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November 2022

Final Phase 2 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7.1: Terrebonne HNC Island Restoration Project

2022-11-30T15:20:16-06:00November 30th, 2022|News, Restoration Plans|

The Deepwater Horizon Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has released the Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7.1 approving the Terrebonne HNC Island Restoration project to restore birds injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The plan, Final Phase 2 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7.1: Terrebonne HNC Island Restoration Project (PDF, 96 pages), is a continuation of Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds. That plan selected the Terrebonne HNC Island Restoration Project for engineering and design (Phase 1) funding under the Birds Restoration Type. This Final Phase 2 Plan evaluated a reasonable range of design alternatives and selects alternative 7A as the preferred design for construction.

The project will restore and conserve bird nesting and foraging habitat and create, restore, and enhance barrier and coastal islands and headlands by increasing the acreage of the island from 27.6 acres up to approximately 45 acres of shrub nesting, ground nesting, and marsh habitat. An existing, degraded perimeter rock dike will be restored, and breakwaters may be constructed on the northeast side of the island to provide further protection as well as calm water for loafing birds. Habitat restoration will be accomplished by raising the elevation of HNC Island using dredged material from a borrow area near Cat Island Pass.

The estimated cost for implementing design alternative 7A is $34 million. The costs of construction, oversight, operation, maintenance, and monitoring costs are included in this estimate.

The Louisiana Trustees will leverage funding from the settlement of another unauthorized oil discharge, one made in 2006 by the CITGO Petroleum Corporation’s (CITGO) Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex located in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. That spill discharged waste oil, oily wastewater, and sludge into the Martais Waterway and ultimately into the Calcasieu River. The oil also affected adjacent marshes and the Calcasieu River’s upstream and downstream receiving waters, including Prien Lake, Moss Lake, Calcasieu Lake, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

The Calcasieu River Trustees will partner with the Louisiana TIG to partially fund construction of the Terrebonne HNC Island project to compensate for injuries to birds resulting from the CITGO spill. They will contribute $1.65 million from the CITGO settlement to the Terrebonne HNC Island project to increase the quantity and quality of coastal island nesting habitat for species injured by the CITGO spill, such as brown pelicans, wading birds (herons and egrets) and laughing gulls.

The Draft Phase 2 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7.1: Terrebonne HNC Island Restoration Project (PDF, 80 pages) was released on August 25, 2022, for a 30-day public comment period. A public webinar conducted on September 8 included a presentation of the draft plan and included an opportunity for public comment. The Trustees did not receive any public comments on the draft plan.

Final Restoration Plan and Fact Sheets

September 2022

Louisiana Trustees Release Final Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Restoration Plan

2022-11-30T15:20:36-06:00September 21st, 2022|News, Restoration Plans|

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, the agencies charged with restoring Louisiana’s natural resources after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has released the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Final Restoration Plan. The plan evaluates using a large-scale sediment diversion to reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin estuary to restore wetlands and contribute to the broader restoration of its ecosystem. If it is ultimately permitted and funded, this first-of-its-kind project, estimated to cost more than $2 billion, represents one of the largest and most innovative coastal habitat restoration efforts ever undertaken.

The Final Restoration Plan provides an in-depth analysis of the benefits and impacts of a Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, and selects a preferred alternative for implementation. The project would re-establish historic delta processes by allowing for the controlled release of water, sediment, and nutrients from the Mississippi River into the Barataria Basin estuary, supporting ecosystem-scale restoration of the estuary.

Over 50 years, the sediment carried by the diversion is projected to restore over 13,000 acres of wetland habitat—which is 20 square miles, or the size of Breton National Wildlife Refuge. These restored wetlands would contribute to protecting communities and infrastructure, reducing impacts from storms, supporting healthier Gulf fisheries, and benefiting many species important to the region’s economy and environment.

“The Deepwater Horizon oil spill had a profound impact on the northern Gulf of Mexico,” said Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “I am proud of the strong collaboration with our partners over many years that resulted in a plan to sustainably rebuild these vital coastal wetlands.”

Restoration Plan Evaluation and Timeline

In this Final Restoration Plan, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group evaluated six sediment diversion alternatives. In selecting the preferred alternative, the Trustees considered the benefits and impacts of each alternative, and reviewed extensive public input received on the Draft Restoration Plan published in March 2021.

