December 7, 2016

Cassidy Announces Louisiana Priorities in Water Infrastructure Bill

WASHINGTON— US Senator Bill Cassidy, MD announced the Louisiana initiatives included in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN). WIIN authorizes many critical infrastructure, hurricane protection and flood control projects for Louisiana.


“A strong infrastructure allows us to be prepared and to reduce the potential risk of damage to our homes and our state in the event of a storm,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This critical water infrastructure bill will allocate almost $750 million to hurricane protection projects. Millions more will go to ensuring our ports, harbors and levees are secure.”


Water infrastructure provisions were previously included in the Water Resource Development Act of 2016 (WRDA).


A summary of the WIIN Act can be found here.


A breakdown of the WIIN Act by region can be found here.


Louisiana priorities include:


  • West Shore-Lake Pontchartrain, LA: Authorizes $743,841,000 for hurricane and storm-damage risk reduction along the east bank of the Mississippi River in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James Parishes, LA.
  • Southwest Coastal Louisiana: Authorizes $3.16 billion for coastal restoration projects to provide nonstructural hurricane and storm surge damage risk reduction measures as well as ecosystem restoration features in the 4,700 square mile study area located in Calcasieu, Cameron, and Vermilion Parishes in southwest Louisiana.
  • Pearl River: Deauthorizes the project for navigation, Pearl River, Mississippi and Louisiana, at the date of enactment of this act.
  • Completion of Ecosystem Restoration Projects: Amends the requirement for monitoring ecosystem restoration projects (from WRDA 2007) to allow operation and maintenance of the project to be concluded when the ecological success criteria are met.
  • Wetlands Mitigation: Requires the Secretary to issue guidance regarding credits available from mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs and provides that mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs be considered reasonable alternatives.
  • Non-Fed Interest Dredging Authority: Establishes a pilot program authorizing a non-Federal interest to maintain a federal navigation project with its own equipment and personnel and be eligible for reimbursement of personnel time directly related to performance of the work.
  • Dredged Materials: Authorizes a pilot program for the placement of dredged material in a location where the upfront costs are not the lowest if those additional upfront costs will be offset by the resulting environmental, flood protection, and resiliency benefits.
  • St. Tammany Parish Government Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan Project: FRM; Ecosystem Restoration (marshes): fisheries.
  • Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Program – Bank Stabilization: Add bank stabilization as a project feature from mile 0 on the Black River, LA to mile 460 on the Ouachita River.
  • Red River below Denison Dam: The portion of the project for flood protection on Red River Below Denison Dam, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, is no longer authorized beginning on the date of enactment of this Act.
  • Calcasieu Lock, Louisiana: Authorizes $17.432 million for Calcasieu Lock to ensure safe, reliable navigation along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
  • Discrete Segment: Authorizes the Corps to give credit or reimbursement for discrete segments of projects as they are completed.
  • Wetlands Mitigation: Requires the Secretary to issue guidance regarding credits available from mitigation banks and m-lieu fee programs and provides that mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs be considered reasonable alternatives.
  • Prioritization: Clarifies the prioritization of hurricane and storm damage reduction efforts in WRRDA 2014 to include restoration of wetlands as well as loss of wetlands. Updates deadline for report to Congress. Requires a report to Congress on the implementation of the requirements in WRRDA 2014 to give priority to certain ecosystem restoration projects.
  • Transfer of Excess Credit: Clarifies authority in WRRDA 2014 allowing the transfer of credit between projects.
  • Additional Measures at Donor Ports and Energy Transfer Ports: Extends the authority to provide additional funds for donor ports and energy transfer ports to 2025.
  • Harbor Deepening: Aligns the cost share for construction of harbors with the change in WRRDA 2014 modifying the cost-share for maintenance of harbors.
  • Gulf Coast Oyster Bed Recovery Plan: Authorizes $2 million for a Gulf Coast Oyster Bed recovery plan.
  • Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, LA: Modification to the Port of New Orleans Project, Louisiana, increasing the allowable Federal maintenance between the approaches to the Port’s current and future container facilities and associated Harbor area, and the Mississippi River Ship Channel from the Gulf to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.