Courtesy Lane Lefort, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Governor Bobby Jindal and Senator Jonathan Perry have announced that a new project will be starting in the Vermilion Parish area to help counteract the damage being done by salt water out of the gulf. The damage is impacting freshwater marshes throughout the area and also affects farmers who need freshwater for crawfish, rice and other crops.

The project, which was approved by the State's Interim Emergency Board, is receiving as much as $360,000 in emergency funds for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

Governor Jindal commented on the problem, “This investment will help fix eroding banks and provide our farmers with a permanent solution so they can get back on their feet after last year’s drought and saltwater intrusion.” Senator Perry commented on the issue as well, “This increased saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico has gotten to the point that this year’s rice planting will be negatively affected over much of the area in and around Vermilion Parish and we are not going to stand by and allow that. I am thankful that the Governor’s Office and the CPRA are teaming up with us to address the issue."

The funds will be used to address a breach along the Intracoastal Waterway, about eight miles northeast of Pecan Island. The breach is allowing for the water to come inland and the problem has been growing, which has resulted in a loss of 1,100 acres of coastal wetlands.

This amount of wetland loss on top of the 16.57 square miles per year according to the USGS can only make the restoration of the coastal wetlands more difficult.

The project has no projected timeline at this point, but KPEL will keep you updated at it's progress.