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March 2021

Louisiana Trustees Seek Comments on Proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion

2021-03-30T11:36:18-06:00March 1st, 2021|News, Restoration Plans|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group is seeking public input on a draft restoration plan proposing an investment of up to $2 billion in the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project. If approved, the large-scale project would reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin. The project will allow the controlled release of freshwater, nutrients and sediment back into the basin to rebuild wetlands and contribute to the broader restoration of its ecosystem.

The Draft Phase II Restoration Plan #3.2 is available for public comment for 60 days through May 4, 2021, with virtual public meetings to present the draft plan and draft environmental impact statement April 6, 7, and 8, 2021. The draft plan evaluates six design alternatives for the diversion project and identifies one of them as preferred.

NOAA and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) are lead Trustees for the draft plan, which was prepared jointly with the other Louisiana Restoration Area Trustees.

Concurrent with release of the draft restoration plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing a draft environmental impact statement, also available for public comment for 60 days. The environmental impact statement and information on how to submit comments are on the Army Corps’ website.

Reducing Land Loss Exacerbated by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Louisiana and the Barataria Basin are in the midst of a land loss crisis. The Basin has lost more than 276,000 acres of land since the 1930s. Wetlands in the Basin were the most heavily impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which accelerated a severe land loss trend threatening Louisiana’s estuaries. The oil spill and response activities significantly accelerated the rate of wetland loss in the area.

The project would restore and sustain a significant amount of wetland habitat—tens of thousands of acres—and the resources that depend on them, over the next several decades. At peak capacity, the proposed preferred alternative would transport up to 75,000 cubic feet per second of freshwater and its sediment and nutrients—harnessing nature through engineering to re-establish the natural process that originally built Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.

Draft Restoration Plan Comment Period and Virtual Public Meetings

Public comments will be accepted for 60 days through May 4. We encourage you to review and comment on the draft plan by submitting comments online, by mail, or during virtual public meetings listed below.

  • Online: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MBSD
  • Mail:
    S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District
    Attn: CEMVN-OD-SE, MVN-2012-2806-EOO
    7400 Leake Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118

We are co-hosting virtual public meetings with the Army Corps of Engineers on April 6 – 8, 2021. We will present information on the draft plan, and the Army Corps will present on the draft environmental impact statement.

  • Dates/Times:
    April 6, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. CT
    April 7, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. CT
    April 8, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. CT
  • Meeting Registration

Virtual Community Conversations with Environmental Law Institute and the Restore the Mississippi River Delta

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, CPRA, and the Environmental Law Institute have partnered to host a dialogue—facilitated by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta—to provide information on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.

These virtual meetings will provide the public with an informal opportunity to learn and ask questions about the project and the permitting process. CPRA and Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group members will guide participants through the recently released draft environmental statement and draft restoration plan.  We will also discuss how participants can participate in the upcoming formal public meetings and submit formal public comments.

These meetings are not an opportunity to comment formally on the draft restoration plan and draft environmental impact statement, like the meetings scheduled for April 6 – 8. These virtual community conversations are a chance to better understand the two documents and the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project through a dialogue with the participating organizations.

Additional Background Information and Documents

Recognizing the loss of marsh productivity caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the importance of Louisiana’s marshes to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, the historic 2016 Natural Resource Damages settlement allocated almost half of the funding, $4 billion, to restoring Louisiana’s coastal and nearshore habitats.

In 2017, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group released a draft and in 2018 approved a final strategic restoration plan prioritizing large-scale sediment diversion, marsh creation, and ridge restoration techniques and approaches for the Barataria Basin. The strategic plan included the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion and other projects for evaluation and planning.

     Documents and More Information

We’ll send emails out to Gulf Spill Restoration subscribers when any of this information is updated. If you’re not signed up, please do that today (via NOAA Fisheries).

February 2021

Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Asking for Restoration Ideas

2021-02-01T09:33:42-06:00February 1st, 2021|News|

Posted by: Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group

February 1, 2020

Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Asking for Restoration Ideas

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group is continuing restoration planning to address injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and we would like your input regarding natural resource restoration opportunities in Louisiana. We will consider a range of restoration activities under the Restore and Conserve Habitat, Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats Restoration Type.

You can find information on this restoration type and criteria we use to evaluate project ideas in the Trustees’ Programmatic Restoration Plan and its Restoring Natural Resources chapter.

You may submit new project ideas, or previously submitted ideas, through the Trustee Council or Louisiana project idea submission portals by March 2, 2021.

