Posted August 27, 2018
The ability of the Mississippi River to build land when it's diverted from its banks will be the focus of a Coastal Connections event jointly sponsored by the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Mississippi River Delta Coalition.
The event, to be held in Buras on Sept. 12, will include small group discussions with CPRA officials and coastal experts, a boat tour, a wrap-up presentation and dinner.
This will be the 22nd community meeting in the Coastal Connection series, which is designed to promote a dialog on the state's plans to build the proposed Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton sediment diversions to rebuild wetlands on both sides of the river.
The Mid-Barataria diversion, the first one scheduled to begin construction in 2020, once federal permits are approved, is planned for construction near the West Bank community of Ironton, just downriver from the Alliance Refinery.
State officials and scientists supporting the state's coastal Master Plan program contend that the two projects will rebuild and sustain thousands of acres of wetlands.
"We'll have experts in science and engineering on hand to answer your questions, and you'll be able to get on a boat and see for yourself how the river water isn't destroying the marsh," said Brad Barth, CPRA Mid-Basin Sediment Diversion program manager, in a news release announcing the event. "In fact, the fresh water and sediment are nourishing and rebuilding our wetlands."
Both diversions have been opposed by Plaquemines Parish President Amos Cormier and by the parish council, which has passed ordinances prohibiting the granting of local permits for its construction. Plaquemines officials disagree with state officials over the diversions' ability to rebuild wetlands and say they will disrupt commercial and recreational fisheries that are the mainstay of the parish's economy.
The event begins with a 4:30 p.m. open house at charter boat captain Ryan Lambert's Cajun Fishing Adventures headquarters, 35427 LA Highway 23 in Buras. Presentations will begin at 4:45 p.m., followed by boat tours at 5:30 p.m. A closing presentation and dinner will begin at 7 p.m.
Attendees must preregister by Sept. 6 online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ccburas, or by calling 985-448-4485.