Thumbs up for plan to restore and protect Louisiana coast

A coastal protection and restoration plan for the state of Louisiana has been given the go-ahead by the Louisiana's state legislature, following the devastations of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Hurricane Katrina devasted Louisiana

Hurricane Katrina devasted Louisiana

The plan integrates hurricane protection and ecosystem restoration to protect the fragile coastal environment at the mouth of the Mississippi River, as well as the people and properties in the state of Louisiana.

Collaboration to design the plan was the work of the Louisiana Coast Protection and Restoration Authority, and consulting firm Halcrow, which was chosen because of their experience in developing shoreline management planning in the United Kingdom.

"This is a great example of transferring best practice from one geographical region to another, tailoring the approach to suite the geopolitical climate," said Ben Hamer, project director from Halcrow.

Since the 1990's, Halcrow has worked on various shoreline management projects with the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on looking at coastal risk and flooding erosion in regions around the United Kingdom at risk.

Currently, Halcrow is working on open coastal planning in Northern Kent and the Isle of Grain.

In the United States following the hurricanes, the Louisiana State Legislature passed an act which called for the preparation of a long-term comprehensive coastal protection plan for Louisiana, integrating hurricane protection and the protection, conservation, restoration and enhancement of coastal wetlands and barrier shorelines. This plan will be used to inform a complementary protection plan to be completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Adam Hosking, based in the US, is managing Halcrow's contribution to the project: "We developed a bespoke methodology for drawing together and utilising the wealth of previous studies and knowledge of the Louisiana coast... Recognising the need to balance short-term pressures for action on flood risks and maintaining economic activity, with the longer-term need to provide for a sustainable coastal environment."

Dana Gornitzki


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