  • Trustee Council Portal: If you have already submitted ideas for this restoration type to the Trustee Council portal, you are not required to resubmit them. You can edit your existing project idea in the Trustee database at any time by following steps listed there.
  • Louisiana Portal: If you have already submitted project ideas to the Louisiana portal in connection with other Louisiana restoration planning efforts, including Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan and Deepwater Horizon restoration planning efforts, you do not need to resubmit those ideas either. Instead, email LATIG@LA.gov, and simply reference the project name and date of submittal of your previous proposal(s), and we will consider them during this planning effort.
  • Projects submitted after the deadline will be considered in future restoration planning efforts.

We will consider projects that address the restoration type identified above and may develop one or more draft restoration plans. We may also develop our own restoration projects for consideration. The public will be given the opportunity to review and provide input on a draft restoration plan, including specific projects proposed for implementation. After the public comment period ends, we will review, consider, and incorporate public comments, as appropriate, before releasing a final restoration plan.

Please contact us at LATIG@LA.gov if you have any questions. We look forward to considering your restoration project ideas.

November 2020

Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds

2021-01-07T09:43:14-06:00November 23rd, 2020|News, Restoration Plans|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has released its Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds. We accepted comment from August 20, 2020 through September 22, 2020 and held a public meeting on September 2, 2020.

The plan includes projects that restore the Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats and Birds restoration types. It includes five projects which have a total estimated cost of $234.6 million. The selected alternatives are:

Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitat:

  • Grande Cheniere Ridge Marsh Creation – This project will create up to 624 acres of marsh near Bayou Grande Cheniere and approximately 12,480 linear feet of earthen ridge along Jefferson Canal. The project estimated cost is $65 million.
  • Terrebonne Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation Project: Bayou Terrebonne Increment – This project will create up to 1,430 acres of brackish and saline marsh and restore up to 80 acres of earthen ridge. The estimated project cost is $157 million.
  • Bird’s Foot Delta Hydrologic Restoration – This project provides engineering and design funding for restoration anticipated to restore the hydrology of the Mississippi River Bird’s Foot Delta by dredging parts of Pass-a-Loutre, South Pass, and Southeast Pass to reconnect the Mississippi River with the marshes of the eastern and central Bird’s Foot Delta. The estimated engineering and design cost is $6 million.

Birds:

  • Isle au Pitre Restoration – This project provides engineering and design funding for restoration anticipated to enhance nesting conditions on the existing island by elevating portions of the island with dredged sediment and planting suitable vegetation for nesting brown pelicans and wading birds, shell rakes for American oystercatchers, and shell or small limestone on the perimeter of the island for tern and black skimmer nesting habitat. The estimated engineering and design cost is $3.5 million.
  • Terrebonne Houma Navigation Channel (HNC) Island Restoration –This project provides engineering and design funding for restoration anticipated to enlarge the island from its current size of 32 acres to approximately 50 acres by importing dredged sediment from a nearby suitable sand source and disposing of it adjacent and onto the existing island. The estimated engineering and design cost is $3.1 million.

Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds

October 2020

Presentation for Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds and the proposed preferred alternatives

2020-10-22T01:58:20-06:00October 19th, 2020|News|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG) released its Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds on August 19, 2020. The LA TIG accepted public comments through September 22, 2020. A public webinar was held on September 3, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. CT to present the draft restoration plan and the proposed preferred alternatives. The presentation slides and script from the meeting are available below.

RP7 Public Meeting Presentation Final

LA RP7 Public Meeting Script

Updates to the Louisiana Restoration Area plans, projects and activities

2020-10-22T01:57:59-06:00October 19th, 2020|News|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG) held its annual public meeting via webinar on September 9, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. CT. During this meeting, the Trustees presented updates on the Louisiana Restoration Area plans, projects, and other activities. After the presentation, attendees were provided the opportunity to submit written comments in the webinar. The September 9th 2020 Annual Meeting presentation slides and notes are available below.

2020 LA TIG Final Annual Public Meeting Slides

LA Annual Public Meeting 2020 Script

September 2020

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has approved the Final Phase 2 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #1.2: Spanish Pass Ridge and Marsh Creation Project and Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project.

2021-01-07T09:43:50-06:00September 29th, 2020|News, Restoration Plans|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has approved the Final Phase 2 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #1.2: Spanish Pass Ridge and Marsh Creation Project and Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project.

We released the draft restoration plan in October 2019 and accepted public comment through November 20, 2019. This final plan includes construction activities for the restoration of wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats injured in the Louisiana Restoration Area as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The plan analyzes restoration project design alternatives for two projects that are components of larger marsh restoration strategies, and were approved for engineering and design (E&D) in a previous restoration plan. We have selected and approved a design alternative for construction of each, with a combined construction cost of approximately $214,932,290.

