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  • The Next 50 Years: Transition for Coastal Communities | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Job openings Latest News Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Whites Ditch Mardi Gras Pass Media Resources Meetings Events Mississippi River Gulf Outlet NOAA People Faces of the Delta Profiles in Resilience Staff Profiles Tributes Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife The Next 50 Years Transition for Coastal Communities September 21 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in Coastal Master Plan series Community Resiliency People By Maura Wood National Wildlife Federation and Brian Jackson Environmental Defense Fund For decades the people of southern Louisiana have gradually struggled with the collapse of the Mississippi River Delta Land that once provided shelter from hurricanes space for agriculture a basis for livelihoods and a source for recreation has sometimes in one generation disappeared This slow motion crisis has forced communities and economies along Louisiana s coast to adapt to collapse This cemetery in Leeville La is disappearing under water because of coastal land loss Credit Ben Weber National Wildlife Federation Large scale restoration of the delta provides new hope that the system can again become sustainable But turning coastal Louisiana around from a system losing land to one rebuilding it will require transition and adaptation for coastal residents and communities Change is inevitable but the direction of that change will shift dramatically from the loss that communities have been adapting to for generations to a more dynamic and sustainable system that is gaining land Louisiana s 2012 Coastal Master Plan sets out bold action for restoration and importantly highlights the need for providing for transitions i e addressing potential changes that stakeholders may face as projects are implemented and acknowledging the grief and adjustment imposed by existing land loss The master plan uses many methods of restoration asserting that The action we need requires changing the landscape not just tweaking what we already have Projects such as marsh creation sediment diversions ridge restoration oyster barrier reefs and hydrologic restoration have been chosen for their ability to build land and sustain the coast over the long term At the same time they may also be accompanied by short or long term changes in water elevation and salinity regimes as diversions are operated changes in access as land is built and hydrology is restored shifts in habitats in response to land building and other social cultural and economic changes as a result of physical changes to the landscape The plan stresses that If we don t take large scale action land loss and flooding will grow so severe that ours will be the last generation that benefits from Louisiana s working coast The master plan commits to helping communities and user groups adapt to these changes three ways by developing a planning framework for adapting to change by involving stakeholders in project design to minimize impacts and by identifying tools that may assist communities businesses and individuals in

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/09/21/the-next-50-years-transition-for-coastal-communities/ (2016-05-01)
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  • The Next 50 Years: Implementation of Coastal Master Plan | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    projects August 22 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan BP Oil Disaster Clean Water Act Coastal Master Plan series Community Resiliency Diversions Hurricanes Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA Restoration Projects RESTORE Act By David Muth Louisiana State Director National Wildlife Federation Now that Louisiana s 2012 Coastal Master Plan is law it is critical that the state s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA moves the process forward as quickly as possible While the plan lays out a series of projects for over its fifty year timeframe the actual sequence of projects has not yet been completely planned The sooner CPRA can finalize this project list and timeline the sooner vital construction and restoration can begin Several things are necessary for creating that list of projects First is to carry out continued modeling to measure how projects and suites of projects will interact with one another One example is looking at how a mid Barataria 50 000 cubic feet per second cfs sediment diversion will interact with marsh creation projects in the middle Barataria Basin and with a ring levee and community resiliency measures for the nearby town of Lafitte 2012 Coastal Master Plan projects Source CPRA Second is to work out how funding streams can be most effectively sequenced to begin building out the projects identified in the list This is especially critical with Clean Water Act penalty funding to be distributed under the RESTORE Act and the separate Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA process These funding sources resulting from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill could become available at almost any time over the next few years Third is to move quickly to implement nonstructural hurricane risk reduction measures Nonstructural storm protection measures are those that build community resiliency by means other than structural methods such as levees floodwalls and floodgates They include raising structures and homes up out of danger hardening infrastructure and assisting with voluntary relocation Unfortunately the suite of existing nonstructural programs is reactive invoked after but not before a disaster That has to be changed moving forward Another challenge concerns the Chenier Plain in southwest Louisiana The key to long term restoration in that area is to find ways to modify the hydrology of the area s navigation system to prevent the continued influx of sea water into formerly freshwater marshes Simple on paper tricky in practice At an implementation level two important capabilities need to be developed for the master plan to move forward One is to demonstrate the feasibility of long distance pipeline sediment delivery Much of the Coastal Master Plan depends upon finding a viable way to move vast volumes of sediment many tens of miles through dredge pipes We have a great deal of experience with relatively smaller scale projects for both marsh creation and barrier island restoration but the master plan proposes projects that will be carried out on a much larger scale moving material over much greater distances than ever before While there seems

