Coastal Groups Praise Decision to Maximize Land-Building of Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion
Decision shows best-available science guiding restoration efforts on Louisiana’s rapidly-changing coast
(Baton Rouge— January 16, 2019) At today’s monthly board meeting of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), sediment diversions lead Brad Barth announced that the agency will expand the study for the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion from 35,000 to 75,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Scientists and engineers hired to analyze the project have concluded that expanding the study will capture more sediment and fresh water from the Mississippi River, thereby maximizing land-building more cost effectively. The Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion, which will be located on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, is currently in the engineering and design phase. The project will convey fresh water and sediment into nearby deteriorating marshes to sustain and build land over time.
Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of national and local conservation organizations committed to coastal Louisiana restoration including Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, issued the following statement:
“Today’s decision by CPRA to increase the scale of study of the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion will better position the state to ultimately build more coastal wetlands that will buffer our communities from storm surge and rising seas – exactly what Louisiana needs.
“This decision also demonstrates that CPRA is being guided by the best science and modeling to confront the on-the-ground realities of our disappearing coast. Our state must continue to be flexible and adapt its projects to reflect the best science available, so that we can hold onto as much of our coastal land as possible.
“The severity and urgency of our land loss crisis requires that we use all available assets, particularly the sediment and fresh water of our rivers, to push back against flooding from hurricanes and sea level rise. Capturing more sediment from these rivers to restore our wetlands rather than losing this sediment to the Gulf of Mexico is not only a smart strategy, but it is also absolutely necessary if we’re to have a sustainable future in our region.
“As a part of that strategy, efforts currently underway with Louisiana Sea Grant, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and CPRA to help fishing industries adapt to our rapidly-changing coast should proceed in earnest. These efforts will help ensure the needs of people working in these critical industries can be balanced with our region’s need to hold onto coastal wetlands to protect homes, businesses and critical fish and wildlife habitat.”
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Skree, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, email@example.com
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, email@example.com
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, firstname.lastname@example.org
Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. 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 Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta.org and on Facebook and Twitter.