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TitleDrawing Louisiana's New Map: Addressing Land Loss in Coastal Louisiana
File Size3.3 MB
Total Pages205
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Committee on the Restoration and Protection of Coastal Louisiana

Ocean Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies



Page 102



The LCA Study Planning Approach,
Modeling, and Project Selection Process


This chapter
• Addresses issues associated with the planning ap-

proaches proposed in the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA), Louisiana—
Ecosystem Restoration Study (LCA Study) to counter serious land
loss rates

• Examines past and proposed efforts to engage stakehold-

• Discusses models used in the project selection process
and identifies their strengths and weaknesses

• Examines the overall project selection process

In an area as vast and complex as the Louisiana coastal region, plan-
ning for restoration is a challenge. The fields of ecology, wetland science,
hydrology, geology, oceanography, computer modeling, engineering, so-
ciology, economics, political science, land-use planning, hazard mitiga-
tion, and law can make a contribution in defining the problem and pro-
viding possible solutions; therefore, these fields must be considered in the
design process.

Page 103



State Legal System and Issues

Planning takes place in the context of laws governing land-use and
property rights, as well as the institutional arrangements of federal, state,
and local government. Louisiana, by virtue of its history as a French
colony, has its law based on the Napoleonic Code rather than English
common law, which is found in the rest of the United States. In the En-
glish common law tradition, the judiciary acts as a check on both the ex-
ecutive and legislative branches, limiting their ability to alter contract and
property rights. Judges, in this system, use common practice and court
precedent to interpret laws. Napoleonic Code takes the civilian law ap-
proach, based on scholarly research and the intent of the lawmakers. The
French tradition is more comfortable with a centralized and activist gov-
ernment, limiting the judiciary’s role to ensuring that the will of the gov-
ernment is enforced (Benjamin, 2001). These differences in philosophy in-
fluence judicial decisions regarding compensation of landowners or other
aspects of citizen rights.

Most of coastal Louisiana is privately owned or at least subject to some
claim of private ownership (Davis, 2002). Much of the coastal land is
owned for its underlying minerals (i.e., oil and gas). However, Louisiana
claims ownership over navigable water bottoms including lands that have
been submerged through erosion or subsidence (U.S. Army Corps of En-
gineers, 2004a). According to the Louisiana Constitution (Article IX, Sec-
tion 3), owners of land contiguous to and abutting navigable waters
owned by the state “shall have the right to reclaim or recover land lost
through erosion, compaction, subsidence, or sea level rise occurring on or
after July 1, 1921. Such private efforts to restore or reclaim lost lands can
be made at any time” (Act 6, Louisiana Wetlands Conservation and Res-
toration Act, 1989; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004a). In the cases of
subsided interior marshes, the State of Louisiana does not assert or claim
ownership that it could, given the navigable standard.

Coastal restoration projects may impinge on private reclamation
rights. The Louisiana Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Act of 1989
provides “that [the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources] may en-
ter into negotiated boundary agreements with such disaffected landown-
ers to address the anticipated loss of their ownership and reclamation
rights” (Act 6, Louisiana Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Act,
1989; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004a) where the LCA Study is an-
ticipating creating land. It is still possible that when land emerges from
water bottoms claimed by Louisiana, the previous landowner may at-

Page 204

AEAM Adaptive Environmental Assessment and

CELSS Coastal Ecological Landscape Spatial Simulation

cm centimeter
Coast 2050 Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana
CWPPRA Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and

Restoration Act

DHI Danish Hydraulic Institute
draft LCA Louisiana Coastal Area, LA—Ecosystem Restoration:

Comprehensive Comprehensive Coastwide Ecosystem Restoration
Study Study

EPA Environmental Protection Agency

ft foot
FWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

in inch
IWR Institute of Water Resources

km kilometer
km2 square kilometer


Acronyms and Abbreviations


Page 205


LCA Study Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA), Louisiana—Ecosystem
Restoration Study

LERRD Land, easements, rights of way, relocation, and

m meter
m3 cubic meter
mi mile
mi2 square mile
mm millimeter
MRGO Mississippi River Gulf Outlet
mt metric ton

NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NRC National Research Council
NRCS National Resources Conservation Service
NTRC National Technical Review Committee

PEIS programmatic environmental impact statement
PMT program management team
POM Princeton Ocean Model
PPL project priority list

S&T science and technology
sec second

USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture
USGS U.S. Geological Survey

WRDA Water Resources Development Act

yd3 cubic yard
yr year

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