BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The fight to protect our state’s coastline is far from over, but leaders say Louisiana is now on the winning side of the battle.
“We are at a point in time where we are now beginning to win the battle,” stated Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Chip Kline.
He said this win was largely because of over $1 billion dollars of state money being invested into erosion and flood control.
“As we have seen following so many recent hurricanes, we have significantly reduced the risk for the citizens of the state,” he said.
On top of the state’s investments, money from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and settlement from the BP Oil Spill are driving these projects.
“I like to think that many of our risk reduction projects are proactive in nature because we’re not waiting on the next hurricane, and we’re not waiting on the federal government to show up that we’re spending state dollars. You see local municipalities and local parishes making proactive investments,” Kline explained.
The agency is working on several projects. One is the Comite River Diversion plan which will redirect floodwaters to the Mississippi River. Another project, the Bayou Chene Floodgate, is set to be complete by the end of April.
“All we’re doing is hitting reset. We’re going to push these entities, these industries, out a little further where they were harvesting oysters and catching brown shrimp while they were 30 years ago. Because if we don’t do that, the estuary is going to continue to collapse. Our ecosystems continue to fail. Our coast is going to continue to disappear,” said Kline.
Nearly 150 projects are being implemented from the $1.3 billion dollars. More projects mean more jobs.
“We’re going to be working with our technical and community colleges in southeast Louisiana so that we can ensure that those individuals coming out of those technical and community college can be fed into some of these jobs that were created,” he said.
Kline said the state is just catching up to where it needs to be.
State leaders said the long-term plan to save Louisiana’s coastline and prevent flooding is still about $30 billion short of the goal.