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NOAA News Releases 2005
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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to Mark Completion of Project

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, announces the successful completion of the Marsh Creation and Hurricane Levee Protection Project in South Lafourche Parish, La. The project was managed by the South Lafourche Louisiana Levee District. A ribbon cutting to highlight the completion of the project is being held today at 9:00 a.m. in Galliano at the South Lafourche Levee District offices followed by a tour of the site.

“The South Lafourche Levee District produced tremendous results in creating wetlands with the funds received from NOAA,” said U.S. Senator David Vitter. “This successful project illustrates that local leadership coupled with federal resources can create a winning combination for future restoration efforts.”

“This is truly one of those projects that stands out as an example of local government agencies working together to address some very critical coastal problems,” said Scott Rayder, NOAA chief of staff. “This focus on natural resource restoration and the protection of coastal populations is how cooperative conservation builds citizen stewardship while it strengthens shared governance.”

NOAA awarded the South Lafourche Levee District $250,000 in grants to rebuild new marsh habitat along a 3,000 foot long area of the Levee District's Hurricane Protection Levee near Galliano. The South Lafourche Levee District rebuilt new wetlands habitat and helped protect critical hurricane protection levees from erosion to open water. The growth of open water along the banks of the levee has raised the threat of erosion and degradation of the levees in protecting the population of South Lafourche Parish. The Parish and important facilities like Port Fourchon are vital coastal areas to the state supporting the production of large amounts of energy and seafood for the nation.

“The most important thing we see here is the trust of a federal agency, NOAA, in putting the resources in our hands to address the needs we see growing every day in coastal Louisiana,” said Windell Curole, executive director of the South Lafourche Levee District. “We need to focus our efforts on combining the needs of protecting our natural resources with the protection of our coastal populations. This project demonstrates how that can be done.”

Under the supervision of the South Lafourche Levee District, a small dredge moved material from the stormwater drainage canals inside the South Lafourche Levee District levees and pumped the material in the open water areas along the outer bank of the levees near Galliano. Once settled and contoured, marsh grass was then planted on the project site for the completion of the project.

“We worked with landowners, the state and NOAA and saw a project designed, engineered and constructed in a timeframe and on a budget that is really a model for other projects,” said Curole.

Concurrently, NOAA's National Weather Service announced it has reconfigured the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards transmitter in Buras, La., to expand coverage in the lower part of the state, including lower Lafourche and Jefferson parishes and adjacent coastal waters. The addition of a new antenna allows the station to provide continuous broadcasts to include the marine, shipping and fishing interests of Grand Isle, Leeville and Port Fourchon.

“Through NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, we have the capability of sending critical warnings and environmental information to 95 percent of the U.S. population,” Rayder added. "Like the levee protection project, the expanded broadcast coverage now affords greater protection to the citizens of this region, especially as we enter the heart of the hurricane season.

“Building partnerships like these is a priority for NOAA in all of our programs,” said Rayder. “We see partnerships here that are a model for us in working with state and local governments.”

Projects like the Marsh Creation and Hurricane Levee Protection Project will be highlighted at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation in August. Cooperative conservation draws on the resources of federal, state and local partnerships to improve environmental protection and natural resource management, and to achieve the goals of shared governance and citizen stewardship.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation=s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global Earth observation network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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