A Crucial Moment for Louisiana’s Future as Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Advances

09.23.2022 | In Press Releases

Project will build land, provide storm protection and protect communities from a changing future

NEW ORLEANS (Sept. 23, 2022) — Following a comprehensive evaluation and public comment period, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued their Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project. In conjunction with this release, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group also released the Final Restoration Plan which proposes investing Deepwater Horizon oil spill fines to construct the project. 

As the single largest ecosystem restoration project in U.S. history, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will reconnect the Mississippi River to adjacent wetlands along the river’s west bank in Plaquemines Parish. The project will build and fortify tens of thousands of acres of land in the Barataria Basin, which is experiencing one of the highest rates of land loss on the planet.

“Louisiana is our home, and our coast is the foundation of that home: economically, culturally and ecologically. But our foundation is damaged. We need structural changes to strengthen it and to protect as much of our state as possible,” said Simone Maloz, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project will offset decades of land loss and protect our communities by strengthening our coast as a vital foundation for our future.”

Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of conservation, policy and science experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Pontchartrain Conservancy, will review and participate in the forthcoming public comment process.

“The Mississippi River built south Louisiana, but too much of it has slipped into the Gulf,” said Kimberly Davis Reyher, executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. “We need to build more Louisiana, and the river will do that for us. Sediment diversions pair innovation and scientific research to reconnect the river to our wetlands. They are essential to our future above water in south Louisiana.”

“This is a critical moment for the future of our coast and our entire state,” said Cathleen Berthelot, policy director with Environmental Defense Fund. “For decades, scientists have indicated that the best way to address land loss and maintain a sustainable coast into the future is by harnessing the natural power of the Mississippi River to build and maintain wetlands. It’s time to make that prospect a reality.”

“This project will help fortify our coast and strengthen one of the major lines of defense that protect us from hurricanes,” said Kristi Trail, executive director of Pontchartrain Conservancy. “Decades of our research shows that natural land building works. Moving forward now is our best shot to combat land loss and ensure the future of Louisiana.”

“Where the river is reconnected to wetlands, ecosystems and wildlife are thriving,” said Brian Moore, vice president of coastal policy for National Audubon Society. “By protecting our coast with the best tools we have, including sediment diversions, we can ensure the bounty of Louisiana’s coast is sustained into the future.”

“Sediment diversions will require a transition for some coastal residents and communities, and it is essential that the process is done well,” said Amanda Moore, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf program. “But Louisiana’s coast is changing no matter what. If we do nothing, we will face even more devastating land loss and fisheries collapse across our coast. We need these diversions now to help save the bounty that makes Louisiana’s coast a Sportsman’s Paradise and the wetlands that protect our communities from stronger storms and sea level rise.”

Learn more about the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project here. Read the Final Environmental Impact Statement here and the Louisiana TIG’s restoration plan here.


Media Contact:

Amanda Roberts, Gambel Communications, 615-336-3439, amanda@gambelpr.com

About Restore the Mississippi River Delta: Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to secure a just, climate-resilient coast where people and nature thrive. As our region faces the crisis of land loss and climate change, we seek to advance an equitable, safer and flourishing coast for Louisiana’s communities, ecosystems and economy. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Pontchartrain Conservancy, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.