Gulf of Mexico
A design image shows the proposed Mid-Barataria sediment diversion in Plaquemines Parish.

Mid-Barataria diversion -- most expensive coastal restoration project ever attempted -- delayed several months

The most expensive coastal restoration project ever attempted in Louisiana will be delayed several months due to a series of permitting, design and engineering setbacks.

On Wednesday (Mar. 20), the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority announced the $1.3 billion Mid-Barataria sediment diversionwill likely not be completed until sometime in 2021. The CPRA had planned to finish the project in November 2020.

The diversion is a cornerstone of the state’s $50 billion, 50-year Coastal Master Plan. Slated for the Myrtle Grove area of Plaquemines Parish, the diversion would allow a regulated flow of Mississippi River sediment-rich water through the west bank levee and into the Barataria Basin. The levee cuts the basin off from the river, starving it of sediment and nutrients. Since 1985, the basin has lost about 3,000 acres per year. The CPRA believes the diversion will revive wetlands and build new land in the basin’s increasingly wide expanses of open water.

The state is planning a similar project, the Mid-Breton sediment diversion, near Wills Point in Plaquemines for $800,000.

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