Bourriaque: $1 in coastal protection saves $7 in future restoration

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 7:27 PM CDT
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Cameron Parish, LA (KPLC) - The state has committed to the largest single investment in coastal projects in Louisiana’s history. And at a time when so many people are trying to build back and restore property, some wonder if it’s too late for protection.

But experts say if not for coastal protection, damage to northern areas such as Bell City and Lacassine would be far more severe.

In Cameron Parish, they are still recovering from the hurricanes of 2020. Yet officials say if not for a coastal project completed just three months before Hurricane Laura, it could have been worse. Scooter Trosclair at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge specializes in managing coastal wetlands.

He says thanks to a project known as ME-18, land south of the refuge is still there, beyond what the eye can see.

“Within a short period of time the project actually restored land that was already lost. You could walk from the shoreline and touch a rock within six months of the construction. It’s a very beneficial project but it’s also being used as a model to extend this type of protection along many different areas along the coast, especially in Cameron Parish,” Trosclair said.

Trosclair says it’s important since, during a hurricane, our coastline is our first line of defense.

State Rep. Ryan Bourriaque says pay now or pay more later.

“Protection comes first, not the restoration. So, the more we spend now, put inflation and all that aside, for every dollar we don’t spend today to protect the shorelines, protect the marshes, you’re going to spend seven more dollars trying to recover later,” he said.

Trosclair says shoreline protection is essential to the future.

“We lose that coastline or it keeps eroding back, those storms are going to be stronger and stronger further north,” Trosclair said.

Trosclair said the one thing that can transform a hurricane into a tropical storm is land. He said the more land we have, the safer people inland will be.

For more information visit the Coastal Protection Restoration Authority.

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