"Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday morning officially broke ground on Louisiana's most ambitious wetlands-restoration effort yet at a ceremony near Ironton on the west bank of the Mississippi River.
Decades in the making, the massive $2.9 billion Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion aims to recreate the river's ancient, natural land-building processes by diverting a portion of the Mississippi's freshwater, sediment and nutrients into the Barataria Basin. The hope is that it will rebuild up to 21 square miles of land and wetlands in Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes over the next half-century.
"At the end of the day, the premise of the project is we want to reconnect the Mississippi River with our coastal areas so that we can replenish the marsh and grow the land that we've lost," Edwards told reporters after a ceremonial overturning of dirt. "And this project promises to do that, from a minimum of 20 square miles to a maximum of 40."