This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-08-130 
entitled 'Coastal Wetlands: Lessons Learned from Past Efforts in 
Louisiana Could Help Guide Future Restoration and Protection' which was 
released on December 14, 2007. 

This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government Accountability 
Office (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as part 
of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. Every 
attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data integrity of 
the original printed product. Accessibility features, such as text 
descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes placed at the 
end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, are provided 
but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format of the printed 
version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an exact electronic 
replica of the printed version. We welcome your feedback. Please E-mail 
your comments regarding the contents or accessibility features of this 
document to Webmaster@gao.gov. 

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 
in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work 
may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the 
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this 
material separately. 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-08-130, a report to congressional addressees. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

Louisiana, home to 40 percent of all coastal wetlands in the lower 48 
states, is projected to lose almost 17 square miles of coastline each 
year for the next 50 years to storms, sea level rise, and land 
subsidence. Coastal wetlands are an important wildlife and commercial 
resource, and provide a natural buffer against the storm surge that 
accompanies storms and hurricanes. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) established a program in 1990 
that undertakes projects to stem coastal wetland losses. Recently, the 
Congress passed other measures that will make billions in new funding 
available for coastal Louisiana over the next 20 years.	 GAO has 
prepared this report under the Comptroller General’s authority as part 
of a continued effort to assist the Congress. GAO reviewed the CWPPRA 
program to identify the (1) types of projects that have been designed 
and constructed to restore and protect coastal wetlands, as well as 
their estimated costs and benefits, and (2) lessons learned from past 
and ongoing restoration efforts that can help guide future efforts. 
GAO’s review included interviews with each program agency. 

Although GAO is not making any recommendations, this review emphasizes 
the need for agencies to carefully consider the lessons learned from 
the CWPPRA program as they propose significantly larger efforts to 
restore Louisiana’s coast. GAO received technical comments from two 
agencies which have been incorporated as appropriate. 

What GAO Found: 

Over the last 17 years under CWPPRA, federal agencies and Louisiana 
have designed and/or constructed 147 projects to restore and protect 
over 120,000 acres of coastal wetlands—about 3 percent of the Louisiana 
coast.	Projects have included large-scale efforts that reintroduce 
freshwater and sediment to declining wetlands, as well as smaller 
projects such as shoreline barriers and vegetation plantings to protect 
and restore the coastal landscape. As of June 2007, of these 147 
projects, 74 were completely constructed, 16 were under construction, 
and 57 were being designed and engineered. While the majority of 
projects are full-scale restoration and protection efforts, 22 were 
demonstration projects, initiated to test new techniques and materials. 
The cost of projects can vary considerably from about $9,000 per acre 
to plant marsh plants to almost $54,000 per acre to restore barrier 
islands. As of June 2007, the estimated cost to complete all 147 
projects was $1.78 billion. Projects also require a continuous source 
of funding to maintain them over their expected life spans, which in 
most cases are about 20 years—yet like naturally occurring wetlands, 
most restored wetlands are also subject to continuous erosion and 
subsidence over time. Because the CWPPRA program has not implemented a 
comprehensive evaluation and monitoring approach, it is not possible to 
determine the collective success of constructed projects. 

Previous and ongoing efforts to restore and protect Louisiana’s coastal 
wetlands offer important lessons to guide future restoration plans and 
strategies. Of particular importance is maintaining the collaborative 
process used by the CWPPRA program agencies, under which scientists, 
engineers, and others with a range of experience and expertise work 
together to plan and design restoration projects that are feasible and 
achievable. In addition, a number of other issues will need to be 
addressed as larger and more complex restoration efforts are undertaken 
in the future.	Specifically, 

* Increasing project costs can delay individual projects, as well as 
the overall program—currently 10 CWPPRA projects are on hold waiting 
for funds because estimated construction costs exceed funds available. 

* Without an integrated monitoring system, officials cannot determine 
whether goals and objectives are being met—even after 4 years such a 
system is not fully implemented for CWPPRA. 

* Identifying and addressing private landowner issues is critical in 
the project design phase—in some instances, these issues have led to 
costly project modifications or construction delays for some CWPPRA 
projects. 

