Gulf of Mexico
A barge that was int entionally sunk as a barrier to potential flooding is seen in Bayou Chene near Morgan City, La., in the Atchafalaya Basin in this June 10, 2011, file photo. Gerald Herbert | AP file photo

State coastal protection authority pledges $80 million for floodgate in St. Mary Parish

The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is pledging $80 million to build a permanent floodgate across Bayou Chene in St. Mary Parish.

Funding would come from federal Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act revenue, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday. GOMESA allows Gulf Coast states to share in revenue from oil and gas production in the Gulf.

In 2011 and 2016, the St. Mary Levee District responded to high water on the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers by building temporary flood control structures to protect parts of St. Mary, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Martin, Assumption and Iberville Parishes. The structure prevented three feet of water from flooding these parishes, officials say.

CPRA incorporated the project into both the 2012 and 2017 Coastal Master Plans. The agency put $5 million toward the engineering and design and has now identified an additional $75 million from GOMESA for construction.

The floodgate to be built on Bayou Chene, south of Avoca Island, can be closed when high water threatens, providing a permanent solution to protect citizens and property in the parish, CPRA Chairman Chip Kline said.

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