It's on us. Share your news here.

Corps, State Sign Deal for Plaquemines Parish Project

Posted on July 19, 2016

By Amy Wold, The Advocate

An agreement to build a coastal restoration ridge in Plaquemines Parish follows years of disagreements about how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority should work together on federal projects — disagreements that have slowed some projects and stopped others in their tracks.

On Friday, the Corps and state signed their first agreement for construction under the Louisiana Coastal Area’s Beneficial Use of Dredged Material program since it was federally authorized in 2007. Officials hope the Friday agreement signing marks the beginning of a better relationship and not just the start of a new coastal project.

“There have been efforts in the last six months to work out issues that have been longstanding with the corps,” said David Peterson, attorney for the state coastal authority.

The main sticking point has been that until the 2014 federal Water Resources Development Act, the state had no way to audit how the Corps spent money on joint projects. At the same time, the Corps did have the authority to audit state spending.

In addition, Peterson said, there is an emphasis with the new administration to resolve problems and address the animosity between the state and the Corps that has been evident during the last several years.

The agreement signed Friday will seal a partnership between the Corps, the state and Plaquemines Parish to use material dredged from the river for navigation and barge it 10 miles up river to be put in place. The goal is to move 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment to an area just north Venice to build a one-mile ridge that is 6.5 feet high and 50 feet wide.

It’s the second project being done under a congressionally authorized $100 million program to help cover additional costs associated with moving sediment the Corps dredges from the river to coastal wetlands.

“Most of our ecosystem restoration we do, where we dredge is not where we need the material,” said Darrel Broussard, senior project manager with the corps. Moving the dredged sediment to where it’s needed requires additional money, which the program allows the Corps to accept from local partnerships.

The total estimated cost of the project is $18.1 million, with $13.5 million to come from the Corps and the rest from the state and the parish, Peterson said.

Broussard said the Corps expects to get a dredging contract awarded in September with the construction of the coastal restoration project to begin in January, a project that is expected to be done within the year.

“Everyone is trying to find ways to restore the coast,” Broussard said. The state has advocated for years for the material the Corps dredges from the river be used for coastal restoration. It’s been complicated because many times the dredging happens far away from where the soil is needed or the dredged material isn’t suitable for coastal restoration projects.

“This is something we’ve struggled with,” Broussard said.

Source: The Advocate

It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe