Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Storm Surge Damage Falls $8.3 Billion a Year in Louisiana's New Coastal Plan

What's currently left of the marsh along the East Pearl River and the Rigolets, where the 2017 Coastal Master Plan now includes a flood gate to combat storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. (Photo Credit: David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune) Click to Enlarge.
The ambitious 2017 rewrite of Louisiana's $50 billion, 50-year coastal protection and restoration master plan could reduce hurricane storm surge damage by $8.3 billion a year through 2067 and create 800 more square miles of coastal wetlands and dry land than if the plan is not implemented.  Included in it are dozens of fast-track coastal restoration projects, to be built within 10 years, and two major sediment diversions -- Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton -- that have been under development on the east and west banks of the Mississippi River below Belle Chasse for several years.

Among the major proposed changes since the plan was last revised in 2012:
  • Floodgates would be built at the Chef Menteur and Rigolets passes, to keep storm surge from charging into Lake Pontchartrain, and a U-shaped levee would be constructed for Slidell.
  • No major levee work would be undertaken to protect the Jean Lafitte area on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish.
  • A combination levee and floodwall would be built along U.S. 90 between Raceland and Boutte
  • Other new levee projects would be mounted along portions of the central and western Louisiana coast.
The master plan is Louisiana's premier comprehensive blueprint for buttressing the state's retreating coastline and shielding coastal parishes from hurricane damage.  The latest version, released Tuesday (Jan. 3), was prepared by the staff of the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and is online at the authority's website.  The authority's governing board will vote on it in the spring, after which the Legislature will pass judgment on it.

Read more at Storm Surge Damage Falls $8.3 Billion a Year in Louisiana's New Coastal Plan

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