Orleans Landbridge restoration project deemed a "Win-Win-Win"
By Amanda Moore, National Wildlife Federation
At a news conference on August 17, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that important work was beginning on the Orleans Landbridge Shoreline Protection and Marsh Creation Project. The project will help protect the marsh that separates Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, which is retreating at an alarming average of 7.7 feet per year.
In an exciting twist, this project will recycle more than 200,000 tons of crushed concrete from the demolished I-10 Twin Span Bridge, which was damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Not only does this project combine serious recycling with marsh restoration and protection, but beneficially reusing the concrete will reduce the project costs by more than $11 million or more than 25 percent. As Jim Tripp, Senior Counsel for Environmental Defense Fund, put it during the news conference, this project is a “Win-Win-Win”.
The bridge rubble will be placed in Geogrid Marine Mattresses along the shoreline and will help combat the negative effects of high wave energy on marsh areas, including Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s largest urban wildlife refuge. The Orleans Landbridge project is scheduled for completion in May 2013. The State and Orleans Parish Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) is funding the $30 million project.
In addition to Governor Jindal and Mayor Landrieu, State Representative Jared Brossett, members of St. Tammany Parish, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East, National Wildlife Federation and Environmental Defense Fund participated in the news conference to express their support for the project.
Carlton Dufrechou of the Causeway Commission also shared a brief–but very important–final remark: “If we don’t save our coast, we’re toast.”