State takes soil samples at site of largest coastal restoration project, despite Plaquemines Parish opposition

State takes soil samples at site of largest coastal restoration project despite Plaquemines Parish opposition

(WVUE) - The state of Louisiana has taken soil samples at the site of a controversial coastal restoration project despite opposition from Plaquemines Parish leaders.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has threatened to sue parish government to force the boring samples on parish property at the site of the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project about 20 miles south of Belle Chasse near Myrtle Grove.

A neighbor told FOX 8 workers had taken samples Monday and Tuesday on private property near the Mississippi River levee as a state trooper stood guard on Hwy. 23.

"The state is currently conducting the first phase of soil borings for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion," said CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry in a statement.

The proposed $1.4 billion diversion aims to mimic the land-building power of the Mississippi River by channeling fresh water and sediment into the marsh and Barataria Bay.

The single most expensive project in the 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan would operate during periods of high water when the river carries the most sediment, supporters say.

However, many commercial fishermen and Plaquemines residents fear large amounts of fresh river water-- up to 70,000 cubic feet per second-- would devastate fisheries and threatened the economies of coastal communities.

A CPRA spokesperson could not say Tuesday night exactly how much more sampling work would need to be conducted on the levee, which would require a parish permit.

However, Bradberry notified Plaquemines Parish President Amos Cormier III of the work Monday, according to a CPRA official.

"This geotechnical data will provide valuable information to inform the project's federal permitting process and specifically the Environmental Impact Statement required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," Bradberry said.

"The state continues to communicate with the Parish about the path forward for the project."

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