The RESTORE Council will accept project proposals for a “bucket” of RESTORE Act funds through Nov. 17. This bucket is dedicated as the Comprehensive Plan Component for restoration activities and is the only bucket for which the council will choose how the money is spent.

During the October meeting of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Executive Director Kyle Graham presented projects that could be proposed to the RESTORE Council for RESTORE bucket money. At the next CPRA meeting on Nov. 12, the Authority will vote on which five projects to submit to the RESTORE Council.

We urge the CPRA to vote for River Reintroduction to Maurepas Swamp as one of their five projects to the RESTORE Council, and we ask that the RESTORE Council fund the project.

The Maurepas project is a small diversion from the Mississippi River near Garyville. This reconnection with the river will revive the swamp with the nutrients to help boost vegetation growth, freshwater flow that stops saltwater intrusion and fine sediments to help fight subsidence.

The swamp has been in decline for decades due to saltwater intrusion, subsidence and chronic flooding. Levees have prevented the Mississippi River from delivering freshwater, nutrients and sediment to the swamp. Studies show that rising salinities in the lake are causing trees to die, and 87 percent of the swamp is declining. Without the cypress and tupelo trees, the swamp will convert to marsh and open water. Lake Maurepas is connected to Lake Pontchartrain, and therefore the health of the swamp will affect the health of the entire basin. Additionally, losing these coastal forests could increase the flood risk for residents in the area.

This diversion is approximately 95 percent designed. It has been a part of restoration plans since 1993. Funding for this project to cover remaining engineering, design and permitting would be an important step in getting this project into construction. It is time to finally get this project built.

Michelle Maloney

coordinator, Louisiana Wildlife Federation

Baton Rouge