Photo: Barataria Bay AL Center for Ecological Services
The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group is seeking public input on a draft restoration plan proposing an investment of up to $2 billion in the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project. If approved, the large-scale project would reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin. The project will allow the controlled release of freshwater, nutrients and sediment back into the basin to rebuild wetlands and contribute to the broader restoration of its ecosystem.
The Draft Phase II Restoration Plan #3.2 is available for public comment for 60 days through May 4, 2021, with virtual public meetings to present the plan and environmental impact statement April 6, 7, and 8, 2021. The plan evaluates six design alternatives for the diversion project and identifies one of them as preferred.
Concurrent with release of the draft restoration plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing a draft environmental impact statement, also available for public comment for 60 days. The environmental impact statement and information on how to submit comments are on the Army Corps’ website.
Louisiana and the Barataria Basin are in the midst of a land loss crisis. The Basin has lost more than 276,000 acres of land since the 1930s. Wetlands in the Basin were the most heavily impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which accelerated a severe land loss trend threatening Louisiana’s estuaries. The oil spill and response activities significantly accelerated the rate of wetland loss in the area.
The project would restore and sustain a significant amount of wetland habitat—tens of thousands of acres—and the resources that depend on them, over the next several decades. At peak capacity, the proposed preferred alternative would transport up to 75,000 cubic feet per second of freshwater and its sediment and nutrients—harnessing nature through engineering to re-establish the natural process that originally built Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.
Public comments will be accepted for 60 days through May 4. We encourage you to review and comment on the draft plan by submitting comments online, by mail, or during virtual public meetings listed below.
We are co-hosting virtual public meetings with the Army Corps of Engineers on April 6 - 8, 2021. We will present information on the draft plan, and the Army Corps will present on the draft environmental impact statement.
Access to all draft documents and additional public webinar information are posted on the LA Trustee Implementation Group’s web page.