Story at a glance
- Louisiana announced the funding of two new projects to restore marshes damaged by the 2016 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Both projects are scheduled to start next year.
After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that released more than 100 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, British Petroleum (BP) will give the state of Louisiana about $215 million for marsh habitat restoration projects.
The Associated Press reports that Louisiana aims to use the money for two projects to rejuvenate more than 4,600 acres of marshland and other habitats in the New Orleans area.
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) reportedly said that work on the projects is scheduled to begin next year. BP had paid $8.8 billion in 2016 as part of The Oil Pollution Act settlement.
Edwards said the latest projects make up the fifth major restoration plan approved this year by trustees for Louisiana’s share of the $8.8 billion.
Chip Kline, the president of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, explained that the two projects will both set records. One will create more than 2,800 acres of marshland near Lake Borgne and Shell Beach in St. Bernard Parish.
“This project will have immediate benefits to habitat for fish and birds by reinforcing the degrading southwestern shoreline of Lake Borgne and Lena Lagoon,” St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis reportedly said. “And we need all the natural marsh buffer we can build to lessen the damaging effects of tidal action and storm surge.”
The second project, located near Spanish Pass and Venice in Plaquemines Parish, will use approximately 16 million cubic yards of dredged sediment materials to create 132 acres of ridge and 1,700 acres of marsh. Kline told the press that this will be the authority's largest project by dredging volume and will cost $100.3 million.
“The Mississippi River created our parish and the many historic ridges of our landscape,” Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine reportedly said. “These features protect against storm surge, reduce saltwater intrusion, provide key habitats and also help retain sediment. The marsh west of Venice has been in need of this level of attention for some time, and I know the people and businesses near Venice will appreciate this massive project and this tremendous investment.”