* Some projects simply fail to perform as designed due to landscape, 
structural, or other causes beyond the designers’ control—some CWPPRA 
projects were terminated because such problems were not anticipated or 
could not be resolved.	 

* Storms and hurricanes can result in significant setbacks to 
projects—large areas of both naturally occurring and restored wetlands 
can be destroyed in just a few days if hit by a powerful storm.	 A well-
developed implementation strategy that has mechanisms to address these 
types of uncertainties, when they arise, is more likely to be 
successful. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
[hyperlink, http://www.GAO-08-130]. For more information, contact Anu 
K. Mittal at (202) 512-3841 or mittala@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Report to Congressional Addressees: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

December 2007: 

Coastal Wetlands: 

Lessons Learned from Past Efforts in Louisiana Could Help Guide Future 
Restoration and Protection: 

Coastal Wetlands: 

GAO-08-130: 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

Various Projects Have Been Designed and Constructed to Restore and 
Protect Louisiana's Coastal Wetlands: 

Accomplishments and Challenges to Restoring Louisiana's Coastal 
Wetlands Provide Lessons Learned for Future Restoration Efforts: 

Concluding Observations: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: Summary Schedules of CWPPRA Projects: 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Commerce: 

GAO Comments: 

Appendix III: Comments from the Environmental Protection Agency: 

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Summary Schedule of CWPPRA Projects in Design and Engineering 
as of June 2007: 

Table 2: Summary Schedule of CWPPRA Projects under Construction as of 
June 2007: 

Table 3: Summary Schedule of CWPPRA Projects Completed as of June 2007: 

Table 4: Summary Schedule of CWPPRA Projects Terminated as of June 
2007: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Louisiana Coastal Area Projected Land Changes between 2000- 
2050: 

Figure 2: The Maurepas Swamp Before a River Reintroduction Project: 

Figure 3: Crevasse in a Sediment Diversion Project: 

Figure 4: Gate in an Outfall Management Project: 

Figure 5: Marsh Creation Project Using Dredged Material: 

Figure 6: Rock Berm Built for Shoreline Protection: 

Figure 7: Water Control Structure to Restore Drainage Patterns and 
Water Flow: 

Figure 8: Gates to Control Saltwater Levels: 

Figure 9: Barrier Islands: 

Figure 10: Native Marsh Plants: 

Figure 11: Terraces Built to Trap Sediment and Slow Water Flow: 

Figure 12: Constructing Terraces to Trap Sediment in Open Water: 

Figure 13: Nutria Overgraze on Native Wetland Plants: 

Figure 14: Organization of the CWPPRA Task Force: 

Abbreviations: 

CIAP: Coastal Impact Assistance Program: 
Corps: Army Corps of Engineers: 
CWPPRA: Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act: 
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency: 
FWS: Fish and Wildlife Service: 
NMFS: National Marine Fisheries Service: 
NRCS: Natural Resources Conservation Service: 
USGS: United States Geological Survey: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 
December 14, 2007: 

Congressional Addressees: 

Since the 1930s, coastal Louisiana has lost over 1.2 million acres of 
wetlands or other coastal habitats and the U.S. Geological Survey 
estimates that the region will continue to lose about 10,800 acres-- 
almost 17 square miles--each year for the next 50 years to storms, sea 
level rise, land subsidence (sinking), and the construction of levees 
and canals that weaken the sustainability of the landscape. Flood 
control structures, such as dams, have reduced the amount of suspended 
sediment in the Mississippi River and levees have disconnected the 
river from the floodplain, disrupting the natural process by which the 
river historically deposited sediment in the delta to build and sustain 
coastal wetlands. Coastal Louisiana is one of the most wetland-rich 
regions of the world--home to about 2.5 million acres of fresh, 
brackish, and saltwater marshes, accounting for about 40 percent of the 
coastal marshland in the lower 48 states. Wetlands support a diverse 
mix of plants and wildlife, filter rainwater runoff, and provide a 
natural buffer against the storm surges that accompany tropical storms 
and hurricanes. For example, based on observations of hurricanes 
striking the Louisiana coast, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
estimated that storm surge was reduced about 1 foot for every 2.75 
miles of coastal wetlands that the surge had to cross. Coastal wetland 
losses in Louisiana account for up to 90 percent of the total coastal 
wetlands loss occurring in the lower 48 states today and expose the 
state's coastal areas to the devastating effects of hurricane storm 
surges. It is generally accepted that the deterioration of Louisiana's 
coastal wetlands exacerbated the degree to which Hurricanes Katrina and 
Rita and flooding from the associated storm surge affected New Orleans, 
coastal Louisiana, and the greater Gulf Coast region. 