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/08/22/the-next-50-years-implementation-of-coastal-master-plan-projects/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Conservation Groups Commend Louisiana Legislature for Approving State’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Conservation Groups Commend Louisiana Legislature for Approving State s 2012 Coastal Master Plan May 22 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Plan lays out vision for protecting and restoring Louisiana s coastal resources and communities FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Baton Rouge LA May 22 2012 Local and national conservation groups praised the state Legislature today for unanimously approving the 2012 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan a 50 year blueprint for restoring Louisiana s rapidly disappearing coastal wetlands and protecting the state s natural resources and communities The groups also commended the state s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for drafting the plan to reflect a comprehensive science based vision that realistically addresses the range of possibilities for restoring and protecting the coast The 2012 Coastal Master Plan illustrates the type of bold decisive action needed to build a more secure future for coastal Louisiana s communities industries and wildlife said a joint statement by Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Environmental Defense Fund Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation We must restore the Mississippi River s ability to build and sustain our wetlands and barrier islands which provide us with critical natural resources and a first line of defense against hurricanes As we applaud the state Legislature for its leadership and commitment to restoration we must also now begin the difficult task of funding critical elements of the plan the groups continued The 50 billion necessary to achieve the state s vision of restoration is far from guaranteed but it is vital for securing our future Now more than ever Louisiana is truly unified in addressing the coastal issues moving forward Now it is time for

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/05/22/conservation-groups-commend-louisiana-legislature-for-approving-state%E2%80%99s-2012-coastal-master-plan/ (2016-05-01)
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  • The Next 50 Years: Nonstructural storm protection | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    of the Delta Profiles in Resilience Staff Profiles Tributes Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife The Next 50 Years Nonstructural storm protection July 2 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Master Plan series Community Resiliency The Netherlands By Brian Jackson Associate Director Stakeholder Engagement Environmental Defense Fund Last month the Louisiana Legislature passed the 2012 Coastal Master Plan capping off years of public engagement and analysis The 50 year plan lays out a bold path of projects and programs to restore the environment and protect the people economies and environment of the Mississippi River Delta The total cost of the plan is 50 billion of which 10 2 billion is dedicated to nonstructural risk reduction measures So what is nonstructural protection anyways Why would the master plan allocate one out of every five dollars for nonstructural approaches And what does it mean for Louisiana s coastal communities The term nonstructural originated because nonstructural storm protection is considered the alternative to traditional structural flood protection i e levees Structural measures control water and keep it out or away from an area while nonstructural measures accommodate water and make buildings and infrastructure more adaptable and resilient to water Nonstructural approaches have been cleverly named Living with Water by colleagues at home such as Waggonner Ball Architects in New Orleans and abroad through the Dutch Dialogues workshops in the Netherlands Nonstructural measures include a wide array of activities including evacuation home elevation flood proofing of buildings flood insurance planning and zoning and storm proofing critical public facilities Nonstructural storm protection measures can be undertaken quickly in fact Louisiana has already implemented many of these measures through The Road Home program the Coastal Land Use Toolkit developed by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Center for Planning Excellence and other flood mitigation programs Whether behind already existing levee protection or down on the bayou nonstructural measures are cost effective for reducing flood risk to homes and businesses Every dollar spent on disaster mitigation saves four dollars in recovery costs This is why the master plan relies so heavily on nonstructural protection Elevated house Credit TRAC Terrebonne Readiness Assistance Coalition Additionally nonstructural measures don t alter natural hydrology meaning they can work in synergy with large scale restoration efforts such as river diversions Nonstructural measures also work in places where levee protection may already exist where levees may not be feasible and where federal appropriations or permitting issues may exist The Coastal Master Plan s nonstructural program is based on an analysis of 116 project areas throughout coastal Louisiana Each area was analyzed for flood risk building characteristics and adoption of risk reduction measures The results of this study were used to determine the coast wide need for risk reduction the 10 2 billion nonstructural budget and a suite

