The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is the state agency responsible for conducting scientific research and establishing a Coastal Master Plan for guiding policy and regulations in Louisiana.
Established in 2007 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is the single state entity with authority to chart a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration strategy to create a more sustainable Louisiana. This single state authority marshals the expertise and resources of many state agencies to speak with one clear voice for the future of Louisiana’s coast.
The Louisiana State Legislature charged CPRA with responsibility for “hurricane protection and the protection, conservation, restoration and enhancement of coastal wetlands and barrier shorelines or reefs” throughout southern Louisiana’s coastal zone, which is comprised of the contiguous areas subject to storm or tidal surge. CPRA responds to the root cause of Louisiana’s coastal crisis by pioneering the implementation of large-scale restoration plans that build coastal habitats and reconnect the river to its delta, as well as adopting a multiple-lines-of-defense strategy for increased coastal protection and community resiliency.
The devastating impacts of coastal land loss and storm-based flooding necessitates broad collaboration across all levels of government, private industries, non-governmental organizations, academics, community leaders and concerned citizens. In the public sector, CPRA works closely with many federal, state and local agencies on coastal issues. At the federal level, CPRA partners with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop and implement structural hurricane protection projects and a range of large-scale restoration activities. CPRA also work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Geologic Survey, National Park Service and others.
At the state level, CPRA’s activities are governed by the CPRA Board, which is chaired by the Governor’s Executive Assistant for Coastal Activities; board members are representatives from the state agencies, including the Departments of Natural Resources, Transportation and Development, Wildlife and Fisheries, Agriculture and Forestry, Economic Development, Environmental Quality and Insurance, as well as the Division of Administration, Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation, and Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Additionally, two executive board members of the Police Jury Association and three levee district presidents from coastal Louisiana are included.
At the local level, CPRA works with many local political entities, Tribal Councils, community groups, and non-governmental organizations to establish a safe and sustainable coast that protects Louisiana’s communities, the nation’s critical energy infrastructure, and the state’s bountiful natural resources for generations to come.
CPRA’s mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive, long-term coastal protection and restoration strategy through both Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast (Coastal Master Plan), a document with a 50-year planning horizon (updated every 5 years), and the Integrated Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana Annual Plan (updated yearly). The 2012 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan is one of the nation’s largest environmental planning efforts. The plan makes clear the state’s current and future land loss crisis and the innovative strategies that can start to rebuild the coast and enable communities to adapt to a changing landscape.
In addition to strategic regional planning, CPRA leads ground-breaking scientific research and modeling efforts, as well as develops and implements innovative protection and restoration projects. Currently, CPRA’s research is directed at cutting-edge studies on large-scale sediment diversions and initiating the development of a coast-wide nonstructural program. CPRA is also in the process of implementing $3 billion in projects ranging from structural hurricane protection measures to barrier island restoration, marsh creation, shoreline protection and oyster barrier reefs.