In 1990, the Congress passed the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection 
and Restoration Act (CWPPRA),[Footnote 1] the first federal program 
specifically directed toward authorizing funding for the restoration of 
Louisiana's coastal wetlands. CWPPRA created the Louisiana Coastal 
Wetlands: 

Conservation and Restoration Task Force, which includes five federal 
agencies and the state of Louisiana. The CWPPRA task force makes 
decisions on coastal restoration projects, including project funding, 
planning, and the transition of projects from initiation through design 
and engineering, construction, operations, maintenance, and monitoring. 
The CWPPRA task force assigns individual projects to member agencies--
called federal sponsors--to plan, design, construct, operate, maintain, 
and monitor the projects. As chair of the CWPPRA task force, the Corps 
manages project funds and maintains records and data on projects. The 
other task force members are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), 
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Natural Resources Conservation Service 
(NRCS), and the Louisiana Governor's Office of Coastal Activities. The 
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) also participates in the CWPPRA program, 
although it is not a member of the task force. 

CWPPRA projects are designed to protect and/or restore coastal wetlands 
and reduce land loss. Projects to protect coastal wetlands include 
constructing shoreline barriers with rocks, sheet piling, or other 
engineering materials to reduce the effects of wave energy and removing 
destructive invasive wildlife species such as nutria, a rodent that 
damages marsh vegetation. Protection is critical to preventing or 
slowing the rate of wetlands loss caused by erosion, saltwater 
intrusion, subsidence, and other factors. Projects to restore coastal 
wetlands include planting marsh vegetation to promote the return of 
wildlife, placing dredged sediment in deteriorating marshes to 
encourage plant growth, blocking or backfilling dredged canals that 
change natural water flows and contribute to erosion and allow 
saltwater intrusion, cutting gaps in levees to reestablish natural 
drainage patterns, and diverting freshwater and sediment to declining 
swamps and marshes. Individual CWPPRA projects are designed to protect 
and restore between 10 and 10,000 acres, require an average 5 years to 
transition from approval to construction, and are funded to operate for 
20 years. 

While the CWPPRA program has received almost $800 million over the last 
17 years to plan, design, construct, operate, maintain, and monitor 
projects, based on their preliminary estimates, Louisiana state 
officials told us that they expect to receive more than 10 times this 
funding--about $8.5 billion--for restoring and protecting the state's 
coast over the next 20 years from new federal programs. Specifically, 
they estimate that Louisiana will receive up to $523 million over 4 
years beginning in 2008 through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program 
(CIAP), which was created by Section 384 of the Energy Policy Act of 
2005.[Footnote 2] CIAP is intended to help certain coastal states and 
their political subdivisions (parishes and counties) mitigate the 
effects of oil and gas production by allocating a portion of qualified 
outer continental shelf oil and natural gas revenues to them. Among 
other things, these funds may be used for projects and activities to 
conserve, protect, or restore coastal areas, including projects 
designed and engineered under CWPPRA. In addition, based on their 
review of the provisions contained in the Gulf of Mexico Energy 
Security Act of 2006,[Footnote 3] Louisiana state officials told us 
they expect to receive up to $6.2 billion over at least 20 years from 
certain outer continental shelf oil and gas production revenue; 
specifically, $200 million in the first 10 years and between $400 and 
$600 million per year thereafter to fund efforts such as the 
restoration of coastal wetlands. Finally, the Water Resources 
Development Act of 2007[Footnote 4] contains provisions for over $1 
billion for coastal restoration in Louisiana. 

