Lafourche Parish Council approves spending $1.3 million on coastal restoration

BP money earmarked for five projects, newspaper reports

Lafourche Parish moved one step closer to spending $1.3 million in Restore Act money on engineering, design work and permitting of five coastal restoration projects.

The Lafourche Parish Council approved the multi-year implementation plan at Tuesday’s meeting, according to a report in the Houma Daily Courier.

The plan sets aside money to design and permit 5,500 acres of marsh creation along La. 1 east of Leeville, 1,650 acres of marsh creation to the southwest of Catfish Lake, 11,000 acres of marsh creation from Belle Pass to Golden Meadow on the west side of La. 1, a freshwater reintroduction project that should increase the flow of freshwater down the Atchafalaya River into Grand Bayou Canal, and a long-distance sediment pipeline connecting to the Mississippi River.

The plan, which uses money BP was fined for its 2010 oil spill, now moves to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for federal approval, said Lafourche Parish Administrator Archie Chaisson. Individual agreements with engineers will likely go before the council for approval early next year.

Chaisson said the plan is still fluid and could be changed, partly depending on the state’s coastal restoration efforts in the area.

“There a couple of things in there I think they’re going to address so we’re going to have some extra money to be able to move that into some other projects,” Chaisson said.

Those other projects could address salinity control issues in the northern part of the Barataria Basin, he said.

Chaisson has said the idea is to have the projects in the plan designed and permitted so they are ready for construction in 2017 when more BP dollars are expected to come to the parish.

“I think it’s a great program,” said Councilman Jerry Lafont, who represents part of south Lafourche where most of the projects are based. “With those things I just hope that they don’t study it to death, that they actually go and complete the work.”

Editor’s Note: Houma Daily Courier reporter Meredith Burns filed this report.

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