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Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. (Photo: louisianaseafoodnews)

Louisiana governor unveils plan to restore the state´s coast

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

Moving closer to post-oil spill coastal restoration for Louisiana, the state’s governor has unveiled a massive restoration plan for the state’s coast — a lineup of selected projects that promise to protect natural resources and a treasured way of coastal life. “Louisiana Plan” would invest around USD 530 million to restore coastal areas, as well as fisheries and oyster seed grounds.

“It is critical for this work to begin immediately so we can start to reverse the damage done to our natural resources even while we continue to hold BP accountable,” said Governor Bobby Jindal. “We cannot afford to wait. We are taking action.”

The funding would come from a USD 1 billion agreement announced in April 2011 for early restoration of damaged natural resources resulting from the oil spill — and financed by BP through the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

Though it is unknown how much of the USD 1 billion would go to the state of Louisiana, Jindal says he expects the state “to receive a fair share — a disproportionate share — of those dollars, based on the amount of damage that happened to our coast.”

“It is crucial that we begin large-scale early restoration work as soon as possible,” said Secretary Robert Barham of Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). “The state trustees have worked diligently to identify a list of essential projects that will help us begin the process of rebuilding and restoring our coastal resources and Louisiana fisheries.”

Al Sunseri, owner of P&J Oysters and member of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force. (Photo: louisianaseafoodnews)

The state must first submit the list of projects to BP, the Department of Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), then wait for approval. Al Sunseri, owner of P&J Oysters and member of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force, says he hopes approval comes quickly, so oystermen can get back on their feet.

“For more than a year now, the Louisiana oyster community has sought restoration to our estuary begin following the BP oil spill,” he said. “We need to restore our oyster harvest grounds because [oystermen] are ready to get back to work.”

To re-establish oyster seed grounds, a USD 15 million investment would place cultch material on 855 ac throughout coastal Louisiana, and upgrade the existing Sea Grant oyster hatchery to boost the success of cultch placement.

To develop and evaluate restoration strategies for impacted Gulf fish species, funds would go toward a USD 48 million Louisiana Marine Fisheries Enhancement and Science Centre. The fisheries centre will also provide state-of-the-art facilities for rearing fish.

The list of coastal-restoration projects submitted by the governor is long — including a USD 65 million project to repair damage to Chandeleur Islands, a USD 110 million project to restore Shell Island and a USD 75 million project to restore the Barataria Basin Barrier shoreline and habitats.

Source: Louisiana Seafood News

Related articles:

- BP provides an additional USD 1 billion for Gulf restoration projects
-
Restoration of oyster reefs still continue a year after BP oil spill
-
Louisiana gets USD 31.3 mln for restoration and growth

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