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Prior to 2005, coastal protection and restoration efforts in Louisiana were handled by a number of local and state governmental entities with limited budgets and little or no coordination of efforts.
As a result of the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the federal government agreed to focus attention and money on our plight, but had some requests.
Rather than deal with a myriad of agencies, it wanted one central authority that would represent the state and be accountable for oversight of all activities and funds, and it wanted a coordinated plan of action with clear goals and achievable objectives.
Louisiana responded by creating the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
Since that time the Authority—and the state agency created to implement the projects, programs and policies of the Authority—have evolved into the present-day structure. This came about through the following actions.
In December 2005, meeting in a special session to address recovery issues confronting the state following Katrina and Rita, the Louisiana Legislature restructured the State’s Wetland Conservation and Restoration Authority to form the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).
Act 8 expanded the membership, duties and responsibilities of the board and charged the new Authority with developing and implementing a comprehensive coastal protection plan, including both a Master Plan that would be revised every five years and an annual plan of action and expenditures to be submitted to the legislature every fiscal year for approval.
Act 8 directed the CPRA to consider both “hurricane protection and the protection, conservation, restoration and enhancement of coastal wetlands and barrier shorelines or reefs” and further defined the “coastal area” as the Louisiana Coastal Zone and contiguous areas that are subject to storm or tidal surge.
Act 523 of 2009 created a new state entity, the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration (OCPR), as the implementation and enforcement arm of the CPRA. OCPR essentially consolidated under one roof the efforts of state employees who had been working on coastal activities while housed in a variety of other state agencies. The Act also amended the former law to expand and categorize the creation, powers and duties of the CPRA.
In order to coordinate the legal nomenclature of the CPRA and OCPR to better reflect the true nature of their relationship, Act 604 of 2012 renamed the CPRA as the CPRA Board (the Board) and changed its implementation and enforcement arm from OCPR to CPRA (the Authority). In addition, this Act provided for the transfer of additional protection and restoration responsibilities from various state entities to the Board and the Authority.