Louisiana Legislature Passes Pioneering Coastal Master Plan

05.25.2023 | In Press Releases

Now in its fourth iteration, the plan provides a pathway to invest billions of dollars for coastal climate resilience

NEW ORLEANS (May 25, 2023) – Today, Louisiana continued its leadership on climate change resilience and adaptation with the passage of the latest iteration of its Coastal Master Plan (CMP). The plan is a $50 billion, 50-year comprehensive blueprint first adopted in 2007 and updated every six years to reflect the latest science and evolving needs of vulnerable coastal communities.

Following its passage, Restore the Mississippi River Delta – a coalition of national and local conservation groups comprised of Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Pontchartrain Conservancy and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released the following statements:

“As the threat of sea level rise and other climate change impacts on coastal communities continue to intensify, Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan stands as a uniquely forward-thinking effort to harness nature-based solutions,” said Simone Maloz, campaign director of Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “When implemented, projects included in the plan, like the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, will safeguard the long-term economic and ecological stability of the region – efforts overwhelmingly supported by Louisiana voters. This plan sets the national standard for thoughtful coastal management and should serve as a model for coastal areas across the country confronting impacts from challenges like stronger storms and rising seas.”

“The Coastal Master Plan is a testament to Louisiana’s innovative, comprehensive approach to coastal planning that can help other coastal communities build resilience to manage the ongoing impacts of climate change,” said Cathleen Berthelot, federal policy director of coastal and flood resilience at the Environmental Defense Fund. “By implementing these updates on a regular basis, including the latest science, and integrating data from sophisticated coastal modeling systems, the plan can be adaptive to changing future conditions and is responsive to meet the needs of Louisianians at risk.”

“This proactive, science-based plan is good for nature, good for people and good for our state’s economy, and CRCL is proud to support it,” said Kimberly Davis Reyher, executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. “It empowers everyone who lives here. It’s focused on how we can use nature to be safer into the future by building new land and saving as much of what we now have as possible.”

“Projects funded through the plan are part of the multiple lines of defense that protect Louisiana’s vulnerable communities from storm surges and flooding,” said Kristi Trail, executive director of Pontchartrain Conservancy. “Decades of locally-based scientific research has informed this plan. And Louisianians see these vital projects as central to the state’s long-term economic and ecological security.”

“There’s no question that the Coastal Master Plan has done immeasurable good when it comes to fortifying our coast and strengthening our lines of defense against hurricanes and sea level rise,” said Brian Moore, vice president of coastal policy for National Audubon Society. “Projects funded through the plan, like natural land-building efforts, have been shown to work through decades of research. This careful planning is our best shot at ensuring the future of Louisiana.”

“The Coastal Master Plan pairs world-class technical expertise with insight from coastal communities to shape the collaborative blueprint we need to face Louisiana’s land loss crisis,” said Amanda Moore, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf program. “With the plan, we can continue to build on our recent progress to restore our wetlands and buffer our vulnerable communities. Even in the face of challenges like stronger storms and rising seas, we can create a safer, brighter future for the people and wildlife that depend on coastal Louisiana.”

For immediate release: May 25, 2023
Contact: Eleanor Naiman, eleanor.naiman@berlinrosen.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.