The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s (CPRA) Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Plan (Annual Plan) is currently working its way through the Louisiana Legislature. The Annual Plan is a spending plan for revenues over the next fiscal year (which runs July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). It also looks ahead at spending projections for the two following fiscal years.
The Annual Plan, which is updated every year, describes the state’s efforts to protect and restore our coast. This includes the short-term and long-term results that citizen can expect to see as the state implements its Coastal Master Plan – a 50 year, $50 billion plan with goals of reducing coastal flood risk, promoting sustainable ecosystems, providing habitats for a variety of commercial and recreational activities coast-wide, strengthening communities, and supporting regionally and nationally important business and industry.
Key takeaways from 2021 Annual Plan include:
- 92% of total expenditures will go toward project implementation and maintenance.
- 106 projects are listed as active: 60 in construction, 38 in engineering and design, and 8 in planning.
- 14 active projects are in Southwest Louisiana, 29 in South Central Louisiana, and 63 in Southeast Louisiana.
- 16 dredging projects are slated for construction, including 76.8 million cubic yards to create or nourish more than 13,000 acres.
“Over half the population of the state is within the coastal zone. Since 2007, CPRA has secured $21.4 billion for protection and restoration, dredged over 47,000 acres of wetlands, improved 327 miles of levee and constructed 60 miles of barrier islands and shorelines and berms”, said Representative Jerome Zeringue, who authors the bill in the House (HR19).
“Over the next 4 years, the CPRA will break ground on projects that will ultimately create more land in coastal Louisiana than we expect to lose. That is the first time that we can say that since the 1930’s”, said CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline. Kline said “the percentage of on-the-ground construction is projected to increase to 81% in FY 2022 and to 89% in FY 2023.”
“This will also be our biggest year yet for dredging,” said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase, referring to the method of suctioning sediment from river, lake, or offshore water bottoms and pumping it via pipelines to create or nourish coastal wetlands. “The 2021 annual plan continues a trend in the right direction for our coast and demonstrates what can be accomplished when the science, funding, and political will align.”
For the first time ever, our coastal program will have revenues that top $1 billion – with the majority of that going to construction. It reflects the momentum that has been built by the coastal program over the years and the important opportunity at-hand to implement urgently needed, science-based restoration projects with funds available (from oil spill settlement, GOMESA, CWPPRA, etc).
Louisiana’s coast is losing a football field of land every 100 minutes. We have no time to waste. It’s important that we’re ready to get that money to projects as soon as possible.
Contact your legislators and urge them to vote YES on the Annual Plan. The plan must pass through both the House (HR19) and Senate (SR14) to be approved for implementation.
To find your legislators, visit legis.la.gov/Legis/FindMyLegislators.
Be sure to reference HR19 for Representatives and SR14 for Senators
Tell your legislators that you support the state’s coastal program!