By David Jacobs | The Center Square
Almost $205 million in Deepwater Horizon settlement money will be spent to help Louisiana’s ongoing recovery from the 2010 offshore disaster, officials announced Wednesday.
The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, which is responsible for the oversight, planning, and implementation of Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment settlement funds in Louisiana, approved $204.7 million for a variety of projects. Goals include helping the development of Louisiana oyster beds, increasing oyster production, improving the response effort for stranded dolphins and whales, and creating approximately 1,200 acres of marsh in the upper Barataria Basin, officials said.
“This funding advances the largest marsh creation project that the LA TIG has approved to-date and distributes almost the entirety of Louisiana’s oyster settlement allocation, two major feats in our effort to restore coastal Louisiana following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
The bulk of the money – $176 million – will go toward the “Large-Scale Barataria Marsh Creation: Upper Barataria Component.” This project that will use 10.5 million cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Mississippi River to build 1,200 acres of marsh in Jefferson Parish below the Jean Lafitte area known as “The Pen,” officials said.
Oyster-related projects total $25.6 million. Those include building new reefs and producing at least 500 million oyster larvae at a state hatchery in Grand Isle, with 75 percent to be distributed to established reefs in Louisiana’s public oyster areas in need of rehabilitation, and 25 percent dedicated to oyster restoration activities in protected areas.
The $3.1 million “Marine Mammals Project” is meant to increase capacity and improve response for injured and dead dolphins and whales and facilitate a better understanding of the causes of injury and death. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will lead the project, officials said.