For decades, Louisiana has fought to protect and restore its rapidly disappearing coast. In 2010, The Deepwater Horizon oil spill exacerbated our coastal crisis. Barataria Basin, already suffering from degradation, was especially hard hit with land loss rates doubling or tripling after the oil spill.
For years, it has been clear that the single biggest thing we can do to offset some of the loss of our precious coast is to allow the Mississippi River to do what it’s done for thousands of years: build land with its sediment- and nutrient-rich water. For this reason, sediment diversions are a keystone project of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.
The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project will harness the natural power of the Mississippi River to divert over 300 million tons of sediment into rapidly-vanishing wetlands, restoring the health of the entire ecosystem and building and maintaining thousands of acres to buffer our region from more intense hurricanes and sea level rise. Without action, 80% of the basin’s marshes could be lost, threatening Louisiana’s communities, culture, livelihoods and abundant natural resources.
Recently, this project has hit a milestone that has been long-awaited. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA-TIG) concurrently released a draft Restoration Plan. You now have the opportunity to help advance the largest and most important coastal restoration project in our nation’s history!
Today, YOUR voice is needed to support this critical project to protect our coast – our Sportsman’s Paradise – so that we can continue to live, work, and play in this place we are so lucky to call home.
Defend our coast. Protect our future. Take action today.
How you can help:
The Corps and LA TIG are now accepting your comments. For your convenience, we’ve drafted some basic supportive comments below. Simply copy and paste this message (editing it however you like) to the online comment portal here.*
(*Note: The comment portal is hosted on the National Park Service website. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place!)
To read more about these plans:
Read the Draft Environmental Impact Statement Executive Summary.
Read the Draft Restoration Plan (See pages 13-15 for Executive Summary).
[Copy & Paste this message or submit your own version via the online portal, not in the comment section of this article. *Post comments here.*]:
Louisiana’s coast is critical to not only the people who live, work, and recreate here, but to the entire nation. World-class fishing attracts people from all over the world. Our ports are a major player in international trade. The nation’s energy needs are largely supported by the oil and natural gas industry located along our coast.
Our coast is disappearing. It’s vital that bold action is taken to help protect communities, businesses, and natural resources from the devastating effects of hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. The single biggest thing that can be done to help mitigate some of this loss – and address this crisis – is to allow the Mississippi River to do what it’s done for thousands of years: build land with its sediment and nutrient-rich water.
In 2010, The Deepwater Horizon oil spill exacerbated our coastal crisis and severely impacted wildlife that depend on our estuaries. Approximately 95% of the marsh oiling along the Gulf occurred in Louisiana – the heaviest of that oiling was in the Barataria Basin. Already suffering from degradation prior to the spill, the basin was especially hard hit with land loss rates doubling or tripling after the oil spill. Without the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) project, this basin’s estuary will collapse.
A problem of this magnitude requires innovation. The MBSD project is one of the largest environmental infrastructure projects in the history of the United States. Reconnecting the Mississippi River to the Barataria Basin will maintain vital wetlands and restore the health and vitality of the entire ecosystem.
I support the preferred alternative as outlined in the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. I also support the proposal in the draft Restoration Plan to use funds from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill settlement to implement this project, which will help to restore the overall health of the ecosystem that was injured as a result of the oil spill.
The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is the cornerstone of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan and will help support and enhance the lifespan of other coastal restoration and protection projects. Combined with other proposed restoration projects, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion would build and preserve more than 17,000 acres of wetlands over the next 30 years to restore critical wetland habitat injured by the oil spill. It is exactly the scale needed to address the very serious challenges facing Louisiana’s coast.
As the project advances, I urge federal and state decision makers to center community needs in planned mitigation and stewardship efforts. This project will have many positive, long-term benefits, including increased storm surge protection, job creation and regional economic impact during construction, and increased productivity of natural resources. There are also foreseeable adverse effects possible as the project restores natural balance in a declining ecosystem. The Trustees must work proactively and collaboratively with potentially impacted communities to develop and implement ideas and proposals for adaptation and mitigation, and be as detailed and transparent as possible throughout the process.
I encourage the development and implementation of a robust adaptive management program that incorporates knowledge gained from monitoring of the project over time and also considers input from key stakeholders.
A future without the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is a future we cannot afford, which is why I support the preferred alternative outlined in the draft Environmental Impact Statement and the expenditure of Deepwater Horizon settlement dollars to pay for the project’s construction and associated mitigation and stewardship activities.