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CPRA Receives Two Largest Grants Ever Awarded by RESTORE Council

March 13, 2024

BATON ROUGE, LA – The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is now the recipient of the two largest grants ever awarded by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council). This distinction comes following the announcement of the receipt of a $130 million grant to partially fund the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project and the recently awarded $163 million grant for the Houma Navigation Canal (HNC) Lock Complex project.

The RESTORE Council administers grants with funds from the Clean Water Act civil and administrative penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, allocated through the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act).
“The challenge we face along our deteriorating coast is complex and expensive to solve, but we continue to find new and innovative ways to attack problems. From engineering and designing projects that will safeguard our invaluable natural resources and protect our communities to finding funding streams to move them from concept to construction, the CPRA is working every day for the people of coastal Louisiana” said CPRA Chairman Gordon “Gordy” Dove. “The receipt of these two large grants from the RESTORE Council is a huge win for our coastal program and will allow us to advance two major projects that will benefit Louisiana for generations to come.”

The RESTORE Council originally prioritized the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project for funding in February 2020. The $130 million grant awarded today will partially fund the revitalization of 45,000 acres of the Maurepas Swamp, the state’s second-largest coastal swamp forest, by channeling freshwater, sediment, and nutrients from the Mississippi River into the swamp.

Like many other delta-area ecosystems, the Maurepas Swamp was once nourished by fresh Mississippi River water before levees were constructed to provide flood protection to local communities, disconnecting the river from its delta for the last 100 years.

Construction of the project will also help pay for the nearby West Shore Lake Pontchartrain project (WSLP) through a first-of-its-kind partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The Maurepas project has been approved by USACE as mitigation for impacts of the WSLP project, allowing the state to construct one project for dual purposes, which saves time and money while improving the entire area through an integrated effort.

“Pioneering, transformational projects like the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp and the HNC Lock Complex are imperative to CPRA’s mission. Projects like these, and others highlighted in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan, allow us to continue our efforts to protect ecosystems, industry, and communities through an integrated restoration and protection approach,” said CPRA Executive Director Glenn Ledet, Jr. “I commend the RESTORE Council for recognizing the importance of these crucial projects and awarding these grant funds to propel them forward.”

The HNC Lock Complex is a large-scale hydrologic restoration project that will help limit saltwater intrusion and distribute freshwater within the Terrebonne Basin, allowing for the maintenance of thousands of acres of wetlands, which serve as critical wildlife habitat and nurseries for fisheries.
Once constructed, the HNC Lock Complex will span 110 feet across by 800 feet long and stand 23 ½ feet high on the south end, nearest to the Gulf of Mexico, with sector gates on either side, directly adjacent to the existing 250-foot-wide Bubba Dove barge floodgate.

The two components will be tied together by a braced flood wall across the channel and work in concert to allow larger ships to pass through the canal.