Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Gets Green Light from Army Corps

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NEW ORLEANS  – On Dec. 19, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a record of decision and permits authorizing the advancement of Louisiana’s Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. Proponents say the move will help turn the tide on the state’s land loss crisis.

A spokesperson for Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of national and local conservation organizations, said the diversion project will “build and fortify tens of thousands of acres in the Barataria Basin, which is experiencing one of the highest rates of land loss on the planet. By mimicking natural processes and reconnecting the Mississippi River to its wetlands, the diversion will help protect vulnerable communities from hurricanes and sea level rise, while also ensuring the long-term health of the ecosystem and wildlife in the face of a changing climate and coast.”

Restore the Mississippi River Delta members include the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the  Pontchartrain Conservancy.

“Today marks a pivotal step forward in securing Louisiana’s future,” said Simone Maloz, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta, in a press release. “The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will offset decades of land loss and protect our communities by strengthening our connection to the vital resource which built our coast, the Mississippi River. We know this decision does not come lightly; some of the best and brightest minds have contributed to its progress for decades, analyzing it from every angle. We are grateful to those who worked so diligently for so long to reach this landmark decision.” 

“Finally, we are about to use the most important coastal restoration tool available to us: the mighty Mississippi,” said Kimberly Davis Reyher, executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. “CRCL has been pushing for this moment for nearly 35 years, and we are grateful to see progress on the horizon.”

“The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will build and strengthen essential wetlands that can protect our coastal communities and critical wildlife habitat from stronger storms and sea level rise,” said Amanda Moore, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf program. “Louisiana’s coast continues to change in front of our very eyes. Diversions are an essential part of the solution to our coastal crisis, pairing innovation with the power of the river itself to build a more sustainable future for our coast’s people and wildlife.”

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