On the coast in Vermilion Parish, local, state and federal government officials, along with companies, gathered to discuss the ongoing issue of land loss in the area. The future of the coast in vermilion parish looks grim over the course of 50 years. Under Coastal Master Plan’s “medium scenario”, the parish will lose about 17% of land area.
“Every acre of marsh you lose it can affect everyone’s homes and communities. It affects everyone’s livelihood.”said Kevin Sagrera, President of the Vermilion Parish Police Jury.
That amount of future land loss, is why projects to restore the coast are crucial. Vermilion Parish has numerous projects either completed or in phases that are already helping to mitigate flooding and promote marsh growth.
“It’s called the Cole’s Bayou Marsh Creation Hydrologic Restoration Project.” said Bren Haas, Executive Director of Coastal Restoration Protection Authority, “We’ve dredged sediment from Vermilion Bay, pumped that sediment into the marsh area to help rebuild that marsh and improve the way water flows through that marsh so it can be healthy.”
There’s another effective project over in little vermilion bay.
“Terraces were built in an opening between the bay and the Intracoastal Canal.” said Haas, “As water moves through the Intracoastal Canal, it hits those terraces and slows down and sediment has built up and created new land that wasn’t there just 20-30 years ago.”
“We try to focus on the biggest areas to stop the intrusion.” said Sagrera, “If we can get those areas secure then we can come back in and do some of the interior projects that will help re-nourish that marsh.”
Overall, the more educated people are of the serious nature of coastal loss, the better the outcome for the state as a whole.
“It’s an existential crisis that we are facing.” said Haas, “There’s no single right answer for restoring or protecting our coast and there’s no single one entity that can handle the massive job to provide for a sustainable coast. So, whether it’s non-governmental organizations, private land owners, state agencies, the parish, ducks unlimited type of organizations. It’s gonna take everybody, it’s all hands on deck.”
According to coastal restoration officials, from 1990 to 2017 about 80 million dollars has been put into the parish for coastal projects. Within the next 5 years, they hope to put in an additional 26 million dollars towards projects that protect our coast. If you would like more information on the projects and the master plan got to cims.coastal.la.gov/masterplan.