The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has initiated developing the Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #3.1: Barataria Basin Marsh Creation (Draft Restoration Plan #3.1). This restoration plan will tier from the Strategic Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for Barataria Basin, Louisiana (Barataria Basin Strategic Restoration Plan), pursuant to the Deepwater Horizon Trustees Programmatic Restoration Plan.
The Trustees initially began this restoration planning effort in April 2017 with the announcement of the intent to draft the Barataria Basin Strategic Restoration Plan. In that plan, we analyzed four strategic alternatives “to restore ecosystem-level injuries in the Gulf of Mexico through restoration of critical wetlands, coastal and nearshore habitat resources and services in the Barataria Basin.” Marsh creation and ridge restoration plus large-scale sediment diversion was selected as the strategic alternative best meeting the purpose and need for restoration in the Barataria Basin. In Draft Restoration Plan #3.1, we will consider one or more project alternatives consistent with the large-scale marsh creation approach evaluated in the Barataria Basin Strategic Restoration Plan.
Consistent with the Oil Pollution Act, project alternatives will be evaluated that restore, rehabilitate, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the injured wetland, coastal and nearshore habitat resources and services and compensate for interim losses of those resources from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and environmental impacts of the project alternatives will be analyzed as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. The reasonable range of project alternatives evaluated in the Draft Restoration Plan #3.1 will also be consistent with the goals and objectives of Louisiana’s 2017 Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
We expect to release the Draft Restoration Plan #3.1 in the first half of 2019. The public will be given the opportunity to review and provide input on the proposed plan. After the public comment period ends, we will review and consider all relevant comments and revise the plan as appropriate before releasing a final restoration plan.