Louisiana Legislature unanimously approves Coastal Master Plan and Annual Plan

On Thursday, May 25, 2023, Louisiana’s 2023 Coastal Master Plan and Fiscal Year 2024 Annual Plan passed unanimously in the Louisiana Legislature.

The Coastal Master Plan serves as the state’s $50 billion, 50-year guiding document for planning coastal restoration and protection projects and, by law, must be updated every six years in order to incorporate the most recent science and environmental conditions.

Some of the highlights laid out in the 2023 Coastal Master Plan include:

  • Calls for 77 projects that can preserve, protect, and restore the vibrancy and the characteristics of the coast we call home and depend on.
  • The projects identified in the 2023 Coastal Master Plan will restore and maintain over 300 square miles of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and reduce expected annual damage by up to $15 billion compared to a future without action.
  • Dedicates $25 billion to 65 restoration projects, including marsh creation, diversions, landbridges, ridge restorations, and hydrologic restoration projects.
  • Identifies 12 structural risk reduction projects, including new levees and improving existing structures to withstand greater storm surges, to reduce flood damage by an estimated $7.7 billion.
  • Allocates $11.2 billion to nonstructural risk reduction activities, such as residential elevations, commercial floodproofing, and voluntary acquisition of properties.
  • $2.5 billion is allocated to programmatic restoration efforts and small-scale strategies, such as bank stabilization and barrier island maintenance.

As a companion to the master plan, the Master Plan 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.

The Annual Plan, which is required by the Louisiana Legislature to be updated each year, details projected revenues and expenditures and forecasts projects that will be undertaken by the state and its partners for the upcoming three years. The Annual Plan also gives an overview of the progress that Louisiana’s coastal program has made toward implementing previous Coastal Master Plans.

On Friday, May 26, Governor John Bel Edwards held a press conference on the passage of the plans. During the governor’s press conference, CPRA  chairman Chip Kline stated that fiscal year 2024 will be one for the books – and one for the dredge. “We will invest a record-breaking $1.6 billion in coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects across the coast. That includes 147 active projects next year. We are referring to next year as the year of the dredge; that is because we have over 20 dredging projects across south Louisiana that will create over 15,000 acres of new land.”

Not only will fiscal year 2024 bring big bucks to the state’s coastal program, but it will also bring a bigger portion of funding for construction of projects. Over 80% of the money laid out in the FY24 Annual Plan will go toward construction of projects that have been envisioned for years.

Released along with the annual plan, the Interactive Annual Plan complements CPRA’s Annual Plan and gives a birds-eye view of projects and the progress on the ground across our coast.

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