Some local projects are among those getting tens of millions of dollars from the state.
With an emphasis on adapting to a changing coast, the projects are forward-looking and innovative.
And they weren’t just concocted in a vacuum. They are the end result of a painstaking process of gauging public interest and gathering ideas and comments from the people who live right here and in four other parishes along the coast – part of the Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptation for Future Environments, or La. Safe, program.
“These award-winning La. Safe projects represent the cutting-edge in our efforts to proactively plan for the reality of our state’s increasing vulnerability to weather events and coastal erosion,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “In an era of escalating risks, now is the time to help our communities develop future sustainability and resilience.”
The local projects in Terrebonne are:
• $2.85 million for voluntary buyouts for seven residents outside the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane-protection system to move to higher ground.
• $3.6 million to create 300 acres of wetlands on the banks of Lake Boudreaux south of Houma, helping to protect Houma from storm surges.
In Lafourche, they are:
• $7 million to build a community of elevated homes south of Lockport. Half of the homes will be sold at market rate, and the rest will be affordable to residents earning 20 percent, 30 percent and 50 percent of the area’s median household income.
• $3.5 million to build and operate an “emerging industry business incubator” in Lockport.
Together, the local projects account for nearly $17 million of the state’s $41 million plan. All the state projects are listed at lasafe.la.gov.
This is an important, ongoing project that could very well form part of the basis for larger future plans. Our coastal challenges, after all, are not going away. In fact, they will likely only worsen with time. Even if we assume that our coastal restoration activities are successful, we will continue to live along a changing and deteriorating coast. And it will demand action from us if we are to stay here and provide homes and businesses for future generations.
Our state has a chance to lead the way in helping entire communities adapt to changing realities. That is both frightening and exciting. But it is a chance we have embraced, and this state investment will help make some of these innovations part of our toolbox.
Let’s hope there’s much more of this sort of thing to come.
Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.