Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Draft Restoration Plan 3.2 and Environmental Impact Statement
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New Orleans District is evaluating the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana's (CPRA) application for a Department of the Army permit under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and a permission request under Section 14 (33 U.S. Code [USC] 408) (Section 408) of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project (proposed MBSD Project or Project) in Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes, Louisiana. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture are federal cooperating agencies for the preparation of this Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The USACE has prepared this EIS to assess the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed Project.
In addition to informing the USACE decisions, this EIS will be used to inform decisions that the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (Louisiana TIG) may make regarding restoration planning in the Barataria Basin under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA).
The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (Louisiana TIG) has prepared a Draft Phase II Restoration Plan 3.2 (Draft Phase II RP #3.2). In the Draft Phase II RP #3.2, the Louisiana TIG proposes a preferred design alternative for the MBSD Project to be funded under the DWH Louisiana Restoration Area Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitats restoration type allocation. The preferred alternative (Alternative 1) consists of a controlled sediment and freshwater intake diversion structure in Plaquemines Parish on the right descending bank of the Mississippi River at RM 60.7. The preferred alternative would have a maximum diversion flow of 75,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), which would occur when the Mississippi River gauge at Belle Chase reaches 1,000,000 cfs or higher. The diversion would operate at up to 5,000 cfs (base flow) when the river is below 450,000 cfs at Belle Chase; at river flows above 450,000 cfs, the diversion would be opened fully. At the downstream end of the diversion channel, an engineered area, "outfall transition feature" would be constructed to guide and disperse the channel flow into the Barataria Basin. The preferred alternative is projected to increase land area, including emergent wetlands and mudflats, in the Barataria Basin across the 50-year analysis period relative to natural recovery, with a maximum increase of 17,300 acres in 2050, at the approximate mid-point of the 50-year analysis period.
Comments are being sought on both documents, the USACE MBSD DEIS, and the Louisiana TIG Draft Phase II RP #3.2.
Besides submitting comment here, you may mail your comments with documents, exhibits or other relevant materials to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New Orleans District
Attn: CEMVN-ODR-E; MVN-2012-2806-EOO
7400 Leake Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118
Brad Laborde, USACE, 504-862-2225
Mel Landry, NOAA, 310-427-8711