Bren Haase of Coastal Protection

Bren Haase, right, chief of Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority research division, speaks Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, with Anthony Emmons, left, who attended the presentation of the draft plan to slow Louisiana's fast receding coastline.

Mark Ballard

Even with the $50 billion worth of coastal restoration projects being proposed, Louisiana still can expect to lose an area about the size of Delaware, the chief author of report told an oversight committee Wednesday.

In its current form, the roughly 200 restoration and risk reduction projects presently outlined in the 2017 Coastal Master Plan would create about 800 square miles of new marshland along the coast over the next 50 years. But, over the same time period Louisiana will lose about 2,000 square miles, said Bren Haase, chief of the planning and research division of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

“We’re never going to get back to the coastline we had in 1930s," Haase said in an interview after presenting the draft plan for the first time to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority board.

That’s provided $50 billion can be found, which it has not. About $15 billion to $18 billion is “plausibly” available from a variety of sources, including the federal government, settlements from the BP Deepwater Horizon incident and the state, Haase said. Probably $150 billion is needed, but that’s not as realistic as finding $50 billion, he added.

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But the 2017 report is aimed at setting out the procedures for evaluating projects and methodologies for measuring the success of the projects chosen.

“We’re not trying to identify all the necessary projects, just the ones that are ‘no brainers’,” Haase said, “the ones that would be chosen regardless of the scenario.”

The draft plan, which was released last week, is making the rounds for public input. Haase heard from about 80 people last night in Lake Charles. After his presentation to the CPRA board Wednesday at the State Capitol, he was headed for New Orleans. A meeting in Houma is scheduled for Jan. 24 and in Mandeville on Jan. 25.

 

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