Baton Rouge, La. — Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) selected the Stantec Team to provide engineering, geotechnical, surveying, and other technical services for the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion project. This project is part of the Mississippi River Mid-Basin Sediment Diversion Program, which also includes the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.
These two projects will be the first controlled sediment diversions reconnecting the Mississippi River with its delta. A cornerstone of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan, these diversions will provide sediment, water, and nutrients to the basins in order to build, maintain, and sustain the wetlands, complementing the billions of dollars that have been or will be invested in coastal protection and restoration projects, such as marsh creation projects, which utilize Mississippi River dredging.
In October, 2017, CPRA issued a Request for Statement of Interest and Qualifications (RSIQ) to eligible firms interested in the engineering and design portion of this project. Two teams submitted written proposals and a selection committee evaluated these proposals. In January, 2018, CPRA conducted oral presentations with both teams.
“We were fortunate to have two high quality proposals making this an extremely competitive process. The State is confident Stantec will bring the local experience and global expertise needed to help us design a project that will be transformational for coastal Louisiana,” said CPRA Executive Director, Michael Ellis.
With approximately 22,000 employees working in over 400 locations across six continents, Stantec brings together diverse perspectives to collaborate for shared success. The global design firm received five awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) in 2017 — two honor awards and three national recognitions for its engineering projects. The company’s work begins at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships and ends with successful teamwork. Stantec has maintained a local presence for more than 28 years with offices in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and has implemented world-class engineering and design solutions throughout South Louisiana.
The Stantec Team will play a critical role in an innovative project delivery method known as Construction Management at Risk (CMAR). Under this model, CPRA will hire the construction contractor during the early design phase to collaborate with the project team on engineering, constructability, scheduling and costing. It is anticipated that CPRA will release a Request for Qualifications for CMAR services in the 1st quarter of 2019. Last summer, CPRA selected the AECOM Team to perform engineering services for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, which is slightly ahead of the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion in schedule. The Mid-Barataria CMAR Request for Qualifications is currently being advertised.
The Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion structure will be located in Plaquemines Parish, LA, north of the Mid-Barataria location on the east bank of the Mississippi River, near Wills Point, approximately at Mississippi River Mile 69. The diversion complex is anticipated to include an inlet channel, a gated structure at the Mississippi River Levee, a conveyance channel, outlet channel complex, interior drainage improvements, and highway accommodations.
Engineering and design of this project will begin immediately and run concurrently with the permitting process required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that is being led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction will begin soon after the engineering phase and the permitting process are complete.
Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan identifies sediment diversions as necessary projects to create a more sustainable coastal Louisiana landscape. The Barataria and Breton Basins are two areas that have experienced significant land loss due to sediment deprivation, hydrologic alteration, subsidence, sea level rise, and salt water intrusion. Since the Mississippi River was leveed in the 1930s, the Barataria and Breton Basins and Mississippi River Delta have lost approximately 700 square miles (or 447,000 acres) of land, representing one of the highest land loss rates in the world.
Louisiana’s continued land loss largely impacts our citizens, economy, commerce, infrastructure, and culture. Furthermore, the collapse of coastal Louisiana would negatively impact the entire country: Louisiana’s coast provides protection for infrastructure that supplies 90% of the nation’s outer continental oil and gas, 20% of the nation’s annual waterborne commerce, 26% (by weight) of the continental U.S. commercial fisheries landings, and winter habitat for five million migratory waterfowl. Sediment diversions will boost the local economy creating jobs for Louisiana citizens, reduce risk from hurricane storm surge, and preserve Louisiana’s infrastructure and culture.
To learn more, visit the program’s webpage at http://coastal.la.gov/our-work/key-initiatives/diversion-program/resources-get-involved.