Regulation News

Louisiana’s Lost Land: New management strategy available for public comment

A new Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) that looks at the protection and restoration of land between Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers is now available to review until May 15.

On April 16, 2018, the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) shared its updated guidance document, the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), with the public.

BTNEP is one of the 28 national estuary programs in the United States. Since 1990, the BTNEP has been engaged in the protection and restoration of the 4.2 million acres of land and water that lie between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers which has been at the heart of Louisiana’s land loss crisis.

All or parts of sixteen Louisiana parishes are located in the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary system. The BTNEP was established under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Water Act to protect coastal resources. The organization is a partnership of government, businesses, scientists, conservation organizations, agricultural interests and individuals for the preservation, protection, and restoration for the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary in southeast Louisiana.

The amended CCMP continues to work specifically to overcome the priority issues identified for the estuary by enlisting all of the effected stakeholders, establishing priorities, and synchronizing efforts. The priority problems addressed in the CCMP are hydrologic modification, sediment reduction, habitat loss, eutrophication, pathogen contamination, toxic substances, and changes in living resources. The CCMP contains 36 Action Plans to directly address these problems as well as numerous institutional and societal factors which contribute to them.

The Action Plans are a product of an ongoing attempt to establish consensus among stakeholders of the estuary to effectively meet the estuary’s most critical management needs related to ecology. The amendments will serve as an advisory set of plans to aid the direction for the preservation and restoration efforts throughout the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary System over the next years.

The CCMP Action Plans work to grow on the efforts of the past while looking to the future and, as such, have been divided into four main categories. Keeping with the BTNEP Action Plan Team members’ directives, the categories include: Coordinated Planning and Implementation, Ecological Management, Sustained Recognition and Citizen Involvement, and Economic Growth. Each of these categories contains varying numbers of recommended Action Plans that meet the needs of the BTNEP Management Conference guidelines.

Through the work of BTNEP, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Louisiana, and local partners continue to protect the estuary from further degradation. It has also created opportunities to undertake programs and projects that check human-made damage that has already occurred to habitats throughout the estuary. This updated CCMP reaffirms the commitment of local people and their ongoing love of the land, water, culture, and each other that have made the estuary’s perils an international issue.

As changes continue to manifest themselves in environmental exposures, BTNEP stands ready to address the issues through a science-based, stakeholder-led, consensus-driven plan of actions that uses a unique partnership approach focused on the estuary’s rich cultural, economic, and natural resources.

Many opportunities exist to make positive changes to improve our ecosystem and human interaction with nature. The public is invited to view the new CCMP and provide comment on the new document and to engage with BTNEP in its efforts. The review period will be open for 30 days ending May 15, 2018. To view and/or comment on the new CCMP, click here.

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