Louisiana to rebuild, improve hurricane protection features on Grand Isle

Governor Bobby Jindal announced an agreement between the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the town of Grand Isle and the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a $50 million project to rebuild and improve crucial hurricane protection on Grand Isle that was damaged by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike...

HARAHAN, LA, Apr. 2, 2009 -- Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced an agreement between the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the town of Grand Isle and the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a $50 million project to rebuild and improve crucial hurricane protection on Grand Isle that was damaged by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. The project will also include restoring some of the beach areas that were destroyed by storms. Governor Jindal said the project -- officially known as the Grand Isle & Vicinity project -- will include building a storm barrier on the south side of the island to improve its resiliency and reduce the impact of storm surge to Grand Isle.

Governor Jindal said, "Much of Grand Isle's protection from hurricanes has been hammered for years and was severely dwindled following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike -- leaving the island with very little protection from future storms.

"Grand Isle is one of the most popular recreation areas in our state and it's vital to our recreational and commercial fishing and oil industries. Just like the rest of our coastal communities, the people of Grand Isle deserve to have these critical hurricane protection measures in place."

The Governor said the work approved today includes the repair and rehabilitation of beach dunes and levees consisting of the placement of what is known as a "sand filled core" -- or commonly called a "levee burrito." Additionally, Governor Jindal said work will also include beach renourishment, which means sand will be pumped on the water side of the levee to provide a stronger buffer against storm surges.

Governor Jindal said construction is scheduled to begin in early May and hurricane protection improvements will be in place by this hurricane season. After the project is completed, the Governor said Grand Isle will have 50-year hurricane protection.

The Army Corps of Engineers will cover 100 percent of the construction costs and the town of Grand Isle is facilitating the real estate access for this project. The CPRA completed protective measures on the eastern end of the island last year and the state will repair and improve breakwaters protecting Grand Isle State Park later this year.

Specifically, two agreements were signed to allow for the completion of this project. The first is a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Town of Grand Isle which says both parties will work together on the project.

The second agreement involves the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers, which designates the state as the Corps' partner in the project. Under the agreements signed today, the town of Grand Isle and Grand Isle Levee District will be responsible for the long-term operations and maintenance of the beach protection.

CPRA Chairman Garret Graves said, "This project has much history. The signing of these agreements marks the end to a stalemate of nearly 15 years. The outcome resulting from today's actions is a major milestone for the citizens of Grand Isle. Protection will be advanced and that is exactly what the people of Grand Isle deserve. Mayor Carmardelle's perseverance, the project team's hard work and Corps' leadership are to be commended."

Additionally, Governor Jindal highlighted three coastal restoration projects in the greater Grand Isle area to rebuild beaches and marshes that will provide additional protection to coastal communities.

First, the Governor said $36 million of state and federal money is being used to rebuild beach and marsh using dredged material near Pass Chaland in Plaquemines Parish. Specifically, he said approximately 190 acres of marsh and around 180 acres of beach are being created using dredged materials from the Gulf. The project is scheduled for completion early this summer.

Secondly, Governor Jindal highlighted a $31 million project at East Grand Terre Island that will include marsh and beach nourishment. The project is being paid for with $25 million in state surplus and state Coastal Impact Assistance Plan (CIAP) funds and Plaquemines Parish is contributing $6 million from parish CIAP funds. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

Third and finally, the Governor said the state is also advancing a large-scale restoration project on Caminada Headlands. Governor Jindal said more than $75 million has been committed by the state thus far. Project design will begin this spring and construction is expected to begin next year.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan.

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