Aerial view of parts of the Barataria Basin, where wetlands have disappeared for decades.
Aerial view of parts of the Barataria Basin, where wetlands have disappeared for decades.
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The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group is seeking public input on a draft restoration plan proposing an investment of up to $2 billion in the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project. If approved, the large-scale project would reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin. The project will allow the controlled release of freshwater, nutrients and sediment back into the basin to rebuild wetlands and contribute to the broader restoration of its ecosystem.

The Draft Phase II Restoration Plan #3.2 (PDF, 152 pages), is available for public comment for 60 days through May 4, 2021, with virtual public meetings to present the plan and environmental impact statement April 6, 7, and 8 2021. The plan evaluates six design alternatives for the diversion project and identifies one of them as preferred.

NOAA and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) are lead Trustees for the draft plan, which was prepared jointly with the other Louisiana Restoration Area Trustees. NOAA and CPRA are also partnering with the Environmental Law Institute and Restore the Mississippi River Delta to co-host community conversations to learn more about the project, on March 22 and 23, and April 20, 2021.

Concurrent with release of the draft restoration plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing a draft environmental impact statement, also available for public comment for 60 days. The environmental impact statement and information on how to submit comments are on the Army Corps’ website.

Reducing Land Loss Exacerbated by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Louisiana and the Barataria Basin are in the midst of a land loss crisis. The Basin has lost more than 276,000 acres of land since the 1930s. Wetlands in the Basin were the most heavily impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which accelerated a severe land loss trend threatening Louisiana’s estuaries. The oil spill and response activities significantly accelerated the rate of wetland loss in the area.

Architectural rendering of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion structure if built.
The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion structure
would connect the Mississippi River (bottom)
to the Barataria Basin (top). Image: CPRA

The project would restore and sustain a significant amount of wetland habitat—tens of thousands of acres—and the resources that depend on them, over the next several decades. At peak capacity, the proposed preferred alternative would transport up to 75,000 cubic feet per second of freshwater and its sediment and nutrients—harnessing nature through engineering to re-establish the natural process that originally built Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.

Public Comment Period and Virtual Public Meetings

Public comments will be accepted for 60 days through May 4. We encourage you to review and comment on the draft plan by submitting comments online, by mail, or during virtual public meetings listed below.

  • Online: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MBSD
  • Mail:
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District
    Attn: CEMVN-OD-SE, MVN-2012-2806-EOO
    7400 Leake Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118

We are co-hosting virtual public meetings with the Army Corps of Engineers on April 6 - 8, 2021. We will present information on the draft plan, and the Army Corps will present on the draft environmental impact statement.

Meeting Dates and Times

  • April 6, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. CT

  • April 7, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. CT

  • April 8, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. CT

Meeting Registration

In order to provide public comment during the webinar, participants will have join via their computers in a web browser or the GoToWebinar app.  Participants that are only joining via the call-in number will not be able to come off of mute to provide comment as part of the webinar, but you can provide comments via the various options above.

Virtual Community Conversations

Landscape of healthy coastal Louisiana wetlands.
Healthy coastal Louisiana wetlands.
Image: CPRA

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, CPRA, and the Environmental Law Institute have partnered to host a dialogue—facilitated by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta—to provide information on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.

These virtual meetings will provide the public with an informal opportunity to learn and ask questions about the project and the permitting process. CPRA and Louisiana Trustees will guide participants through the recently released draft environmental statement and restoration plan.  We will also discuss how participants can participate in the upcoming formal public meetings and submit formal public comments.

These meetings are not an opportunity to comment publicly on the draft restoration plan and draft environmental impact statement, like the meetings scheduled for April 6 - 8. These virtual community conversations are a chance to better understand the two documents and the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project through a dialogue with the participating organizations.

Dates, Times and Meeting Links

  • March 22, 2021 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. CT: Register
  • March 23, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CT: Register
  • April 20, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CT: Register

Additional Background Information and Links

Recognizing the loss of marsh productivity caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the importance of Louisiana’s marshes to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, the historic 2016 Natural Resource Damages settlement allocated almost half of the funding, $4 billion, to restoring Louisiana’s coastal and nearshore habitats.

In 2017, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group released a draft and in 2018 approved a final strategic restoration plan prioritizing large-scale sediment diversion, marsh creation, and ridge restoration techniques and approaches for the Barataria Basin. The strategic plan included the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion and other projects for evaluation and planning. 

More Information and Plan Documents

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