Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) is excited to see the current progress of Louisiana’s coastal program and the number of projects moving to construction in the Draft Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Plan (draft Annual Plan). The 50-year, $50 billion Master Plan needs this level of spending and we are pleased to see the next three fiscal years topping the $1 billion mark – with the great majority going to construction of projects.
The addition of the interactive Annual Plan website is a great resource for the public and we hope to see this tool continue to be utilized and expanded in future years. While the addition of the interactive map with project highlights on the Annual Plan website is very helpful, there was a noticeable lack of background information in the draft plan itself. This information is important to provide the public with enough context to more easily understand the plan in order to give adequate feedback during the public comment period.
LWF has long supported the State’s coastal efforts and is thrilled to see some long awaited progress on projects such as the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp finally moving to construction. We are also eagerly awaiting the construction of large-scale diversion projects like the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. Southwest Louisiana has been hit hard over the last few years and we are pleased to see funding for the Southwest Coastal Study included in the Annual Plan.
LWF is also encouraged to see the inclusion of additional opportunities to connect the Mississippi River to surrounding areas with the Union Diversion. Projects such as the Ama and Union diversions will be important for protecting surrounding communities. Recent research from Tulane University shows that the Ama and Union diversions, when operated along with the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project, would reduce Bonnet Carré Spillway openings (and the environmental impacts associated with those openings). LWF is glad to see funding for feasibility and planning of the Union Diversion included in the Annual Plan. We hope CPRA will also move the Ama Diversion to the planning phase in the next fiscal year in order to utilize the benefits of jointly operating these diversions.
LWF looks forward to advocating for our coast and the funding of the State’s coastal program to protect communities and wildlife for generations to come.
Read LWF’s Full Comment letter:
LWF FY23 Annual Plan Comments_2.21.22