Throughout the plan’s development, the Trustees also participated in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental impact evaluation of the proposed sediment diversion project. Concurrent with this release of the Trustees’ Final Restoration Plan, the Army Corps has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), available at the Army Corps’ website. The Final Restoration Plan and FEIS will be considered by the Trustees to inform a final decision on implementing this project. That decision is anticipated to be made later this year.

If implemented, project costs are anticipated to exceed $2 billion. Costs include funds for monitoring and evaluation, and a suite of stewardship and mitigation measures to offset adverse impacts where possible.

Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and NOAA are the lead Trustees for this Final Restoration Plan, which was prepared jointly with the other Louisiana Restoration Area Trustees: the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion has the potential to build and maintain more land than any other project in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. These wetlands are critical to the protection of the communities, fisheries, and economies in Louisiana—and all that our coast supports across the country,” said Chip Kline, Chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board. “The project is a cornerstone of our state’s coastal program and represents the best in innovative science and collaboration across agencies to protect and restore the ecosystem.”

Final MBSD RP 091422 508 compliant

Final MBSD RP Executive Summary in English 508 compliant

Final MBSD – Executive Summary in Vietnamese 508 compliant

Final MBSD RP – Executive Summary in Spanish 508 compliant

LA Final MBSD Factsheet

August 2022

Draft Phase 2 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #7.1: Terrebonne HNC Island Restoration Project

2022-11-30T15:20:53-06:00August 25th, 2022|News, Restoration Plans|

The Deepwater Horizon Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group is proposing the Terrebonne Houma Navigation Canal (HNC) Island Restoration project to restore birds injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The project is included in a draft restoration plan, which is now open for public comment through September 26, 2022.

The Trustees will hold a public webinar on the plan on September 8 at 2:00 p.m. CT, followed by the Louisiana Trustees’ Annual Public Meeting at 2:30 p.m. CT.

The plan, Draft Phase 2 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #7.1: Terrebonne HNC Island Restoration Project, is a continuation of Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, and Birds. That plan selected the Terrebonne HNC Island Restoration Project for engineering and design funding under the Birds Restoration Type. This Phase 2 Plan evaluates a reasonable range of design alternatives to expand the Terrebonne HNC Island.

The preferred alternative, design alternative 7A, is proposed for construction with an estimated total cost of approximately $34 million. This alternative would restore and conserve bird nesting and foraging habitat. Restoration would increase the acreage of the island from 27.6 acres to approximately 41.4 acres. Shoreline protection features include a rock dike around the island perimeter and may include breakwaters on the northeast side of the project area outside of the perimeter rock dike. This breakwater would provide calm water for loafing, protect locations of tidal exchange with marsh habitat through low points in the perimeter rock dike, and extend the longevity of the island.

A second alternative, a variation on acreage, habitat types and shoreline features, and a no-action alternative were also analyzed.

Public Comment and Webinar

The public is encouraged to review and comment on the draft plan through September 26 by submitting comments online, by mail, or during the public webinar.

The Louisiana Trustees will hold a public webinar on September 8, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. CT. We will present the draft plan and take comments submitted during the webinar. Immediately after the conclusion of meeting, we will hold the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group’s Annual Public Meeting.

Draft Restoration Plan and Fact Sheets

Register Today: Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Public Annual Meeting Webinar September 8

2022-08-25T11:25:58-06:00August 25th, 2022|News, Restoration Plans|

The Deepwater Horizon Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group will hold its annual public meeting on September 8, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. CT via webinar, immediately following the Louisiana Draft 7.1 Restoration Plan presentation, which will begin at 2:00 p.m. CT. Both public engagement opportunities can be accessed via the same registration link below.

During the annual meeting, we will present updates on the progress made in the last year by the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group. After the webinar presentations, attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments to the Trustees.

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.

Please contact us at latig@la.gov if you need special assistance with language, hearing or visual capabilities.

If you are unable to attend the public meeting webinar, the presentation and meeting notes will be available on the Gulf Spill Restoration website. We will send a follow-up email notifying you when materials are available.

Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats

2022-08-04T08:13:49-06:00August 4th, 2022|News, Restoration Plans|

Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has released its latest plan to restore wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats to address injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The plan, Final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #8: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, selects four projects for implementation with an estimated total cost of almost $75 million:

  • Two projects are selected for engineering and design:
    • New Orleans East Landbridge Restoration will provide engineering and design for a project intended to create and restore marsh habitat that separates Lake Pontchartrain from Lake Borgne and the Gulf of Mexico. The approximate cost is $4 million.
    • Raccoon Island Barrier Island Restoration will provide engineering and design for a project intended to create and enhance beach, dune, and tidal habitats through sand fill placement and shoreline protection. The approximate cost is $8.2 million.
  • Two projects are selected for construction:
    • Bayou Dularge Ridge and Marsh Creation is intended to create and nourish marsh on the south side of Bayou Dularge and restore the ridge along the southern bank of Bayou Dularge. The approximate cost is $41.4 million.
    • Bayou La Loutre Ridge Restoration and Marsh Creation is intended to create and nourish marsh along Lena Lagoon, and restore the ridge along the southern bank of Bayou La Loutre. The approximate cost is $21.2 million.

FINAL RESTORATION PLAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT #8: WETLANDS, COASTAL, AND NEARSHORE HABITATS

April 2022

Presentation for Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats and the proposed preferred alternatives

2022-04-28T06:35:25-06:00April 28th, 2022|News, Restoration Plans|

Presentation for Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats and the proposed preferred alternatives

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG) released its Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Wetland, Coastal, and Near shore Habitats on March 18, 2022. The LA TIG accepted public comments through April 18, 2022. A public webinar was held on April 5, 2022 at 12:00 pm CT to present the draft restoration plan and the proposed preferred alternatives. The presentation slides and script from the meeting are available below.

RP8 Public Meeting Presentation Final

LA RP8 Public Meeting Script

March 2022

Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats

2022-04-28T06:32:36-06:00March 18th, 2022|News, Restoration Plans|

Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has released its Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats. We will accept comments through April 18, 2022.

The draft plan includes projects that restore Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats restoration type. It includes four proposed preferred alternatives. Two of the preferred alternatives are conceptual projects that would undergo engineering and design (E&D) if selected, and two alternatives that would be analyzed for full implementation if selected. The four proposed preferred alternatives have a total estimated cost of $74,800,000. The proposed preferred alternatives are:

  • Proposed projects for engineering and design:
    • New Orleans East Landbridge Restoration Project:  Engineering and design for a project that (if constructed in the future) would create and restore marsh habitat that separates Lake Pontchartrain from Lake Borgne and the Gulf of Mexico. Approximate cost: $4 million.
    • Raccoon Island Barrier Island Restoration Project: Engineering and design that (if constructed in the future) would create and enhance beach, dune, and tidal habitats through sand fill placement and shoreline protection. Approximate cost: $8.2 million.
  • Proposed projects for construction:
    • Bayou Dularge Ridge and Marsh Creation: Create and nourish marsh and restore the ridge feature on the south side of Bayou Dularge. Approximate cost: $41.4 million.
    • Bayou La Loutre Ridge Restoration and Marsh Creation: Create and nourish marsh along Lena Lagoon, and restore the ridge feature along the southern bank of Bayou La Loutre. Approximate cost: $21.2 million.

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

A public webinar will be held on April 5, 2022 at 12:00 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 April 18, 2022, can be submitted online and through the mail.

Atlanta, GA 30345

April 5, 2022 Webinar

We will conduct a public webinar on April 5, 2022 at 12:00 pm CST. 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.

Fact Sheet for Draft RP8

Draft RP-EA8_508_FINAL

2022-03 LA TIG Deepwater Vietnamese Fact Sheet for Draft RP8

Presentation for Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats and the proposed preferred alternatives

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG) released its Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #8: Wetland, Coastal, and Near shore Habitats on March 18, 2022. The LA TIG accepted public comments through April 18, 2022. A public webinar was held on April 5, 2022 at 12:00 pm CT to present the draft restoration plan and the proposed preferred alternatives. The presentation slides and script from the meeting are available below.

RP8 Public Meeting Presentation Final

LA RP8 Public Meeting Script

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

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