DWH NRDA Restoration - Louisiana TIG Draft Phase 2 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #1.3 Rabbit Island Restoration Project and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Project
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest maritime oil spill in U.S. history. It resulted in the discharge of millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), each party responsible for a vessel or facility from which oil is discharged, or which poses the substantial threat of a discharge, is liable for, among other things, removal costs and damages for injury to, destruction of, loss, or loss of use of natural resources, including the reasonable cost of assessing the damage. Pursuant to OPA, federal and state natural resource trustees, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and trustee agencies from the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, were charged with assessing and restoring for injuries to affected Gulf resources.
Under a global settlement reached on April 4, 2016, the Trustees released the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS). The settlement agreement includes a funding schedule that will extend through 2031. During this timeframe the trustees will provide many opportunities for public participation, including the opportunity to submit project ideas and proposals and to comment on draft restoration plans.
Consistent with the PDARP/PEIS, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has prepared the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Draft Phase 2 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #1.3: Rabbit Island Restoration Project and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Project. This plan considers design alternatives for Rabbit Island restoration to benefit birds and a shoreline protection project to restore habitat at Jean Lafitte Historical National Park and Preserve. The combined cost of the projects is $67 million. These costs cover engineering and design, construction, monitoring and adaptive management, and operations and maintenance.
The proposed Rabbit Island project will restore 87.8 acres of the island's original 200-acre footprint. This will be accomplished by raising the elevation of Rabbit Island using dredged fill material from the Calcasieu Ship Channel as the borrow source area. The estimated cost of this project is $27 million.
The proposed shoreline projection project at Jean Lafitte will install a nearly continuous rock breakwater, with rock elbows protecting fish gaps, along the eastern shorelines of Lake Cataouche, Lake Salvador, and Bayou Bardeaux. Implementation is proposed in two increments, the northern and the southern portions of the project area. In the Phase 2 RP/EA Restoration Plan #1.3, implementation of only the southern portion is proposed. The estimated cost of this project is $40 million.
The proposed projects were approved for engineering and design in the 2017 Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Final Restoration Plan #1: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; Habitat Projects on Federally Managed Lands; and Birds (also referred to as the Phase 1 Restoration Plan #1).