- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LEEVILLE, La. (AP) - A coastal restoration project aimed at an area of south Lafourche outside the levees is seeking federal support.

The Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1l0Bat5 ) the East Leeville Marsh Restoration and Nourishment Project is one of several local projects vying for federal money this year through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act.

It would be the first restoration project aimed at the tiny fishing and oilfield hub in the wetland.

Today’s Leeville is different from 100 years ago when the town bustled with trade in the shade of old oak trees. The hardwood, sprawling orchards and most of its population have been replaced by water and marsh.

The shrinking sliver of land that is today’s Leeville sits about 10 miles south of the parish’s ring levees. Flooding has become more frequent through the years, and today it’s home to a few dozen permanent residents.

Natural forces and industrial canals hastened the erosion of surrounding marshes. Water is always encroaching, submerging the town’s cemeteries, and a few days of stiff wind can push water to the road in places, said Don Griffin, owner of Griffin’s Marina in Leeville.

Janet Rhodus, of the nonprofit Launch Leeville organization nominated the restoration project during this year’s competition for federal money.

Generally, the act’s task force allocates between $30 million and $50 million for construction of coastal restoration projects each year.

The task force also allocates money annually for project planning and engineering - about $3 million from that is the aim of this year’s effort on the Leeville project, according to Patrick Williams, a fisheries biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, which is a co-sponsor of the project with the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

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Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com


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