More federal dollars for dredging and hurricane protection

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More federal dollars will fund dredging and hurricane protection projects in the new year, in Terrebonne Parish.

On Nov 20, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivered their fiscal year 2019 work plan for the Army’s Civil Works program to Congress, and on-going projects that will benefit Terrebonne Parish are included in the mix.

The Corps has allocated $4 million for dredging the Houma Navigational Canal, according to spokesman Matt Roe.

He said the project will include dredging of the inland reaches on the canal, which have not been dredged since 2006, to the authorized depth of 15 feet.

Roe said approximately 500,000 cubic yards of material will be dredged with upland disposal.

The contract is expected to be advertised and awarded in late summer 2019, with work starting shortly thereafter. The work will take approximately two to three months to complete depending on the dredge size, Roe said.

“Any remaining funds from the $4 million Work Plan allocation will be used for spot dredging in the Houma Navigation Canal Bay,” he said.

The Houma Navigation Canal Bay and Bar reaches, are currently being dredged with funding from the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. That work is scheduled to be complete in January 2019, Roe said.

As sand and silt travel and settle through the Terrebonne Parish waterways, it becomes necessary to routinely dredge (clear out or remove), the canal. Deepening the canal will allow for larger vessels to pass through, and provide better drainage for the area, he said.

Meanwhile, Cindy Cutrera, economic development manager for the Port of Morgan City, said the Corps’ Work Plan also includes an additional $3 million for Bayous Boeuf, Black and Chene.

She said added to the original fiscal year 2019 budget of $12,750,000, the total fund allocation is $15,700,000. 

Tim Matte, executive director of the St. Mary Parish Levee District, said in October, the Corps gave a green light to the Bayou Chene Flood Control Project, a $107 million flood control structure that will prevent backwater flooding in Gibson, and decrease the impact of tidal surges moving through the Intracoastal waterway.

Also in October, the Corps issued a regulatory permit for the construction of the structure.

Plans call for a 250 ft wide floating barge gate with a braced sheet pile wall, to be constructed on Avoca Island – just a few miles from Morgan City and on the property of Continental Land in Terrebonne Parish. The barge will extend outward 375 feet, in each direction.

The announcements from the Corps come just weeks after the governor’s office announced money was on the way to fund the restoration of the Terrebonne Basin barrier island system: West Belle Headland, Timbalier Island and Trinity Island.

La. Gov. John Bel Edwards, together with the La. Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, announced a $161 million award from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF).

Edwards said the projects were developed in consultation with state and federal resource agencies, and are designed to remedy harm and reduce the risk of future harm to natural resources.

The project was selected for funding following extensive consultation with Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), according to the governor’s office.

Governor John Bel EdwardsFILE