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/07/02/the-next-50-years-nonstructural-storm-protection/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Wonders in the Wax Lake Delta | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries While many of us were locals there were plenty of explorers from Washington D C some of whom had never been in a Louisiana marsh before It was only fitting then that their first experience should begin with a short trip through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway the shipping highway that unites the entire Louisiana coast and the path to our destination the Wax Lake Outlet Our party traveled in five boats on calm waters past barges and fishermen the usual signs of activity on the Intracoastal I found myself thinking ahead to what I would find in the Delta almost missing something truly extraordinary happening on the bank to my right Look it s an eagle said one of my boat companions Sure enough a sight that had eluded me for many years appeared in the distance A juvenile bald eagle in flight came in for a landing on the bank As I captured his slow descent with my camera a mature bald eagle emerged from the irises nearby I was stunned I had never seen a bald eagle in the wild before and within a span of seconds I had seen two It was an experience that reminded me that there never really is anything routine about the Louisiana marsh It s a unique wonder each time you visit Before long we reached the intersection with the Wax Lake Outlet turning south toward Atchafalaya Bay The outlet was created in 1942 by the U S Army Corps of Engineers to divert the waters of the Atchafalaya River from possibly flooding Morgan City The outlet itself is a lot like the Intracoastal Waterway deep straight and wide But the interesting part of what s happening in the Wax Lake Outlet is where it ends in Atchafalaya Bay That s what everyone on this trip was there to see That s where we encountered the Wax Lake Delta a rapidly building land mass an unforeseen benefit of diverting the Atchafalaya River The delta forming at the bottom of the outlet wasn t noticed until the early 1970 s As it happened decades of sand and fine silt moving from the Atchafalaya River into the Wax Lake Outlet began to accumulate at the outlet s mouth Before long channelization occurred and lobes of land began to arise where no land had been before Louisiana is not losing land in this section of the coast It is building land and building it quickly geologically speaking of course For this reason the Wax Lake Delta serves as one of the best hopes that coastal researchers have for making the case that river diversions work and that these diversions can be made elsewhere along the coast rebuilding and restoring coastal wetlands When our squadron of boats reached one of the Delta s landmasses the proof was right there for all to see New land rising from the Gulf of Mexico Covered in lotus plants gone to seed

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2011/10/19/wonders-in-the-wax-lake-delta/ (2016-05-01)
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  • The Next 50 Years: Climate change and the Coastal Master Plan: “Hope for the best but plan for the worst” | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife The Next 50 Years Climate change and the Coastal Master Plan Hope for the best but plan for the worst July 19 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Master Plan series Diversions Hurricanes Science By Dr Doug Meffert Executive Director Audubon Louisiana Louisiana s 2012 Coastal Master Plan takes a realistic and critical examination of the effects of climate change impacts on the future of coastal Louisiana both in terms of prioritization of restoration projects as well as risk reduction In its less optimistic scenario the master plan estimates 0 45 meters of sea level rise over the next fifty years This is in addition to between zero and 25 millimeters per year of land subsidence with the fragile deltaic plain having the highest rates The resultant combination of sea level rise and subsidence predicts that relative sea level rise will be more than one meter during the next century in some areas of the Mississippi River Delta Additionally this scenario anticipates a 20 percent increase in storm intensity and a 2 5 percent increase in storm frequency for Category 1 hurricanes and greater As climate change brings more severe storms and rising seas to Louisiana s coast it is important to incorporate these predictions into the formulation of the Coastal Master Plan Predicted land change over the next 50 years Source Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana CPRA This less optimistic scenario predicts a very different and more vulnerable coast than we had in the 20 th century The master plan uses this scenario for its predictions for future flooding from a 100 year event and for prioritization of restoration projects since what is labeled as less optimistic in the report

