Posted on December 21, 2022
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division and New Orleans District proffered a Department of Army permit and Section 408 permission to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) for construction of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.
“We take great care to neither endorse nor oppose any project when administering our regulatory authorities,” said Col. Cullen Jones, New Orleans District commander. “Our responsibility is to use the science, engineering, technology and data available to make the best-informed decision.”
The decision to proffer a permit for a large-scale sediment diversion structure on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish followed completion of an Environmental Impact Statement, Section 408 review and consideration of agency and public comments.
“The large-scale sediment diversion is intended to reestablish the connections between the Mississippi River and the mid-Barataria Basin by transporting sediment, freshwater and nutrients into the mid-Barataria Basin. Public input was a critical part of both permitting processes and was integral to both decisions,” said Maj. Gen. Diana Holland, commanding general, Mississippi Valley Division. “The people that live and work in a project area know the area better than anyone. Their concerns and recommendations, along with that of our fellow local, state and federal cooperating agencies, were essential to our evaluation of topics such as the local environment, economics and environmental justice. Every comment received was considered and used in reaching the final decisions.”
USACE evaluated the information gained from the analysis to determine if the project could be undertaken in compliance with regulations, if identified benefits would exceed the potential impacts, and if the project is in the public interest. A diversion structure with a maximum flow of 75,000 cubic feet per second was identified as the least damaging practicable alternative from the suite of seven alternatives, which included a no-action option.
The proffered Sect. 10/404 permit and Sect. 408 permission include standard and special conditions with which the CPRA must comply. These terms and conditions are included to protect the public and federal projects that will be altered as a result to the project. Once the applicant agrees to all terms and conditions, USACE can issue a final permit.
Additionally, the MBSD project requires a prolonged commitment by the owner to construct, operate, and mitigate in accordance with their request to include a mitigation stewardship plan, monitoring and adaptative management plan, and the Marine Mammal Protection Plan.
For information regarding the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project, please visit the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority project website at <Mid-Basin Sediment Diversion Program (la.gov)>.