The Spanish Pass project is a component of an overall large-scale restoration strategy for the Barataria Basin that will re-establish ridge and intertidal marsh habitats degraded due to sea level rise, land subsidence, diminished sediment supply, and storm events. The primary goal of the Spanish Pass increment in this plan is to create and nourish approximately 132 acres of historical ridge and 1,683 acres of marsh. This Plan approves funding for construction, engineering and design, operations and maintenance, and monitoring and adaptive management with an estimated cost of approximately $100.3 million.

The Lake Borgne Marsh Creation – Increment One project is also a component of an overall large-scale restoration strategy for the Pontchartrain Basin that will reestablish the bay rim and intertidal marsh habitat. This increment will create an estimated 2,816 acres of restored marsh habitat at an estimated cost of approximately $114.7 million. This Plan approved funding for engineering and design, construction, operations and maintenance, and monitoring and adaptive management.

 

Final Phase 2 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #1.2: Spanish Pass Ridge and Marsh Creation Project and Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project

 

August 2020

Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7:  Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds Released

2021-01-07T09:44:08-06:00August 20th, 2020|News, Restoration Plans, Uncategorized|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has released its Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds. We will accept comments through September 22, 2020.

The draft plan includes proposed projects that restore the Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitat and Birds restoration types. It includes five proposed preferred alternatives which have a total estimated cost of $234.1 million. The proposed preferred alternatives are:

Birds:

  • Isle au Pitre Restoration – This project would enhance nesting conditions on the existing island by elevating portions of the island with dredged sediment and planting suitable vegetation for nesting brown pelicans and wading birds, long strips of deposited shell (shell rakes) for American oystercatchers, and shell or small limestone on the perimeter of the island for tern and black skimmer nesting habitat. The estimated project cost is $3.5 million (cost is E&D only).
  • Terrebonne Houma Navigation Channel (HNC) Island Restoration –This project would enlarge the island from its current size of 32 acres to approximately 50 acres by importing dredged sediment from a nearby suitable sand source and disposing of it adjacent and onto the existing island. The estimated project cost is $3.1 million (cost is E&D only).

Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitat:

  • Grande Cheniere Ridge Marsh Creation – This project would create up to 624 acres of marsh near Bayou Grande Cheniere, approximately 12,480 linear feet of earthen ridge along Jefferson Canal, and approximately 48,900 linear feet of earthen containment dike. The estimated project cost is $65 million.
  • Terrebonne Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation Project: Bayou Terrebonne Increment – This project would create up to 1,430 acres of brackish and saline marsh and restore up to 80 acres of earthen ridge. The estimated project cost is $156.5 million.
  • Bird’s Foot Delta Hydrologic Restoration – This project would restore the hydrology of the Mississippi River Bird’s Foot Delta by dredging Pass-a-Loutre, South Pass, and Southeast Pass to reconnect the Mississippi River with the marshes of the eastern and central Bird’s Foot Delta. The estimated project cost is $6 million (cost is for E&D only).

The restoration plan also includes two non-preferred alternatives, which are not summarized here.

A public webinar will be held on September 3, 2020 at 3:00 pm Central Standard Time to present the draft restoration plan and the proposed preferred alternatives. If you are unable to attend the webinar, the materials will be posted online shortly after the webinar on the Louisiana Restoration Area web page.

Public Comment Period

Public comments, accepted through September 22, 2020, can be submitted online and through the mail.

September 3 Webinar

We will conduct a public webinar on September 3, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. Please register for the webinar at our GoToWebinar registration page.

After registering, participants will receive a confirmation with directions for joining the webinar. A GoToWebinar system check is recommended before attending.

 

Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds

Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Fact sheet

Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7: Fact sheet Vietnamese

Register for September 9 Louisiana Annual Public Meeting Webinar

2020-08-12T14:04:48-06:00August 12th, 2020|News|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group will hold its annual public meeting via a webinar on September 9, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. CT.

During this meeting, the Trustees will present updates on the Louisiana Restoration Area plans, projects and other activities. We’ll also provide an opportunity for attendees to submit written comments using the web-based “chat” function in the webinar after the updates are presented. We encourage your attendance and participation.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join on the meeting date. We recommend doing a GoToWebinar system check before attending.

We will post the presentation and transcript to the Gulf Spill Restoration website and send a follow-up email to subscribers when it is available.

Please contact us at latig@la.gov by September 2, 2020, if you need assistance due to a hearing or visual impairment.

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has approved the Final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #5: Living Coastal and Marine Resources – Marine Mammals and Oysters.