In anticipation of this potential surge in additional funding for the 
restoration and protection of the Louisiana coast, both Louisiana and 
the Corps, with input from other CWPPRA federal agencies, have prepared 
or are developing specific coastal restoration plans for the state. In 
June 2007, Louisiana approved a master plan for the restoration and 
protection of coastal Louisiana that officials estimate will cost more 
than $50 billion to implement and take up to three decades to complete. 
In response to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 
2006,[Footnote 5] the Corps is also conducting a study and plans to 
issue a preliminary report by December 2007 that will recommend a 
comprehensive approach to flood, coastal, and hurricane protection for 
Louisiana. In coastal Louisiana, flood control generally includes 
interior drainage systems, such as pumps and canals, to reduce rain- 
induced flooding while hurricane protection includes levees and other 
structures to reduce the risk of flooding from storm surges. Corps 
officials told us they plan to submit a final report to the Congress in 
the fall of 2008. 

In light of the importance of coastal wetlands to help protect against 
future Katrina-level devastation and the significant efforts under way 
or proposed to restore Louisiana's coastal wetlands, we undertook this 
study under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations 
on his own initiative as part of our continued effort to assist the 
Congress. Specifically, we identified the (1) types of CWPPRA projects 
that have been designed and/or constructed to restore and protect 
Louisiana's coastal wetlands, including their expected benefits and 
estimated costs, and (2) lessons learned from past and ongoing 
restoration efforts that can help guide future plans to restore and 
protect these coastal wetlands. 

To identify the types of projects that have been designed and/or 
constructed to restore and protect Louisiana's coastal wetlands, we 
reviewed documentation on every CWPPRA project in design, under 
construction, completed, or terminated, including project plans and 
designs, project manager's technical fact sheets, and monitoring plans 
and reports. We interviewed officials at the headquarters offices of 
the Corps (within the Department of Defense), EPA, FWS (an agency 
within the Department of the Interior), NMFS (an agency within the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NRCS (an agency 
within the Department of Agriculture), and USGS (an agency within the 
Department of the Interior), and interviewed officials working in 
Louisiana for each of these agencies. We also interviewed officials 
from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. We observed the 
work performed on three CWPPRA projects and two other restoration 
projects constructed by the Corps. To identify the lessons learned from 
past restoration efforts that can help guide future plans to restore 
and protect coastal wetlands, we reviewed program funding reports, 
minutes of task force and technical committee meetings, and Louisiana 
annual project reviews. We interviewed federal agency project managers 
and members of CWPPRA task force committees and work groups in 
Louisiana, as well as officials from USGS and the Louisiana Department 
of Natural Resources on the process to protect and restore coastal 
wetlands under CWPPRA. We also reviewed relevant federal laws and 
regulations and, where appropriate, state laws and cases. In conducting 
our work, we concentrated our efforts on the CWPPRA program because of 
the exceedingly high rate of wetlands loss in Louisiana and because the 
program is the first federal program specifically directed toward 
authorizing funding to restore Louisiana's coastal wetlands. We 
conducted our work between October 2006 and October 2007 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Results in Brief: 

