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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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Governor announces final funding for three important coastal protection projects

Governor announces final funding for three important coastal protection projects

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is using an innovative financing strategy that will provide $18.5 million to fully fund the Grand Bayou Flood gate, a critical component of the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection System, fund $35 million for a pump station at the head of Bayou Lafourche, providing fresh water to over 300,000 residents of Assumption, Ascension, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes and invest $5 million for the Larose to Golden Meadow Hurricane Protection System.

The $18.5 million floodgate on Grand Bayou in Lafourche Parish will close the largest remaining gap in the extensive Morganza to the Gulf system of levees and flood protection structures that span Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes.

“This is what true progress looks like, and this is what is possible when State leaders work in conjunction with parish and levee district leaders,” said Gov. Edwards. "The cooperation that exists between the CPRA and levee districts across political boundaries should serve as a shining example of what can happen when we all work together. It is incredible to see what the partnership of the state and the citizens of Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes have been able to accomplish."

“The Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection System is of utmost importance to the people and leadership of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “When federal funding was rejected for the Morganza system, the residents of Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes put their money where their mouths were and taxed themselves to get construction started. Because of this local commitment, they have already invested $234 million of local dollars in this critically important system. The State of Louisiana has put up $214 million, and we are adding to that with this crucial $18.5 million project."

The floodgate will be located on Grand Bayou, approximately three miles south of the Bourg-Larose Highway 24, and a quarter-mile north of the Pointe-Aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area.

“Lafourche Parish has worked hard to try to make this happen, and we thank the governor and CPRA for finally making it a reality,” said Lafourche Parish President and CPRA board member Jimmy Cantrelle. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a floodgate on Grand Bayou at that location will greatly strengthen the interconnected levees and flood protection structures, including those of South Lafourche.”

“It’s been 12 long, difficult years constructing the various components of Morganza to the Gulf, and I would like to thank Gov. John Bel Edwards, CPRA, and all involved in moving it toward being a closed system,” said Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove. “We’re all in this together. Even though the floodgate is being built in Lafourche Parish, we’ll be getting added protection in Terrebonne Parish on our eastern side in the Pointe-Aux-Chenes and Bourg communities. It’s a great day for both parishes.”

State Representative Truck Gisclair said, “Our State’s investment in the Grand Bayou project is needed to eventually complete the last link from the Morganza to the Gulf levee system and South Lafourche’s levee system, providing protection for tens of thousands of residents from Lafourche, Terrebonne Parishes and beyond.”

“A new pump station in Donaldsonville will secure the freshwater drinking source for nearly the entire bayou region,” said Ben Malbrough, Executive Director of the Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District. “The pump station, working in conjunction with millions of dollars in bayou improvements over the past few years by the state and locals, will also provide much needed fresh water to the marshes and wetlands connected to this critical water artery.”

The South Lafourche Levee District will receive an additional $5 million of those freed-up dollars this year to bolster protection for the Larose to Golden Meadow Hurricane Protection System.

South Lafourche Levee District Executive Director, Windell Curole, said, “From the flood gate to the pump station, to the levee improvements in South Lafourche, all of these things will work in conjunction with each other to better protect our coast.”