Beyond specific projects outlined as recommended priorities, CPRA is also advancing its new restoration programs – barrier islands and oyster reef restoration – that we also support as essential tools in the restoration toolkit. Although there are not specific barrier island or oyster reef restoration projects identified in the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, our coalition views the restoration of these habitats as vital pieces of a comprehensive coastal restoration program. We will continue to advocate that restoration funds be strategically invested in these programs and any related projects.
Barrier Island and Headland Restoration
Over the past two decades, Louisiana has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in restoring barrier islands, and the state has committed to continuing that investment in these vital landscape features by dedicating $1.5 billion of the $25 billion Coastal Master Plan restoration budget to the Barrier Island Program.
Over the next five years, we expect the Barataria and Terrebonne barrier shorelines will be fully restored and significant progress will be made in restoring the Timbalier barrier island chain. Regular monitoring, assessment and rebuilding will help maintain these important barrier island features.
Oyster Reef Restoration
Our coalition has also selected Oyster Reef Restoration as a priority program. Oyster reefs contribute to an important economic fishery and also provide crucial ecosystem services, such as shoreline protection, water quality improvement through filter feeding, habitat for other fish and shellfish and foraging habitat for wildlife. Investing in a sustainably managed reef-building program will allow Louisiana to take advantage of prime oyster production conditions, including ideal climate, hydrology and water quality factors. Responding quickly to these key opportunities will help address restoration needs and ensure long-term reef sustainability.