It is the first annual plan for the program under the new process established by the state Legislature in 2008.
The plan will be referred to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for consideration at its March meeting, before going on to the Legislature for approval.
About $1.5 million would be for creation of the “Atchafalaya Basin Natural Resources Inventory and Assessment Tool” – a process of data gathering allowing scientists in the Basin Program’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to evaluate the impacts of proposed water management plans in the Basin to ensure that the projects meet the environmental needs of the Basin.
The balance of the funding would go to a proposed maintenance dredging of a sediment trap in the Dog Leg Canal and development of a plan to address water quality and sedimentation in East Grand Lake, Flat Lake and Upper Belle River water management units of the Basin.
This project will focus on realignment of water flow and the redirection of sediment. Analysis of water and sediment inputs will lead to other projects that will enhance water quality in these areas.
The five continuing programs included in the plan are:
•Hydrologic restoration at Beau Bayou Swamp, funded by St. Martin Parish through federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program money
•Water management at Buffalo Cove, funded with federal program money
•Planning for possible work in the Henderson Water Management Unit, funded with federal program money
•Dredging of Henderson Lake access channels, funded by previously allocated state money
•Sherburne Freshwater diversion at Big Alabama Bayou, approved for federal funding, but not yet funded.
The plan also includes a request for about $700,000 to fund new a new boat launch at Krotz Springs, improvements to the Big Alabama boat launch at the Sherburne Wildlife Management area, and funding for habitat restoration.
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle said the state legislation approved last year creating the annual plan process was crafted to put water management first and make good science the basis for decisions.
“This was the first year of the new process, incorporating the best principles of transparency in government and applying science to environmental planning,” Angelle said. “It represents an important step in the future of the environmental health of one of Louisiana’s signature areas, one that highlights the best of our bountiful natural resources.”