4 ways coastal change is impacting Louisiana’s economy

By Dr. Robert Habans, Economist, The Data Center While Louisiana’s challenges with coastal land loss are difficult to understate, billions of dollars of investments in restoration, protection and adaptation are creating emerging, sustainable industries that are increasingly central to the regional economy of Southeast Louisiana. In The Coastal Index, The Data Center examines the potential for coastal restoration and water management investments from an economic development perspective[1]. The design and construction of water infrastructure create good-paying, accessible jobs and contracting …

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Delta Dispatches – The Economics of Coastal Restoration

Welcome to Delta Dispatches, with your host Simone Maloz. Simone is joined by Dr. Robert Habans, Economist with The Data Center and Dr. Loren C. Scott, President of Dr. Loren C. Scott and Associates, Inc. to discuss new economic reports with relevance on Louisiana’s coast. Kristin Tracz, Program Officer with the Walton Family Foundation, joins as a guest co-hosts!   Listen Now:

Maurepas Swamp Diversion Selected as Priority in Gulf Restoration Plan

Project would help sustain world-renowned swamp, provide protection for Baton Rouge and other communities (NEW ORLEANS, LA – October 9, 2019) Today the Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) announced restoration priorities to consider across the Gulf, which included investing in a critical diversion project in Louisiana’s Maurepas Swamp. The River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project would reconnect one of the largest forested wetlands complexes in the nation with the Mississippi River to aid in preventing further wetland loss and …

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Louisiana’s Coast is Front-and-Center at First Hearing of US House Select Committee on Climate Crisis

04.08.2019 | Posted by Grace Tucker, Program Coordinator, Coastal Resilience, Environmental Defense Fund

Last week, the new House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held its first hearing, entitled “Generation Climate: Young Leaders Urge Climate Action Now.” The committee was created earlier this year to help develop innovative policy solutions to address climate change impacts, with Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA 6th district) serving as ranking member. And, once again, Louisiana’s coastal land loss crisis was a main focus of discussion. For its first hearing, the committee brought in four young leaders and activists …

How Environmental Impact Bonds Can Help Louisiana Restore its Coast Better, Faster, and for Less Money

08.15.2018 | Posted by Steve Cochran, Campaign Director, Restore the Mississippi River Delta and Associate Vice President, Coastal Resilience, Environmental Defense Fund

Louisiana has a $50+ billion Coastal Master Plan to protect and restore its coast, and a number of projects are underway or completed, thanks to the dedication of billions of dollars of penalties that followed the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Over all, the state has currently identified $9 billion to $12 billion of the funds needed to fully implement the plan, which is a great start, but far short of the funding need over time. That sets a clear goal …

A Winning Strategy for Restoring the Barataria Basin

04.23.2018 | Posted by Alisha Renfro, Coastal Scientist, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, National Wildlife Federation

In March 2018, Louisiana’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) released a strategic restoration plan outlining priorities to repair damages and restore the ecosystem in Louisiana’s Barataria Basin following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The plan, titled, “Strategic Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #3: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitats in the Barataria Basin, Louisiana,” may sound a little dry, but it is actually a big, exciting step forward toward funding and implementing large-scale restoration …

Decoding Diversion Permitting: What the Federal Dashboard Means for Restoring Coastal Louisiana

04.04.2018 | Posted by Maura Wood, Partnership Manager, Coastal Louisiana Restoration, National Wildlife Federation

It’s official! The Federal Permitting Dashboard has been updated for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project! The CPP is revised! Most importantly, the target date for completing permitting has moved up by almost two years! It’s pretty cool stuff, but you might be asking, “What’s a dashboard?” or “What is a CPP?!”  So allow us to explain. The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project will reconnect the Mississippi River with the wetlands in the Barataria Basin, an area with one of the highest …

GOMESA Coastal Restoration Funding Maintained in Trump Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

02.16.2018 | Posted by Ryan Chauvin, Digital Marketing and Communications Manager, Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, National Audubon Society

