NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana’s coastal restoration agency is taking bids for an environmental impact statement on a project it describes as a cornerstone of Louisiana’s coastal master plan.
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority says bids will be opened Nov. 16 for the study of the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion — a controlled opening that would be built through the Mississippi River levee in Plaquemines Parish.
“This is a critical step that gets us closer to re-connecting the Mississippi River to our coastal marshes and estuaries in order to address our coastal land loss crisis,” authority Chairman Johnny Bradberry said in a news release Wednesday.
A study in 2014 estimated that it could build up to 22 square miles of land in Barataria Bay over 20 years. It would do that by moving up to 75,000 cubic feet per second of sediment-bearing river water into Barataria Bay through an opening built through the Mississippi River levee in Plaquemines Parish.
Louisiana has lost nearly 1,900 square miles of coast since the 1930s.
An environmental coalition called Restore the Mississippi Delta says its members are pleased to see action and hope the state will meet its goal of breaking ground on the project by 2020.
“Sediment diversions, which mimic the natural processes that built the land we live on in the first place, have been part of our state’s restoration planning arsenal for decades,” said a statement released Wednesday. “We are nearing the day when sediment diversions, which will build and sustain land for decades to come, become a reality not only for today but for future generations.”
The coalition includes the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.