On May 22, more than 30 of the nation’s leading hunting, fishing, and other conservation groups sent a letter to U.S. Secretaries of Defense and Commerce urging expedited federal review of a critical infrastructure project in coastal Louisiana.
The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, located in southern Louisiana, was initially approved by the Louisiana state legislature as part of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan to restore wetlands and protect coastal communities. In 2016, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority signed an agreement with the Army Corps to guarantee the federal review of this project within three years. In March 2017, the Army Corps announced the decision to delay this project until October 2022, stating a determination on required permits would not be made until that time.
The letter states that, “Delaying the construction of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion would threaten the safety of coastal communities and make it much more difficult and expensive to sustain ecological diversity in a critically rich ecosystem.” Diversion projects, which allow for controlled releases of sediment-laden waters of the Mississippi River into coastal wetlands, help to rebuild the marsh as the velocity slows and the suspended sediments settle out. In addition to increasing coastal resiliency to storm surge, the replenished marsh provides critical habitat for fish and wildlife.
The undersigned groups requested that the Army Corps follow its original agreement with the State of Louisiana as well as President Trump’s Executive Order prioritizing critical infrastructure projects, and expedite the review and permitting process for this project.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?