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23 projects are helping to protect Louisiana’s coastline in 2023. The cost? Over $3 billion

Contractors clear a part of the path for the 18-mile West Shore Lake Pontchartrain hurricane levee that will provide storm surge protection for parts of St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes.

Posted on January 1, 2024

Louisiana added 10 miles of hurricane levee protection and created or improved more than 10 square miles of coastal marsh in 2023, Bren Haase, chairman of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, said during a review of the agency’s accomplishments at its December meeting.

State officials do not track land loss along the coast on a year-to-year basis. But estimates prepared for the 2023 coastal master plan indicate the average rate of land loss along the state’s coastline between 1985 and 2020 was 5.6 square miles.

Sharing videos to document the work, Haase told the board that the state started construction on 15 new projects expected to cost $3 billion, and completed eight projects that cost a total of $227 million. Restoration projects built with pipelines used more than 22 million cubic yards of sediment, he said, enough to fill the Caesars Superdome nearly five times.

“When we’ve gotten to the point where the standard measurement of volume is now one Superdome, you know you’re doing big things,” said Dwayne Bourgeois, executive director of the North Lafourche Levee District and a member of the CPRA board.

Here are videos and descriptions of several of those projects:

New Orleans Landbridge Shoreline Stabilization and Marsh Creation: This project will create 169 acres of new marsh and nourish 102 acres of existing marsh in Orleans Parish, and beef up nearly 3 miles of shoreline with an earthen berm at to locations along U.S. 90, using sediment dredged from Lake Pontchartrain and Lake St. Catherine.

Cost: $25.4 million

Status: In progress

West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Levee and River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp: This hurricane risk reduction project in Ascension, St. John the Baptist, St. James and St. Charles parishes includes 18 miles of earthen levee and floodwalls, four floodgates, two drainage structures and four pump stations. The $330 million river reintroduction project will be used as mitigation for the environmental effects of the levee, and will move up to 2,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Mississippi River into the Maurepas Swamp to restore natural hydrology, increase sediment and nutrients in the area and increase vegetation, while reducing salinity levels.

Cost: $760 million

Status: In progress

LaBranche Marsh Creation: This project, visible from the Interstate 10 bridge, will create and nourish 1,461 acres of marsh in St. Charles Parish with material dredged from Lake Pontchartrain.

Cost: $56.9 million

Status: In progress

Bucktown Living Shoreline: This project, in Jefferson Parish, is rebuilding a previously existing intertidal marsh and adding defense to the hurricane levee system bordering the Bucktown neighborhood in Metairie.

Cost: $3.5 million

Status: In progress

Large Scale Barataria Marsh Creation – Upper Barataria Component: This completed project created 1,163 acres of marsh in Jefferson Parish, near the south shore of The Pen, using sediment from the Alliance Anchorage and Willis Point Anchorage borrow areas.

Cost: $181.4 million

Status: Completed 2023

Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline: This completed project in St. Bernard Parish built a living breakwater structure off the shoreline of Eloi Bay and Eloi Point near the mouth of Bayou La Loutre.

Cost: $69.8 million

Status: Completed in May

Lake Borgne Marsh Creation: This project will create 2,769 acres of marsh in St. Bernard Parish, along four miles of the southern rim of Lake Borgne, from Shell Beach to Lena Lagoon, using sediment dredged from the lake.

Cost: $114.6 million

Status: In progress

Spanish Pass Marsh & Ridge Creation: This completed project in Plaquemines Parish dredged sediment from the Mississippi River to restore 132 acres of earthen ridge and 1,538 acres of marsh along Spanish Pass, west of Venice.

Cost: $100.3 million

Status: Completed in May

South Pass Bird Island: This Plaquemines Parish project restored 5 acres of nesting area with sediment dredged from South Pass.

Cost: $1.9 million

Status: Completed in September

Bayou Lafourche Pumping Capacity Improvements: This project involves building a pump station on the Mississippi River at Donaldsonville with a minimum pumping capacity of 1,000 cubic feet per second, alongside the existing 500 cfs pump station, to increase freshwater entering the bayou. This will combat saltwater intrusion and provide fresh drinking water to more than 300,000 residents in Ascension, Assumption, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes.

Cost: $96.5 million

Status: In progress

Freshwater Bayou Canal Shoreline Protection: This project will build about 2 miles of foreshore rock dike in Vermilion Parish along the eastern bay of the Freshwater Bayou Canal to prevent further deterioration of shoreline and existing marsh.

Cost: $5.3 million

Status: In progress

Morganza-to-the-Gulf, Elliot Jones Pump Station: A project to improve flood protection and complete levee tie-ins to benefiting the Gibson community in Terrebonne Parish.

Cost: $12.7 million

Status: Completed in July

Henderson Lake Spoil Bank Gapping: Spoil banks on the north and south side of the Dixie Pipeline Canal in St. Landry and St. Martin parishes were gapped to a lower elevation to allow for improved water flow.

Cost: $1.5 million

Status: Completed in September

Long Point Bayou Marsh Creation: This project will create or nourish approximately 392 acres of emergent brackish marsh in Cameron Parish south of Hackberry using sediment previously dredged from the Calcasieu River.

Cost: $10.9 million

Status: In progress



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