Louisiana getting $215M in BP oil spill money to restore marshes

    Louisiana will get nearly $215 million in BP oil spill money for two projects planned to restore more than 4,600 acres of marsh and other habitat in the New Orleans area, Gov. John Bel Edwards says.

    Work should begin next year on the projects, Edwards said in a news release Tuesday. The money is from BP’s $8.8 billion settlement for natural resources damage caused by the blowout that killed 11 men and spewed more than 100 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, leaving long-lasting effects.

    Both are part of larger restoration plans, the group overseeing Louisiana’s share of that settlement notes.

    Each project will set a record, says Chip Kline, president of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

    He says the Lake Borgne project near Shell Beach in St. Bernard Parish will create more than 2,800 acres of marsh, making it the largest area ever bid by the agency. The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group approved $114.7 million for the project.

    “This project will have immediate benefits to habitat for fish and birds by reinforcing the degrading southwestern shoreline of Lake Borgne and Lena Lagoon,” St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis says. “And we need all the natural marsh buffer we can build to lessen the damaging effects of tidal action and storm surge.”

    The $100.3 million Spanish Pass project, near Venice in Plaquemines Parish, will use an estimated 16 million cubic yards of dredged material to create about 132 acres of ridge and 1,700 acres of marsh. That will be the authority’s largest dredging volume so far, Kline says. Read the full story.