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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Parish unveils restoration plan

Parish unveils restoration plan

Some of the millions of dollars which British Petroleum must pay to Gulf Coast states and local governments as a result of the 2010 Horizon disaster are finally beginning to trickle into the “pockets” of those entities.

Lafourche Parish Government’s initial share, part of $787 million paid to Louisiana, comes from penalties paid by BP under the Clean Water Act/Restore Act.

That share is $1.3 million, and the money is “in our account”, says Parish Administrator Archie Chaisson.
Under provisions of the 2012 Restore Act, local governments must show how they will spend the money and receive approval from the Federal Government prior to spending it.

Applicants such as Lafourche Parish are required to submit a multiyear plan to the Treasury Department that describes activities to be funded, their locations, a budget, milestones, and criteria for measuring success.

Chaisson unveiled the parish’s draft version, called the “Multiyear Implementation Plan” at Tuesday’s Lafourche Parish Council public meeting in Mathews.

The plan targets five major areas of the parish which have suffered and are continuing to suffer significant land loss. They have been previously identified as key elements of the state’s Coastal Master Plan.

The $1.3 million will be specifically used in each of the five areas for “engineering, design, and permitting activities to advance the project(s) toward implementation”, according to the plan.

Those projects are:
-- Mississippi River Long Distance Sediment Pipeline ($434,760); an ongoing project to restore marshland in several parishes by eventually directing river sediment into Lafourche’s part of the Barataria Basin on the northern side of Little Lake.

-- Grand Bayou Freshwater Reintroduction ($79,870); to increase freshwater flow from the Atchafalaya River into Grand Bayou Canal through the Intracoastal Waterway. This effort is targeted to nourish and create marsh west of Grand Bayou near Hwy. 24 in the Larose area.

-- West Belle Pass Marsh Creation ($360,860); will build approximately 11,000 acres of marsh from Belle Pass to Golden Meadow on the west side of Hwy. 1. (This project includes rebuilding marsh around most of Catfish Lake.)

-- Catfish Lake Marsh Creation ($177,930); a plan to build marsh southwest of the lake.

-- Bayou L’Ours to Leeville Marsh Creation ($270,550); a plan to recreate about 5500 acres of marsh along Hwy. 1 east of Leeville.

Although these projects will take years to complete and the source of funding is still unclear, Chaisson is confident that money will be available in the future.

“We will get a large chunk of help from the state,” said Chaisson, noting that the major focus now is in being proactive in acquiring the permits and doing other preliminary work required by law.

The Restore Act also requires that any multiyear plan must be presented for public comment and review for 45 days prior to final approval.

Chaisson announced that the draft plan will be presented at a public meeting on Wednesday, September 16 at the Larose Civic Center.

In the meantime, interest may be directed to Archie Chaisson, Lafourche Parish Administrator, by emailing, or by phoning (985) 446-82476.