NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) – Governor John Bel Edwards stated Monday Louisiana is in a race against time to save the coastline. He now has an updated master plan ready to go before state leaders in April.
Included in The Coastal Master Plan is the plan for Iberia Parish to build a 19.2 mile levee stretching across the coast to prevent any more erosion, according to Iberia Parish Levee District Director Ray Fremin.
Fremin said the coastline has eroded 1800 square miles of land since the 1930s, which is the same as three times the size of Houston, Texas..
“They anticipate by 2050 we’ll do that again. So we’ll have about 3600 square miles of lost land,” Fremin said.
With a 17-feet tall, 19-mile wide levee, the parish’s entire plan costs 524 million dollars. This includes levee operation and maintenance for 50 years.
“Although that is an extreme number when we look at what the state calls a moderate scenario storm we’re looking at cost of 4.4 billion dollars in damages,” Fremin said.
The parish will pay for 20 percent of the plan, with the state and federal government funding the other 80 percent, according to Fremin. It’s all part of Governor John Bel Edward’s master plan, encompassing the entire coastline.
In a statement released Monday, Edwards said, “Implementing this plan will reduce risk and build and sustain land for the benefit of all of our people, our economy and our ecosystem for generations to come.”
“It’s a good plan and it does a lot all along our coast. We have miles and miles of coastline we have to protect,” Fremin said.
Fremin said the next step is putting the project on the ballot to raise funds. He said while that isn’t in the foreseeable future, it’s imperative people are aware it’s not only about protecting the coast but the coastal culture in South Louisiana.
News Ten did reach out to Vermilion Parish as well. They weren’t able to comment Monday night but said there is a comprehensive coastal plan in the works for their coastline as well.