Over the last 17 years under CWPPRA, federal agencies and Louisiana 
have designed and/or constructed a range of 147 projects to restore and 
protect over 120,000 acres of coastal wetlands, which is equivalent to 
about 3 percent of the state's coastal area. As of June 2007, of these 
147 projects, 74 were completely constructed, 16 were under 
construction, and 57 were being designed and engineered. These 147 
projects fall into about 12 major categories ranging from large-scale 
efforts that reintroduce freshwater and sediment across declining 
wetlands to smaller projects such as shoreline barriers and vegetation 
plantings to protect and restore the coastal landscape. The majority of 
projects were full-scale restoration and protection efforts, while 22 
were demonstration projects, initiated to test new techniques and 
materials to restore or protect coastal wetlands. Of the 74 projects 
constructed since 1990, more than half were one of two types--shoreline 
protection (building barriers from material such as rock or plants) and 
hydrologic restoration (restoring natural drainage patterns). These two 
types of projects also accounted for over one-quarter of the more than 
120,000 wetland acreage protected and restored by the CWPPRA program. 
The cost of CWPPRA projects can vary considerably; for example, 
projects to plant marsh plants have averaged about $9,000 per acre 
while projects to protect barrier islands have averaged almost $54,000 
per acre. As of June 2007, the total cost to complete all 147 projects 
was estimated at $1.78 billion, which includes initial funding for 
operations and maintenance. However, most projects will require 
continuous funding to maintain them over their expected life span of 20 
years. Like naturally occurring wetlands, restored wetlands can 
experience continuous erosion and subsidence, which over time generally 
diminishes the amount of restored acreage. As a result, most of these 
projects are designed with the expectation that they will provide 
wetland benefits for a 20-year period, after which they may or may not 
be viable. Because the CWPPRA program has not fully implemented a 
comprehensive monitoring process, we were unable to determine the 
extent to which the completed projects have been successful in creating 
and restoring coastal wetlands in Louisiana. 

Past and ongoing efforts to restore and protect Louisiana's coastal 
wetlands offer important lessons that can help guide future restoration 
plans and strategies. In particular, officials from Louisiana and the 
five federal agencies that have collaborated on Louisiana's coastal 
wetland projects through the CWPPRA task force told us they believe 
that the CWPPRA program's unique interagency approach and process are 
the primary reasons that the program has been able to design and 
construct a range of projects on the Louisiana coast. Specifically, the 
CWPPRA process brings together biologists, other scientists, civil 
engineers, and others, whose broad range of experience and expertise 
helps ensure that the projects they design and construct are 
technically feasible and will achieve their environmental objectives. 
To improve collaboration, the CWPPRA task force formed committees and 
technical work groups with members from federal agencies and Louisiana 
to assist each phase of the restoration process. Maintaining this 
collaborative interagency approach will be essential to future success. 
Ultimate success, however, will also be dependent upon a project 
managers' ability to address a number of issues that have surfaced on 
past CWPPRA projects. Specifically, 

* Increasing project costs. Over the life of a project, costs can 
increase significantly causing unanticipated delays for individual 
projects, as well as the overall restoration program. For CWPPRA 
projects, costs have increased significantly over original estimates 
because of the increasing costs of fuel, labor, and building material. 
As a result, fewer projects are being designed and constructed. For 
example, as of October 2007, there were 10 fully designed CWPPRA 
projects awaiting funding because the $190 million estimated cost for 
construction exceeded the amount of annual program funds available for 
new construction. Further, the funds were needed to pay for the higher 
construction, operations, and maintenance costs of other projects. 

* Limited monitoring and assessment capabilities. Without an integrated 
monitoring and assessment process, it is difficult to determine whether 
restoration efforts are meeting their goals and objectives. Further, 
while Louisiana officials have monitored and prepared reports for 
projects constructed under the CWPPRA program, task force and USGS 
officials told us their reports have provided limited performance data 
on the success of these projects. Since 2003, USGS has been working 
with the CWPPRA task force to develop a coast-wide monitoring system. 
The system is expected to be fully implemented in 2008. However, until 
the system is fully implemented and able to provide sufficient data to 
support statistical and trend analysis, officials will not know whether 
projects are collectively restoring the coast or whether these efforts 
are having adverse unintended effects. 

* Private land ownership issues. During a project's planning and design 
phase, it is important to identify and attend to private land ownership 
issues which, if not addressed, could lead to costly design 
modifications or construction delays. Coastal Louisiana is about 85 
percent privately owned by individuals and businesses. Agency officials 
have had to spend significant amounts of time locating individual 
landowners to obtain approval to construct CWPPRA projects. For 
example, agency officials told us they had to contact from 1 to 100 
landowners to obtain approval to initiate one project. To construct 
projects on commercially owned lands, federal agencies have had to 
relocate or temporarily move infrastructure which has, in some 
instances, significantly increased CWPPRA project costs. 