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/07/19/the-next-50-years-climate-change-and-the-coastal-master-plan-hope-for-the-best-but-plan-for-the-worst/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Coastal restoration as a climate change adaptation strategy | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    hurricanes The area is additionally plagued by human induced environmental degradation that has occurred over the past 200 300 years The region has lost 1 900 square miles of land since the 1930s and is losing the wetland areas that are crucial to the region s ecosystem function economy and character Predicted land change along the Louisiana coast over the next 50 years if we do nothing more than we have done to date Red indicates areas likely to be lost and green indicates areas of new land This map is based on assumptions about increases in sea level rise subsidence and other factors Estimate based on less optimistic scenario of future coastal conditions Map provided courtesy of the Louisiana s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority The numerous threats to the region set up a potential dilemma of competing interests Should resources and attention be focused on immediate restoration or longer term climate change adaptation Fortunately no such choice has to be made Climate change adaptation and coastal restoration do not constitute a zero sum game Restoration of coastal Louisiana reduces the vulnerability to the major risks posed by climate change and therefore can be seen as a climate change adaptation strategy The global rise in mean sea level termed eustatic sea level rise is further complicated in the Mississippi River Delta region by subsidence sinking land The sum of the two is referred to as relative sea level rise The Gulf of Mexico has one of the highest rates of subsidence in the nation due to sediment compaction and the extraction of groundwater oil and natural gas 2 These encroaching sea levels increase mean water levels in boundary regions accelerate coastal erosion and alter the salinity levels of sensitive coastal habitat systems These factors have contributed to the high rate of land loss in the region Restoration of the deltaic system can help stabilize shorelines and reduce the associated risks with rising sea levels Deltas are formed by the constant inflow of sediment from rivers However the Mississippi River Delta has been cut off from this natural process through the construction of extensive levee systems for navigation and flood protection Through planned sediment diversions the natural deltaic process can be restored and help increase the resiliency of coastal areas This will combat the effects of both eustatic sea level rise and subsidence The projected increase in the intensity of precipitation events due to global climate change will exacerbate flood risk in the Mississippi River Delta region Research has shown that coastal wetlands can greatly reduce flooding and storm damage A one acre area of wetland can store up to one million gallons of water 3 providing a significant buffer between flood waters and populated areas In addition wetland vegetation acts as a natural flood barrier by reducing the speed of flood waters Healthy wetlands therefore have the potential to reduce both the volume and speed of floodwaters that reach surrounding areas Restoration efforts seek to improve the condition of

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/06/12/coastal-restoration-as-a-climate-change-adaptation-strategy/ (2016-05-01)
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  • The Next 50 Years: Funding features for the master plan | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    the uncertainties and complexities of funding and creating a sustainable coastal Louisiana ecosystem To reverse generations of massive and ongoing land loss encroaching sea level rise and a decade of natural and manmade disasters the funding challenge must be met head on The state acknowledges the need to quickly begin the large scale work laid out in the plan At the same time project implementation depends on funding from a myriad of sources These projects will also be implemented by various actors some projects by Louisiana s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA others by local or federal partners Progress will be tracked through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Annual Plan which will identify specific projects schedules and funding streams So now that the plan is passed does the funding exist to implement the plan In recent years and in brighter economic times the Louisiana Legislature authorized a generous allocation of state surplus dollars a total of 790 million between 2007 and 2009 to accelerate implementation of priority projects for the coast Additionally the Coastal Impact Assistance Program CIAP established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 provided nearly 500 million to the state of Louisiana and its coastal parishes the bulk of which was obligated and spent on critical protection and restoration projects in fiscal years 2007 2010 These dollars accompanied by the long standing Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act CWPPRA dollars approximately 80 million per year to which the state matches 15 the Louisiana Coastal Area Program LCA dollars and related federal funds through the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 WRDA are the foundation upon which the coastal program has been funded to date On the horizon are revenues from the sale of mineral leases and royalty revenue from oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico that have been dedicated to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Trust fund through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Securities Act of 2006 GOMESA Though funding from this program has trickled through in modest increments since 2007 larger revenue streams from these royalties will be available in 2017 when Phase II of that program begins Estimates of funding for Louisiana from this source have ranged up to 500 million annually on the high end but the true figures are nearly impossible to pin down because they are tied to new leasing and drilling activities in the gulf As the state continues to ramp up its coastal efforts bringing more and larger projects to construction more money is required in the short term to fill the gap between now and 2017 when the GOMESA funding is realized Some significant recent commitments to funding have come in the form of post Deepwater Horizon oil spill commitments BP announced an historic Early Restoration Framework Agreement on April 21 2011 committing an unprecedented 1 billion for early restoration projects as a jump start for the Natural Resources Damage Assessment NRDA process Rather than waiting for up to a decade or more

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/07/17/the-next-50-years-funding-features-for-the-louisiana-coastal-master-plan/ (2016-05-01)
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