Earlier this week, the Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal was released, and we are happy to report that the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funding is maintained. While the federal spending bills are actually crafted by the Congress, we expect GOMESA funding to be protected in that process as well. GOMESA, passed by Congress in 2006, set up revenue sharing for Gulf States for income generated by oil and gas leasing in certain offshore areas of …

Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Takes Another Step Forward

01.25.2018 | Posted by Alisha Renfro, Coastal Scientist, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, National Wildlife Federation

Did you hear the news? Last week, while most of us here in Louisiana were working hard to keep warm, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion reached a milestone when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released the project’s scoping report. This critical restoration project is needed to restore natural delta processes by reconnecting the river to surrounding wetlands and divert sediment, nutrients and fresh water to build new land, maintain existing marshes and increase habitat resiliency to sea level rise …

Steve Cochran to U.S. Senate Committee: Enhance Investments in Our Critical Natural Infrastructure

01.10.2018 | Posted by

Earlier today, Steve Cochran, director of Restore the Mississippi River Delta, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee as part of its hearing on reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), titled “America’s Water Infrastructure Needs and Challenges.” Jump to minute 56 to hear Steve’s testimony. In his testimony, Cochran highlighted the urgency of coastal restoration and protection efforts underway in Louisiana, and the opportunities that exist to further invest in natural infrastructure to reduce flooding risks …

Pay-for-Performance: Bringing the Best of the Private Sector to Realize Wetland Restoration

12.06.2017 | Posted by

Over the next 15 years, Louisiana will receive billions of dollars for coastal restoration from Gulf oil spill settlements. While this influx will provide a significant, steady investment in restoring Louisiana’s coast, the amount falls short of what is needed to fully implement the wetland restoration projects in the state’s Coastal Master Plan. One idea to help reduce the funding gap is outcome-based contracting. Often called pay-for-performance contracting, this approach could help the state build wetland restoration projects at a …

CWPPRA is Still Having a Big Impact

10.24.2017 | Posted by Victoria Sagrera, Special Projects Coordinator, Restore or Retreat

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA), formerly known as the Breaux Act, hosted a dedication ceremony commemorating seven Southeastern Louisiana coastal restoration projects. Created by Senator John Breaux in 1990, CWPPRA allows for the funds from five federal agencies to be paired with state of Louisiana funding through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) in paying for coastal restoration projects. The five federal agencies that fund 85 percent of the cost per coastal project include U.S. …

New Report Outlines How to Unlock Additional Funding Streams for Restoration

09.21.2017 | Posted by

For the nearly 40 percent of Americans who live near the coast, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria provide vivid reminders that living there comes with risks. These events also demonstrate that we need to rebuild stronger and smarter, by incorporating both gray and green infrastructure into coastal resiliency and protection plans. Strong community support – which stems from involvement in need identification and planning – is crucial for moving communities toward resilience So is funding. Houston’s chief resilience officer, Stephen …

Making the Most of an Unprecedented Opportunity: Funding Louisiana’s Coastal Program

08.10.2017 | By Charles Sutcliffe, Director of Policy and Programs, Office of the Governor: Coastal Activities

Funding a coastal protection and restoration program by first having to suffer through a catastrophe is an extremely painful and unsustainable way to work toward resilience. That being said, because of the disasters Louisiana has endured and thanks to the State’s widely-respected Coastal Master Plan, Louisiana has been entrusted with the financial resources, around $10 billion over the next 15 years, to implement a suite of the most significant projects in its $50 billion plan. The majority of the funds, …

Your Voice is Needed for #OurCoast: Attend Upcoming Mid-Barataria Scoping Meetings

07.10.2017 | Posted by

As the State of Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) move forward with the permitting process for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion – one of the most important restoration projects in the Coastal Master Plan – your voice and support are needed! The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion would reconnect the river with nearby wetlands and deliver sediment to build and maintain tens of thousands of acres in this crucial area. To get this project constructed, the Corps must follow …