* Uncertainty of project performance. Some projects simply fail to 
perform as designed for reasons largely beyond the designers' control, 
such as existing drainage patterns or other landscape features. Over 
the years, about 20 CWPPRA projects have had to be terminated due to, 
in some cases, technical difficulties and design problems that the 
designers could not resolve. For example, officials terminated a 
terracing project after concluding that it would not be technically 
feasible to construct terraces on the land due to poor sediment 
quality. 

* Setbacks as a result of storm damage. Storms and hurricanes can cause 
significant damage to coastal areas, including both naturally occurring 
and restored wetlands. Although most CWPPRA projects did not sustain 
significant damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, other Louisiana 
coastal restoration projects were significantly impacted by the storms. 
Specifically, Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 25,000 acres of 
wetlands in the Caernarvon Project area, a large Corps' project 
constructed in 1991 that diverts water from the Mississippi River to 
restore nearby wetlands. 

As federal and state planners move forward with much larger scale 
efforts to protect and restore Louisiana's coastal wetlands, we believe 
that it will be critical for them to carefully consider the lessons 
learned, both the keys to success and the challenges, from the 
experiences of CWPPRA projects. As the CWPPRA experience demonstrates, 
while not all of the uncertainties surrounding wetlands protection and 
restoration projects can be predicted in advance, a well-developed 
project implementation strategy that includes mechanisms to address 
these kinds of uncertainties is essential for ensuring project success. 

We provided a copy of this report to the Departments of Commerce, 
Defense, Interior, EPA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 
review and comment. In commenting on a draft of this report, EPA 
provided comments indicating agreement with our findings and 
observations. The Department of Commerce, commenting for the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, generally agreed that our 
report was accurate and thorough but disagreed with our 
characterization of CWPPRA monitoring. Specifically, the agency stated 
that while long term data acquisition will be required before officials 
are able to develop scientific conclusions on integrated project 
effectiveness, it emphasized that individual project monitoring 
currently taking place offers critical insights into project 
performance. While we believe that our description of CWPPRA monitoring 
efforts was accurate, we have revised the report to clarify some of the 
issues included in the agency's comments. Both the Department of 
Commerce and Department of Defense also provided technical comments, 
which we have incorporated throughout the report as appropriate. The 
Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture did 
not provide comments on this report. 

Background: 

Coastal Louisiana's 2.5 million acres of fresh, brackish, and saltwater 
marshes support a diverse mix of plants and wildlife, filter rainwater 
runoff, and help protect the region from damaging storm surges from the 
Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana's coastal landscape provides a habitat for 
millions of migratory birds and 17 threatened or endangered species and 
supports the largest shrimp, oyster, and blue crab production in the 
United States. Its coastal wetlands also protect coastal regions and 
critical infrastructure, such as oil and gas platforms and pipelines, 
from the storm surges that accompany tropical storms and hurricanes. 

The Louisiana coast has lost over 1 million acres of wetlands since the 
1930s and that loss is expected to continue. In 2004, USGS projected 
that, between 2000 and 2050, more than 430,000 acres, or about 13 
square miles per year, would be lost if no further protection and 
restoration measures are implemented. If current plans to protect and 
restore the wetlands were implemented,[Footnote 6] USGS estimated 
wetlands losses would slow to 329,000 acres, or just over 10 square 
miles per year, by 2050. (See fig. 1.) 

Figure 1: Louisiana Coastal Area Projected Land Changes between 2000- 
2050: 

This figure is a map of the Louisiana Coastal area projected land 
changes between 2000-2050. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Since the 2005 hurricanes, estimated land loss rates are being revised, 
in part, to reflect the immediate land loss caused by the storms and 
estimated rates of recovery. According to a USGS official, up to 16.9 
square miles of coastal wetlands may be lost each year over the next 50 
years, assuming no future protection and restoration measures are 
implemented. 

