material from the Mississippi River. While the Corps would provide sand from the Mississippi River bottom, the parish would foot the cost of barging the material about 20 miles to the site.

"We'd like to have a demonstration project with the Corps," Rousselle said.

However, funding for the project may not be available until 2017.

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