2021-01-07T09:44:41-06:00August 4th, 2020|News, Restoration Plans|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has approved the Final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #5: Living Coastal and Marine Resources – Marine Mammals and Oysters.

We released the draft restoration plan in March 2020 and accepted public comment through April 20, 2020. This final plan will replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources (specifically, oysters and marine mammals) in the Louisiana Restoration Area. One project approved in the plan will focus on increasing capacity to respond to marine mammal strandings, and the other three will focus on oyster restoration in the Louisiana Restoration Area.

We released the draft restoration plan in March 2020 and accepted public comment through April 20, 2020. This final plan will replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources (specifically, oysters and marine mammals) in the Louisiana Restoration Area. One project approved in the plan will focus on increasing capacity to respond to marine mammal strandings, and the other three will focus on oyster restoration in the Louisiana Restoration Area.

 

Marine Mammal Project

The marine mammal project will increase capacity and expand partnerships along the Louisiana coastline for marine mammal stranding response.

  • Increased capacity will lead to improved rapid response to injured and dead dolphins and whales, and a better understanding of the causes of injury and/or death.
  • A Louisiana-based stranding coordinator will build partnerships and conduct outreach for the project.
  • Finally, the project will provide infrastructure, equipment, and supplies needed for stranding and rehabilitation.
  • Estimated cost of this project is $3,095,628.

This project will be led by NOAA in partnership with other federal and state trustees on the Louisiana TIG.

 

Oyster Projects

A network of oyster reefs will be constructed to increase spawning oyster populations.

  • This project will be done in two phases, the first includes construction of two reefs in the Lake Machais/Mozambique Point area and two in the Petit Pass/Bay Boudreaux area, each up to 10 acres in size and 1.2 m from bottom.
  • The second phase will identify and construct additional spawning stock reefs in areas of Louisiana public oyster grounds with suitable conditions for oyster propagation but larval supplies are low.
  • All constructed reefs from this project would be closed to harvest, but located near harvesting areas to promote habitat connectivity.
  • Estimated cost of this project is $9,701,447.

 

Oyster reefs will be created through placement of limestone cultch material.

  • Material will be placed in two locations, the first is a 200-acre site in the Grand Banks area of Mississippi Sound.
  • The second location is at a 200-acre site in Caillou Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation.
  • We will also identify and construct additional reefs in areas of Louisiana public oyster grounds with suitable conditions for oyster propagation but lack sufficient substrate for oyster populations to expand.
  • Harvest at these sites will be closed until performance criteria are met.
  • Estimated cost of this project is $10,070,000.

 

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group will provide funding to support operations at the Michael C. Voisin Oyster Hatchery in Grand Isle, Louisiana.

  • Project activities include production, deployment, and monitoring of hatchery-produced oysters onto established reefs within Louisiana’s public oyster areas that are low-producing or in need of rehabilitation.
  • The hatchery estimates production of at least 500 million oyster larvae per year.
  • A minimum of 25 percent of the oyster larvae produced would be dedicated for oyster restoration activities in protected areas.
  • Estimated cost of this project is $5,850,000.

 

All three oyster projects will be led by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries in partnership with federal and state trustees on the Louisiana TIG. The total $25,621,447 funding proposed for implementation of oyster restoration under the trustees’ preferred alternatives represents a commitment of all remaining available funding for oyster restoration in the Louisiana Restoration Area.

 

Louisiana Trustees Approve 1,200-acre Marsh Restoration Project in Barataria Basin

2020-08-04T14:12:36-06:00August 3rd, 2020|News|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has approved the Final Phase II Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #3.3: Large-scale Barataria Marsh Creation: Upper Barataria Component.

The project was initially evaluated for engineering and design funding in the 2018 Strategic Restoration Plan for Barataria Basin. We then released the draft restoration plan in March 2020 and accepted public comment through April 17, 2020. The approximate 1,200 acre marsh creation project approved in the plan will be implemented by NOAA, in partnership with other federal and state trustees on the Louisiana TIG.

  • The project includes filling areas to create an intertidal marsh platform that will support marsh plants and support healthy wetland habitat, which can lessen the impact of future storms by dissipating wave energy.
  • The project will use approximately 8.4 million cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Mississippi River.
  • A single construction phase will be used to maximize cost effectiveness. The estimated construction duration is 26 months. Bids are expected to be solicited by NOAA in 2021.
  • The total estimated cost is approximately $176 million, including previous design efforts.

This project is intended to continue the process of using restoration funding to restore and conserve wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats in the Barataria Basin, where the greatest oiling impacts from the Deepwater Horizon spill occurred. The trustees will continue to consider and plan for additional wetlands, coastal and nearshore habitat restoration projects in the future

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