Public comments on Southwest Coastal Louisiana Plan - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Public comments on Southwest Coastal Louisiana Plan

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

A draft for the Southwest Coastal Louisiana Study was released in December.

It identifies a plan to reduce the risk of storm damage as well as restore coastal ecosystems.

That plan was shared with the public tonight.

As with any major project, the Army Corps of Engineers needs public input.

Tonight, project officials shared details on both the: National Economic Development Plan, and National Ecosystem Restoration Plan.

The public then had an opportunity to ask questions, give comments, or share concerns.

About 30 people attended Tuesday's open house, put on by the Army Corps of Engineers.

"Well the purpose of tonight's meeting is to seek public comments to a draft report that we have out on the street right now being reviewed for the Southwest Coastal Feasibility Study," said Corps Senior Project Manager, Darrel Broussard.

The study looks at flood protection and ecosystem restoration measures for Cameron, Calcasieu and Vermillion Parishes.

Officials tonight shared project details on the $1.5 billion project cost.

"The first part is what we call NED, which is the flood risk management, or flood risk reduction program. That's about $400 million, then we have ecosystem restoration features which covers about $1.1 billion," said Broussard.

While it's a partnership with the state, no funding has been identified.

"The state was happy to be a partner with the corps of engineers in the study. We tried to listen to a lot of the local concerns in all the 3 parishes involved in the study," said CPRA Project Manager, Norwyn Johnson.

Johnson says while they're pleased with the restoration component, "We would like to see more restoration features and more alternatives in there. On the protection side, we in the state would like to see some protection levees in the analysis and in the recommendations and we intend to work with the corps further through the process to see if we can get those included."

The public also shared their input.

"The master plan's got about $3 billion worth of projects in the 3-parish area. I believe the study's got about $1 billion of restoration. So we'd like to see more restoration projects if possible," said CPRA Lafayette Regional Operations Manager, Pat Landrieu.

"With regard to possible removal of houses, please don't do that. We have too few houses left in lower Cameron Parish. We don't need less of them we need more of them to have economic development," shared Cameron Parish resident, Cynthia Sellers.

Another meeting is scheduled in Abbeville on Thursday. Comments are accepted through January 26.

Abbeville meeting information:

When: Thursday, January 9, 2014
6:00 to 6:30 p.m. – Open House
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Presentation and Public Comments

Where: Vermilion Parish Library - Abbeville Branch
405 E. St. Victor Street
Abbeville, LA 70510

Copy of Coastal Study Draft Report: http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/Portals/56/docs/PD/Projects/SWCoastal/SouthwestCoastalDraftIntegratedProgrammaticFeasibilityReportandEIS.pdf

Louisiana Coastal Master Plan: http://www.coastalmasterplan.louisiana.gov/

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