Draft 2023 Coastal Master Plan available for public review; hearings scheduled

Louisiana’s plan for coastal restoration and protection projects is updated every six years to utilize the latest science to inform decision-making for the best projects to increase coastal resiliency. The Draft 2023 Coastal Master Plan (Master Plan) has just been released by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and is now available for public review and comment.

CPRA says in Friday’s press release that since 2007, the Master Plan “has driven $21.4 billion of investment in coastal protection and restoration projects since 2007, benefitting 55,807 acres of habitat (87.2 square miles), 369 miles of levee improvements, and 71.6 miles of barrier islands and headlands”.

Prior to the plan’s release, CPRA and partners hosted several community conversations across coastal Louisiana. The meetings were offered as an opportunity for communities across the coast to engage directly with the Coastal Master Plan team to discuss the plan and what it means for their communities and the entire coast.

Projects proposed in the plan aim to reduce annual damages to the tune of up to $15 billion compared to a future without implementing these projects. CPRA concludes that by implementing the Master Plan, Louisiana’s hurricane and tropical storm flood risk could be lower in 50 years compared to the risks we experience today.

 

From over 180 submitted project concepts, 61 restoration and 12 structural risk reduction projects were selected for inclusion in the 2023 Draft Coastal Master Plan. Additionally, the plan recommends $11.2B in nonstructural risk reduction investments.

Addressing Louisiana’s land loss crisis and protecting coastal communities requires the comprehensive and integrated approach that projects identified in the master plan offer. No other state in the country has a plan like ours utilizing the best available science and engineering to preserve our coast and culture for generations to come.

CPRA Chairman, Chip Kline

The plan is clear in stating that even with full implementation of the Master Plan projects, “coastal Louisiana’s landscape is going to look different 50 years into the future”. Even so, the plan remains our best shot at delivering significant benefits in building and/or maintaining land across coastal Louisiana.

Figure 1. Higher scenario projections of flood depths with a storm event of 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (aka “100-year storm”). With the higher environmental scenario, storm surge-based flood depths are expected to increase and extend northward, putting additional communities at risk over 50 years.

 

Figure 2. Flood depth difference between a future with implementation of the 2023 Master Plan and without implementation of the plan. The difference is given for the “higher scenario” (higher sea level rise projections) in 50 years.

 

Included with the release of the draft plan is the Master Plan Data Viewer, an interactive online companion to the Master Plan. This data viewer presents projections of coastal change over 50 years and the potential impacts of restoration and risk reduction projects to address the challenges of land loss and coastal flood risk.

Figure 3. The Master Plan Data Viewer allows you to view various future projections by altering data points for land change, vegetation, flood depths and damages based on different scenarios.

WHAT’S NEW IN 2023

  • A new robust project selection process
  • Improvements to predictive models
  • New data incorporated into risk modeling
  • Development of new risk metrics
  • Regional approach with additional detail and analysis
  • Expanded analyses that are accessible through an updated Master Plan Data Viewer

HERE’S HOW TO GET INVOLVED

The public can now view the Draft 2023 Coastal Master Plan online. Public comments will be accepted until March 25, 2023.

Public hearings have also been scheduled on the dates listed below. All four public hearings will include an open house beginning at 3:30 p.m., followed by a presentation and public comment session from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Baton Rouge
January 31, 2023
East Baton Rouge Parish Library
9200 Bluebonnet Boulevard

Houma
February 2, 2023
Houma Municipal Auditorium
880 Verret Street

New Orleans
February 7, 2023
University of New Orleans
University Center Auditorium
2000 Lakeshore Drive

Lake Charles
February 16, 2023
Burton Coliseum Complex
7001 Gulf Highway

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  1. Pingback: Community conversations held across coastal Louisiana to discuss state’s Coastal Master Plan - Louisiana Wildlife Federation

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