$234M oil spill settlement will provide five wetlands restoration projects


Louisiana is getting $234.6 million in BP oil spill settlement money for five wetlands restoration projects in three parishes.

In an announcement last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards said the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, which administers the funds resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement, has approved $234.6 million for restoration projects that will create and restore wetlands in Plaquemines and Terrebonne Parishes. In all, the funding will be used for the engineering, design, and construction of five coastal restoration projects.

The allocations for Terrebonne, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes bring the state’s total in such restoration grants to more than $900 million this year, said Chip Kline, chairman of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

The biggest chunk is $157 million to restore, maintain and monitor up to 1,430 acres (580 hectares) of brackish and saline marsh and 80 acres (32 hectares) of earthen ridge on the eastern side of Bayou Terrebonne south of Chauvin.

The next-biggest is $65 million in construction funding to turn up to 624 acres (252 hectares) of open water to marsh near Bayou Grand Cheniere in Plaquemines Parish, and to create an earthen ridge about 2.3 miles long next to Jefferson Canal.

“Yet again, Louisiana is showing itself to be a good steward of oil spill resources by implementing large-scale projects that will offer real benefits to the sustainability of the people and ecosystem of our state,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in the news release.

He said the projects “further our ongoing efforts to restore the natural resource damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and will also provide a measure of protection as we seek to restore the natural ecosystem buffer we once had.”

The state is getting more than $6.5 million for engineering and design to enlarge two eroded islands where seabirds and shorebirds nest.

About $3.1 million is going toward increasing a 32-acre island in the Terrebonne Houma Navigation Channel to about 50 acres.

Another $3.5 million will go to plans for Isle au Pitre, a St. Bernard Parish island at the northeastern tip of Louisiana’s marshes and about 9 miles from Mississippi.

The remaining $6 million is for engineering and design of the Bird’s Foot Delta Hydrologic Restoration project in Plaquemines Parish. It’s intended to restore the hydrology in the Mississippi River Bird’s Foot Delta by dredging portions of Pass-a-Loutre, South Pass, and/or Southeast Pass to reconnect the river with the delta’s marshes.

Read the full announcement.