The Coastal Protection Authority of Louisiana announced last week its 2012 Coastal Master Plan. The plan, which will take place during the next 50 years, includes 145 projects that will cost around $50 billion. Included are several projects in Vermilion Parish.
Tim Creswell, who works for the Department of Homeland security and attends numerous coastal meetings for the Vermilion Police Jury, said the plan, which is updated every five years, is a step in the right direction.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Creswell said. “I like most of it that I have reviewed. What is different from the previous master plan is that this one has specific dates on it. It gives you some dates, but it is still all tentative because you’ve got to have the money.
“They are some very good projects, but it will take some very good money. The federal government is broke and the state government is broke, so it’s going to be challenging to say the least.”
At the same time, Creswell said he is happy to see the plan in place.
“Definitely,” he said. “It’s a better plan than the one five years ago. It has specific dates so it will be something that we can hold folks’ feet to the fire.
“Again, you can hold feet to the fire, but if there is no money, it will be tough.”
The time frame, which will run from ‘12 to ‘61, will be divided in two parts. Some of the projects from this year to ‘31 will include areas in and around Vermilion Parish.
Projects included are:
• Constructing a levee to protect Abbeville and the vicinity.
• Building an upland levee in Iberia and Vermilion Parishes.
• Restoring an oyster reef in East Vermilion Bay around Dead Cypress Point.
• Restoring an oyster reef in West Vermilion Bay around Marone Point.
• Constructing shoreline protection along the Gulf Intracoastal City in Vermilion Parish to Amelia in St. Mary Parish.
• Restoring 523 acres of historic ridge along Cheniere au Tigre and Bill Ridge.
• Creating 7.325 acres of marsh at East Pecan Island.
• Restoring 404 acres of the historic Pecan Island Ridge.
• Building shoreline protection along Freshwater Bayou, along the Southwest Pass immediately west of Marsh Island and along Schooner Bayou Canal from La. 82 to North Prong.
• Creating hydraulic improvements in the Mermentau Basin at La. 82 and La. 27 south of White Lake, south of Grand Lake and east of Calcasieu Lake.
Projects in areas in and around St. Mary Parish will be included from ‘32 to ‘61.
“The project will work hand in hand with southwest studies,” Creswell said of an aspect he likes around the master plan. “That is the cooperative effort between the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for hurricane protection and marsh creation for southwest Louisiana. I participate in the Southwest studies meetings and we have always tried to keep those two efforts parallel. So far that is happening.”
That plan is good in that it brings attention to the issues affecting the coast, according to Creswell.
“I don’t think the average person is concerned with the issue,” Creswell said. “If this plan would have been presented the day after (Hurricane) Rita or the day after (Hurricane) Ike, I think it would be a bigger issue. Memories are short.
“It will be difficult to gather some resources together to get this done. Unfortunately it may take another hurricane.”
Creswell reiterated that the plan is good for the simple fact that it exists.
“I’m encouraged,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”