Louisiana expects to build more coastline in 2020 than it loses

An active hurricane season would undermine those plans
Updated: Feb. 12, 2020 at 10:01 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority expects to build more coastal wetlands, ridges and marsh in 2020 than the state loses.

“2020 for the coastal program is going to be the year that we’ve been waiting on,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline.

Large-scale projects, many of which have been studied for years, are coming off the drawing boards and going into construction, Kline said.

That includes a plan use dredge material to nourish marsh south of the town of Jean Lafitte, a 1,400 acre project that represents the largest marsh creation project the state has ever attempted.

Much of the funding is flowing from fines and settlements associated with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In coming days, contractors are expected to wrap up work on a $10 million project to restore 37 acres of Queen Bess Island, an important brown pelican nesting area which was heavily oiled in the spill.

Elsewhere, the state expects to move more dirt than in any other given year, deploying 18 dredges on various projects.

“We will actually build more land in coastal Louisiana over the next four years than we will lose,” Kline said.

CPRA projects the state will lose 48 square miles of coast in that period, but build 68 square miles.

As always, hurricane season could throw those projections out the window.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 steamrolled over the marsh, wiping out 300 square miles of land in 30 hours.

However, the U.S. Geological Survey has noted some of that land, driven by tidal forces and wind, reformed in subsequent years.

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