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Bulk of Maurepas Swamp project funding approved

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BATON ROUGE - A save is in the works for the Maurepas Swamp thanks to a huge funding commitment approved Wednesday worth $130 million.

The RESTORE Council voted to approve the Deepwater Horizon oil spill dollars to fund the River Reintroduction into the Maurepas Swamp project.

Louisiana wetlands are in danger of being swallowed up at the rate of a football field every 100 minutes. That is why there's been a plan in the works for the last two decades to save one of them. This project will focus on an area that once had a freshwater source but has since been cut off by levees. With the addition of saltwater feeding through Lake Pontchartrain, the Maurepas Swamp has slowly been drying up from its once lush forest to a marsh.

"If we let this die off, we would be putting many large communities in this region at risk," Governor John Bel Edwards said.

Administered by Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the project will benefit more than 45,000 acres, providing a wetland buffer that can reduce storm surge for surrounding communities. The goal is to bring fresh water back to the area in Saint John the Baptist Parish.

The project lands include the construction of three 10'x10' box culverts in the Mississippi River Levee. The 5.5 mile-long diversion will start near Garyville and provide sediment and fresh water to existing wetlands in Maurepas Swamp. Other project features include road and railroad crossings, pipeline and utility crossings.

The total project cost is $200 million. The plan is to break ground in the next two years.


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