LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Southwest Louisiana may finally be getting the money needed for coastal restoration.
Senator Dan 'Blade' Morrish spoke about this past legislative session Tuesday at the Kiwanis Club of Lake Charles meeting.
He said that a board regarding coastal restoration, first developed two years ago, is finally going into action for the entire southwest Louisiana region. It's the Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority, a lengthy name for a small board that could have a huge impact. The "levee board" consists of three representatives from Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermillion Parish.
"I think it can offer to both on a national stage and a state stage what is the most important restoration and protection projects for southwest Louisiana, that will give us the biggest bang for our buck, that will save our marsh, that will save our coast, and give us the protection when hurricanes come," said Senator Morrish.
The board will meet for the first time next Thursday to decide what projects need to be completed to help save the coast in southwest Louisiana. Those projects are based on the master plan accepted by the legislature this year.
"Those are huge, huge projects that are going to actually do a lot to save and protect the coast of Louisiana from future hurricanes, from subsidence, from all of the issues that we have with losing land in Louisiana," said Senator Morrish.
But what does that mean for southwest Louisiana?
"I think in southwest Louisiana, we're going to get a) our fair share of the money that we haven't been getting in the past, and we're going to have projects that are vetted both scientifically and by the community that we think are going to give us the best protection as we move forward," said Senator Morrish.
These projects will be done in a large scale fashion.
"Those projects for instance are going to be a better use of the Cheniers in Cameron Parish, better armoring of the ship channel where water comes directly into Calcasieu parish, and restoration of the marshes through beneficial use of judging of the ship channel," said Senator Morrish.
The Lake Charles levee was originally part of the master plan, but after the public's reaction, it was taken away.
"The CPRA, Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority, went out to every community in Louisiana that was affected; had public input, went back, redesigned the plan," said Senator Morrish. "It's based on science and on public input."
We also asked Morrish about his recent decision change regarding the oyster season. He says permits will available to anyone and everyone, until the number of permits run out. He says wildlife and fisheries can at any time end the season if they feel the oysters are scarce.