Coastal restoration feasibility study nears finish line

By By John Guidroz / American Press

A feasibility study that is designed to protect and restore Southwest Louisiana’s coastline could be finished next year, nearly

three years past its originally anticipated deadline, a state coastal official said Tuesday.

Norwyn Johnson, project manager of the

Southwest Louisiana Coastal Feasibility Study, said at a meeting of the

Louisiana Coastal

Protection Restoration Authority that a draft report could be

ready by March 2014. The final report could be sent to Congress

by December 2014.

“We do see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel,” Johnson said.

The CPRA and the Army Corps of Engineers agreed in 2009 to split equally the cost of finishing the study, which he said was

expected to take about two years to finish.

Johnson said several setbacks, including a lack of federal funding, have delayed the study being finished.

“The corps is on its third set of

policy guides,” he said. “We were (initially) going to use existing data

for the study,

but the corps said we couldn’t use that. Now, some of the

requirements for data have been lessened to an extent. We’re feeling

better about the study getting done.”

Once the study is completed, Johnson said that could mean some coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects may qualify

for some federal funding.

Members of the Chenier Plain Coastal

Restoration and Protection Authority were introduced to the CPRA during

the meeting.

The nine-member group consists of three members from Calcasieu,

Cameron and Vermilion parishes appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Laurie Cormier, assistant planner and coastal zone manager for the Calcasieu Police Jury, said the group will work “as a united

front” in protecting Southwest Louisiana’s coastline.

“That is what’s so important about this,” she said. “It’s not so much each parish working on its own.”

The members: Ossie Norton, Kay Barnett and Janet Woolman from Calcasieu Parish; Ryan Bourriaque, Steve Trahan and Phillip

Trosclair from Cameron Parish; and Al Vidrine, Earl Landry and Skie Sagrera from Vermilion Parish.

The Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority will hold its first meeting at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Vermilion

Police Jury Room.