Third Party EIS for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) is one of 33 conceptual projects identified by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) for the first implementation period (2012-2031) in Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast (2012 Master Plan). Through the diversion project, CPRA proposes to restore and sustain freshwater marshes by diverting sediment and nutrient-rich waters from the Mississippi River into the Barataria Basin. The primary feature of the MBSD is a proposed gated diversion structure through the west bank of Mississippi River levee at River Mile 60.7, a 2.25 mile conveyance channel, and construction of a gated outfall structure in the Barataria Basin.

Coincidental to the main structures are replacement of LA Hwy 23 with a fixed-span bridge over the conveyance channel, modification of area rail lines, and associated utility and pipeline relocations and protection. This project was approved for funding in the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Oil Spill Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic EIS (PDARP/PEIS) published by the DWH Natural Resource Trustees.

CPRA has applied for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, and permissions under 33 U.S.C. Section 408. The third party EIS is being prepared to inform the decision of the New Orleans District USACE (USACE-MVN) relative to issuance of those permits and permissions pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and the Council on Environmental Quality NEPA regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500-1 508). The third-party EIS will assess the potential negative and beneficial impacts associated with the construction and operation of the project proposed by the Louisiana CPRA and will be consistent with the DWH PDARP/PEIS and associated Record of Decision.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District (USACE-MVN) is the lead federal agency preparing the EIS and directing GEC, filling the role of third-party contractor. GEC has 12 team members to assist in this NEPA effort. GEC is the Prime contractor and overall project management firm, primarily responsible for NEPA documentation, environmental site assessments, natural resources, socioeconomics, data collection analyses and management, hydrologic and coastal modeling, and restoration planning. GEC has shared responsibilities with its subcontractors. This complex and highly controversial