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Major Milestone Reached for Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion: Draft Restoration Plan Released

March 5, 2021
Press Release
The plan highlights the Mississippi River’s capability to be an asset through innovation

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) released the following statement after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG) concurrently released its Draft Restoration Plan for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. 

The two documents detail the benefits, impacts, and changes to the environment surrounding the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, as well as the state’s intended monitoring and mitigation measures to offset negative impacts.

Graves’ statement:

“A majority of coastal land loss in Louisiana is tied back to the levees that were built on the lower Mississippi River System. Dating back to the early 1900s, the state of Louisiana used to grow approximately three-quarters of a square mile per year – our state was getting bigger. When the Corps of Engineers built levees on the river in the early 1930s, the wetlands began to starve, and our state began losing an average of 26 square miles per year. Levees prevent the river’s ability to naturally replenish the wetlands with freshwater and sediment to backfill canals, which has compounded the effects of saltwater intrusion, storm surge and other contributors to coastal land loss.  

“You will never have a sustainable footprint of South Louisiana without fundamental changes to how the Corps of Engineers manages the river system and its sediment by reconnecting some of the distribution channels that used to exist and reestablishing access to fresh water, sediment, and nutrients for the adjacent wetlands. This project represents that kind of fundamental change and puts the Basin on a path to a sustainable future. 

“This is about coastal Louisiana’s survival – we are on a trajectory to irreversible elimination of our fisheries, wildlife, habitats, industries, culture and coastal communities without a paradigm shift in our decisions, investments, and management of the Mississippi River System.

“I want to give a shoutout to all who have played a part in getting this project to where it is – from those involved in the early concept planning to today’s permitting process news. It takes all of us, whether a coastal resident, a business owner in the area, or local elected official, to be a part of the process so we can restore our coastal areas through all available resources. 

“If we keep moving in this direction that prioritizes adaptation through innovation, then we can expedite the progress we need to make in restoring our wetlands and coastal areas.”

About the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS):

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), released March 5, 2021, includes an extensive review of the benefits and adverse impacts to the Barataria Basin’s physical, biological, and socioeconomic environment as a result of building and operating the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, projected over the next 50 years. It will also evaluate the environmental impacts if the project is not built.

For more information on Mid-Barataria, click here.