Big money coastal projects planned - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Big-money coastal projects planned

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

One thing's for sure: Something needs to be done to save Louisiana's coast.

For residents in Southwest Louisiana, controlling the amount of salt water entering the marshlands is important.

"(A) salinity control structure on the Calcasieu Ship Channel is something that is a priority for us to try to figure out how can we stop that salt water from intruding through that channel and killing a lot of those precious wetlands so, there are actions we can do to slow down the current rate of loss," said Kyle Graham, Deputy Executive Director for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). 

Graham spoke at Thursday night's coastal restoration meeting in Lake Charles. He said after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, CPRA was required to create a master plan to establish a sustainable coast for Louisiana, a 50-year, $50 billion approach to restore the Gulf Coast. 

One of the big projects is planned for Cameron Parish.

"Which is about a $45 million project to restore that shoreline," Graham said. "That bid was awarded this past December. You should start seeing equipment moving there March or April so they're currently in that pre-construction mode where the bid has been set, the company is positioning itself to get the equipment in there and building that."

The project will build up the coastline in Cameron by pumping more sand onto the beaches.

With funding and support from the current administration, legislature, oil spill funding, surplus funds and the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, for the 2014 fiscal year, CPRA is able to plan for 10 projects, design 37 projects, begin construction on 60 projects, cover maintenance and operation costs of 95 constructed projects and costs for monitoring 53 constructed projects.

This totals to more than $620 million for the 2014 fiscal year alone.

"There needs to be actions to keep what we've got and sustain. We've experienced a tremendous amount of land loss and there are activities that could be taken and they could stop or slow down a lot of that land loss," Graham said. "We'll have quite a ride here for the next decade or so of getting a lot of projects on the ground."

Concerned residents can send comments or questions to the Coastal Protections and Restoration Authority (CPRA) until March 23 by clicking here. 

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