Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards touted the multiple benefits of the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection Project to flood control and a healthy ecosystem during testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The governor addressed committee members during a February 23 field hearing in Bethany Beach, Delaware.
Below is the excerpt from Governor Edwards’ written testimony related to Morganza to the Gulf:
I would be remiss not to mention another project in Louisiana that meets the dual objective of community protection and coastal restoration: the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection Project. Thankfully, the Biden Administration and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor dedicated $378 million to the project from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This complements over $500 million in state and local funds dedicated to beginning construction prior to significant federal participation. When fully constructed, the Morganza project will protect over 200,000 residents, sustain over 1,700 square miles of marsh, and secure an area vital to America’s economic interests and the nation’s energy transition.
The Morganza project has a unique design to maximize protection to surrounding coastal wetlands. As a “leaky levee,” the system will only be closed when facing severe storms. The design allows over half a million acres in vegetated coastal wetlands within the Barataria-Terrebonne estuary to be sustained through the natural ebb and flow of the tide. The system is in a large part self-mitigating, as initial studies indicated that the wetlands within the system performed better than those outside. Furthermore, the communities in the study area are truly on the front lines of climate change as they face the highest relative sea level rise in the nation at over three feet per 100 years. I encourage the Corps to account for these factors as it evaluates future spending plans.