Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is a governmental authority created by the Louisiana Legislature in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The organization takes advantage of both federal and state funding of around $1 billion annually. Since its founding, the organization has dredged over 60 miles of sediment into islands and artificial land, as well as 36,000 acres of marshland. CPRA predicts that over the next 50 years, over 1,450 square miles of land in Louisiana could be lost along coastal areas.
The creation of CPRA was ordered by Congress in Pub.L. 109–148. The CPRA's forerunner, the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority, was restructured as the CPRA by Act 8 of the First Extraordinary Session of 2005 when the tasks of coastal restoration and hurricane protection were consolidated under a single authority. The authority is responsible for overseeing all levee districts in the Louisiana Coastal Zone and dispersal of funding from Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Trust Fund to be used exclusively for wetland restoration and hurricane protection projects. Act 8 defines the CPRA's mandate as, "hurricane protection and the protection, conservation, restoration, and enhancement of coastal wetlands and barrier shorelines or reefs." Additionally, the act defined the term "coastal area" as the Louisiana Coastal Zone and contiguous areas that are subject to storm or tidal surge.
In April 2007, the CPRA submitted Louisiana's first ever Comprehensive Master Plan for coastal restoration and hurricane protection to the state's legislature for approval. The legislature approved the plan unanimously. Entitled: "Integrated Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection: Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast," the Master Plan represents an overarching vision that fully incorporates hurricane protection projects and structures with coastal wetland and hydrology restoration projects. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials will use the CPRA Master Plan as the cornerstone of the Congressionally mandated Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration (LaCPR) Report scheduled to be written and submitted to Congress by December 2007.
In 2012, an article in The New York Times reviewed the current state of improvements to New Orleans defenses. August 24, 2015, an article in The Huffington Post titled "10 Years After Katrina, Louisiana Is Becoming A Model For Climate Resilience" summarized the current state of Louisiana's shoreline and coastal community protection.
Plan for a Sustainable Coast
Every five years CPRA must submit a revised plan to the state legislature. The current plan is the 2012 Master Plan, a 190-page document. The agency is currently working on the 2017 plan.
Projects detailed in the plan fall into the following categories:
- Structural Protection
- Bank Stabilization
- Oyster Barrier Reefs
- Ridge Restoration
- Shoreline Protection
- Barrier Island Restoration
- Marsh Creation
- Sediment Diversion
- Hydrologic Restoration
The following Levee Districts are overseen by the CPRA.
- Atchafalaya Basin Levee District
- Grand Isle Independent District
- Lafourche Basin Levee District
- North Lafouche Levee District
- Plaquemines Parish Government
- Pontchartrain Basin Levee District
- South Lafourche Levee District
- Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East
- Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - West
- St. Mary Parish Government
- Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District
- America's WETLAND Foundation
- Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act -- CWPPRA (a federal agency)
- "Louisiana fights the sea, and loses". The Economist. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
- Schwartz, John (June 14, 2012). "Vast Defenses Now Shielding New Orleans". New York Times.
- Sheppard, Kate. "10 Years After Katrina, Louisiana Is Becoming A Model For Climate Resilience". huffintonpost.com. Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) -- official website (state agency)
- The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) -- official website (federal agency)