Nov 18, 2013 12:00 PM by PRESS RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE - The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has announced it is providing nearly one million dollars as seed money toward New Iberia Levee Board projects following a decision by the Iberia Parish Council to allocate over $300,000 at their meeting on Wednesday night.
The decision by the Iberia Parish Council indicated to the state that the Parish was willing to begin accepting some responsibility for the need to protect the Parish. In return the state is coming to the table to match, and even exceed, those funds.
"The $300,000.00 local match exemplifies how local funding can be multiplied many times to benefit local projects in Iberia Parish," said Ben Langlinais a Board Member of the independent Iberia Parish Levee District. "The allocation from Iberia Parish Government will allow the Levee District to receive $970,000.00 from CPRA to design and permit the proposed Delcambre Canal Storm Surge Gate which is an important component of providing Storm Surge Protection to Western Iberia Parish. The $1,200,000.00 design and permit monies supports the Engineering design and permit process being done by Vermilion Parish/ Cheneire Levee District project on Bayou Tigre. The Engineering design process will help define the design parameters for both Storm surge & drainage requirements. Having the designs and permits will allow the Delcambre Canal / Bayou Tigre projects to access future construction funding since they will both be shovel ready," he added.
The new independent Iberia Levee District was established to provide for coastal restoration, coastal protection and to stop coastal erosion in Iberia Parish. While other Parishes up and down Louisiana's coast have established Levee Districts, Iberia Parish remains unprotected. Not only does that harm the Parish's coastline as it continues to erode, but it also leaves the Parish vulnerable to major storm.
State Representative Simone Champagne, who assisted in securing the funds after supporting the Legislation creating the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, explained the critical importance of properly funding the independent Iberia Parish Levee District, "We simply cannot leave Iberia Parish unprotected while other Parishes take action," Champagne said, "We need to protect Iberia Parish jobs, our economy and residents. We need to get started now or we will see higher insurance premiums in the Parish for years to come. Coastal protection, restoration and erosion control projects take time and so it is important we start now. I was happy to help get some matching seed money for the Levee Board after the Parish Council showed a willingness to begin funding the Levee District on behalf of our residents."
Janet Faulk-Gonzales, CEO of the Iberia Parish Chamber of Commerce which is endorsing the need to fund the Levee District and its projects, supported the matching dollars, ""The Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce is pleased that Iberia Parish Government has committed $300,000.00 to match the state's $970,000.00 beginning the process of protecting Iberia Parish's economy, culture and environment. Even as a stand-alone project, this action will have significant impact on the lowest part of our parish. The fact that the project aligns with work being done in Vermilion Parish project is an example of how the state's master plan brings us all together in a unified system of protection."
Patrick Broussard, a Member of the Iberia Levee / Conservation District, echoed the others, "I would like to express the appreciation of the Iberia Levee / Conservation District to the Iberia Parish Council for providing $300,000 of matching funds for the engineering and design of a floodgate for the Delcambre Canal. As a key component to protecting the western-most portion of Iberia's coast, the Delcambre gate, along with Vermillion Parish's Bayou Tigre gate, will start the process of protecting our Parish's residents and businesses. The Council needs to be commended for having the vision and foresight to support the goals of their Levee / Conservation District. Future generations in our Parish will someday understand the task our generation accepted and will appreciate the sacrifice we make to protect their future."
The funding provided is just a very small part of the overall funding needs of the plans under consideration by the Levee District. Funds will be used for the initial phases of projects which must move forward if Iberia Parish is to receive additional funding and support as a fully functioning Levee District.