Plaquemines Parish officials are partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers on a new coastal dredging initiative.
The plan is to use sediment dredged from the Mississippi River shipping channel to create 300 to 600 acres of marsh habitat. This will help create a natural buffer against storm surge.
Colonel Rick Hansen is commander of the New Orleans District office of the Army Corps of Engineers.
“We don’t want to start fighting storm surge at the toe of the levee, on the flood side. We’d much rather see a defensive depth,” he says.
Hansen’s project partner is Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser. Nungesser says it will center around using sediment to create barrier islands and forested ridges.
"An old-timer showed me a ridge that was pumped before Betsy, and told me the only four cows to survive out of 2,000 head from Katrina were up on that ridge. That’s when we went to work on a plan to build ridges and islands."
Nungesser says the total cost of the plan is a projected $100 million over ten years. That amount will be a cost share. 35 percent will come from the parish and 65 percent will come from the federal Louisiana Coastal Area Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Program.
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