The LCA Program is the most comprehensive and ambitious coastal restoration agenda yet proposed for America’s WETLAND. Like CWPPRA, it utilizes a multi-agency federal/state task force for administration and implementation and relies on federally authorized funding (not yet established) for a majority of the costs for project construction and associated work.
The 1998 report entitled “Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana” laid the blueprint for what was to become the LCA Program. The ideas presented in Coast 2050 were the result of 20-30 years of experience with restoration project construction. A majority of projects built up until this time were funded through CWPPRA. These projects, though effective, offered only localized remedies for a problem that by the late 1990’s was clearly going to require a more systematic ecosystem wide approach. The LCA Program selected general strategies outlined in Coast 2050 for actual construction, therefore providing the mechanism to implement the strategies proposed in the original ‘visionary’ document.
In simple terms, the goal of the LCA Program is to reverse the current trend of coastal ecosystem degradation and work towards environmental sustainability. It is not specifically to build new land or stop erosional forces in localized areas, but to reintroduce elements of the natural ecology and therefore support the entire system by supporting its ecosystem functions. Strategies proposed in the LCA program that work towards this goal include:
Freshwater and sediment re-introductions by diverting some Mississippi River flows into hydrologic basins
- Barrier island restoration through placement of sand from offshore or riverine sources
- Hydrologic modifications to help restore salinity and marsh inundation patterns and improve fishery access to previously unavailable habitats
- Create marsh platforms through beneficial use of materials obtained from maintenance dredging of existing navigation channels
Another feature of the restoration projects proposed as part of the LCA Program is their scale. The projects are all relatively large and therefore expensive.