More needs than restoration money

Duck season is still a month away, but Southwest Louisiana anglers will bide their time chasing bass, reds or speckled trout.

For the past 13 years under the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA), requests for construction funds never exceeded the amount available. There were some projects that for various reasons didn’t go past some level of engineering and design and on to construction. Those reasons were related to problems such as engineering infeasibility, lack of landowner or local community support or ineffectiveness of project components in addressing the source of marsh loss.

But projects that made it past all the various hurdles never were turned down due to the lack of construction funds. That’s all about to change.

CWPPRA receives about $45 million per year to construct wetland restoration projects, which the state has to match with an additional 15 percent. Doing the math, that means there may be a little over $50 million each year to build projects.

This fall, during the September Technical Committee meeting and the October Task Force meeting, as many as 11 projects totaling almost $160 million in construction costs will be competing for funding.

In addition, new projects are currently being evaluated that will need about $8 million for engineering and design purposes.

As such, in reality, there is little more than $40 million available to pay for $160 million in projects. Now some of these projects might drop off the list prior to October (three other projects dropped off the list in early August), but it is clear that some decisions will have to be made on which projects can go to construction now, and which will have to wait for the potential future availability of funds.

The following is a very brief description of each project requesting construction funding, starting at the eastern end of the state and working westward. For more information on each project, please go to the CWPPRA web site at, click on the “projects” icon, then the “list all CWPPRA projects” button.

1. Dedicated dredging on the Barataria Basin Landbridge.

This project consists of the dredging of a little more than 5 million cubic yards of mud from the bottom of Bayous Perot and Rigoletts and the pumping of that mud onto shallow water bottoms and broken marsh near the southern end of Bayou Rigoletts to create a little more than 1,200 acres of new marsh. Estimated cost is $33.7 million.

2. Barataria Basin landbridge, phase 3.

This project consists of the installation of various shoreline protection structures (rock and concrete sheetpile) on both sides of the channel leading from Bayou Perot into Little Lake in the Barataria Basin. Estimated cost is $9 million.

3. South Lake Decade

The project consists of the armoring of about 8,700 linear feet of the southwestern shoreline of Lake Decade just east of Bayou Decade, and the construction of an earthen embankment in some open-water areas between the Small Bayou LaPointe ridge and Bayou Decade. Estimated cost is $2.3 million.

4. North Lake Mechant.

The project consists of the creation of 790 acres of marsh just southeast and southwest of Raccourci Bay, and the installation of several water-control structures in various waterways to restrict water flow. Estimated cost is $20.3 million.

5. GIWW Bank Restoration in Terrebonne Parish.

The project consists of the construction of a 38,000-foot-long rock and lightweight aggregate dike along the southern shoreline of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in the vicinity of Lake Hackberry (due south of the Black Bayou Marina). Estimated cost is $25 million.

6. Raccoon Island Shoreline Protection.

Phase 1 of this project consists of the installation of additional breakwaters and groins along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline of Raccoon Island (in the Isle Dernieres island chain). Estimated cost is $10 million.

7. Castille Pass Sediment Delivery.

This project entails dredging East Pass, Natal Pass and Castille Pass in the Atchafalaya Delta longer and/or wider to enhance the flow of sediment eastward from the Ship Channel. Dredged material would be used to create marsh, and an additional 700+ acres of marsh is expected to result from natural accretion of river sediments. Estimated cost is $8.5 million.

8. Freshwater Bayou Canal Shoreline Protection.

This project is the continuation of an effort to armor the bankline of the Freshwater Bayou Ship Channel. It entails the construction of a 44,000-foot-long rock embankment along the eastern shoreline of the channel just north of the lock. The estimated cost is $13.8 million.

9. South White Lake Shoreline Protection.

The project consists of the construction of an 11-mile-long rock breakwater along the southern shoreline of White Lake in Vermilion Parish. Estimated cost is $14.4 million.

10. Freshwater Introduction South of Highway 82.

The project consists of clearing out some channels and replacing water-control structures on Rockefeller Refuge to enhance the flow of fresh water from north of Highway 82 southward to reduce the effects of saltwater intrusion south of the highway. Estimated cost is $3.4 million.

11. Grand Lake Shoreline Protection.

This project includes the construction of a 37,800-foot-long rock breakwater between Tebo Point and the Superior Canal on the southern shoreline of Grand Lake. Estimated cost is $8.5 million.