Louisiana Trustees Extend Comment Period on Proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion

Coastal marsh in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group is adding 30 days to the comment period on the draft restoration plan for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project released March 5. If approved, the large-scale project would reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin. The project would allow the controlled release of freshwater, nutrients and sediment back into the basin to rebuild wetlands and contribute to the broader restoration of its ecosystem. The plan evaluates six design alternatives for the diversion project and identifies one of them as preferred.

The Draft Phase II Restoration Plan #3.2 (PDF, 152 pages) was initially available for public comment for 60 days from March 5, 2021 to May 4, 2021.  With the extension, the comment period will now close on June 3, 2021.

Concurrent with the draft restoration plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is extending the comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for an additional 30 days to close on June 3, 2021. The environmental impact statement and information on how to submit comments are on the Army Corps of Engineers’ website.

Public Comment Period and Virtual Public Meetings

Public comments are being accepted for 90 days through June 3, 2021. We encourage you to review and comment on the draft plan by submitting comments online, by mail, or during virtual public meetings listed below.

We co-hosted three virtual public meetings with the Army Corps of Engineers on April 6 - 8, 2021. Recordings of the meetings can be found on the Army Corps of Engineers website.

Virtual Community Conversations

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, CPRA, and the Environmental Law Institute have partnered to host dialogues—facilitated by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta—to provide information on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. These virtual meetings  are providing the public with  informal opportunities to learn and ask questions about the project and the permitting process.  Recordings of the meetings can be found on the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority website.

Update: A fourth community conversation, with the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, CPRA, the Environmental Law Institute, and Restore the Mississippi River Delta is scheduled for May 25, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. CT: Register or attend at the date and time here.

Additional Background Information and Links

Recognizing the loss of marsh productivity caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the importance of Louisiana’s marshes to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, the historic 2016 Natural Resource Damages settlement allocated almost half of the funding, $4 billion, to restoring Louisiana’s coastal and nearshore habitats.

In 2017, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group released a draft and in 2018 approved a final strategic restoration plan prioritizing large-scale sediment diversion, marsh creation, and ridge restoration techniques and approaches for the Barataria Basin. The strategic plan included the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion and other projects for evaluation and planning. 

More Information and Plan Documents

We’ll send emails out to Gulf Spill Restoration subscribers when any of this information is updated. If you’re not signed up, please do that today (via NOAA Fisheries).