In addition to the storms, sea level rise, and land subsidence 
(sinking) that have contributed to and continue to cause coastal 
wetlands loss, the construction of levees and canals, such as the 
hundreds of miles of Mississippi River levees constructed to control 
flooding, also weaken the sustainability of the landscape and 
contribute to coastal wetlands loss. Flood control structures such as 
dams on Mississippi River tributaries and levees on the lower 
Mississippi River have disrupted the natural processes by which the 
river deposited sediment in the delta to build and sustain coastal 
wetlands. Specifically, dams and levees reduce the amount of suspended 
sediment in the river, which reduces the amount of sediment reaching 
the Mississippi River delta--the area of land built up by sediment 
deposited by the river as it slows down and enters the Gulf of Mexico. 
Currently the Mississippi River delivers an estimated 141 million tons 
of sediment to the Gulf each year--less than one-third the amount of 
sediment the river carried prior to the 1950s and including but not 
limited to, the hundreds of miles of levees along the Mississippi River 
and its tributaries constructed to reduce flood damage, also impact the 
sustainability of the landscape and contribute to coastal wetlands 
loss. Much of the sediment that reaches the Gulf is carried away from 
the land and deposited over the continental shelf where it is lost to 
the ocean and cannot be recovered. 

Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act: 

CWPPRA was originally enacted in November 1990, and it authorized 
funding through 1999.[Footnote 7] The Congress subsequently extended 
the program's funding authority through 2009 and later through 2019 
providing about 30 years of funding for the program. Federal funding 
for the CWPPRA program currently comes from the Sport Fish Restoration 
and Boating Trust Fund (Trust Fund), which is administered by the 
Department of the Interior and funded by taxes on the sale of motor 
boat fuel, small engine fuel taxes, and sport fishing equipment. 
Federal funding for the engineering, design, construction, operation, 
maintenance, and monitoring of CWPPRA projects has averaged 
approximately $50 million each year, ranging from about $28 million per 
year in the early 1990s to $71 million in 2007. Task force officials 
told us they expect to receive an estimated $76 million in federal 
funds in 2008 and annual increases each year up to an estimated $108 
million in federal funds by 2017, based on Department of the Interior's 
estimates of increases to the Trust Fund, the source of federal funding 
for the CWPPRA program. Total estimated funding for all program 
planning and construction through 2019 is $2.44 billion in federal and 
nonfederal funds. 

Under CWPPRA, the federal government generally is required to fund 75 
percent of project costs, with the state providing the remaining 25 
percent. However, according to CWPPRA, Louisiana's share may be reduced 
if the state develops a coastal wetlands conservation plan. In 1997, 
the Corps, EPA, and FWS approved Louisiana's conservation plan so the 
states' contribution was reduced from 25 percent to 15 percent. 
Further, in 1996, the Water Resources Development Act authorized the 
task force to reduce the states' contribution to 10 percent for 
projects approved in 1996 and 1997. At least one-third of Louisiana's 
share must be in the form of a cash contribution; the balance may be in 
the form of providing lands, easements, rights-of-way, or other in-kind 
contributions that the CWPPRA agency sponsor determines to be 
appropriate, such as designing and engineering projects. Under CWPPRA, 
no more than $5 million per year may be used for task force planning 
purposes; the remainder must be used for the design, construction, 
operation, maintenance, and monitoring of projects. 

Under the CWPPRA program, the annual process to nominate candidate 
projects typically begins around January when federal CWPPRA agencies 
and the state meet with local governments and individuals to propose 
protection and restoration measures to address critical areas of need. 
In February, the CWPPRA agencies meet with other stakeholders, such as 
state and parish officials, to review proposals and select up to 20 
projects for potential development. From these, the task force's 
technical committee selects 10 projects for potential engineering and 
design, designates a lead federal agency to begin developing designs 
and cost estimates, and evaluates the potential benefits of these 
projects. For each project, agency officials provide an estimate of how 
many wetland acres will be created, restored, and/or protected after 20 
years based on the proposed design and assumptions, such as anticipated 
changes in water flow or salinity. After project designs and estimates 
are prepared, the various CWPPRA work groups meet to review and 
evaluate proposed project plans, preliminary cost estimates, and 
projected benefits, and to estimate life-cycle costs for proposed 
projects. Based on this set of conceptual project planning information, 
the task force selects a subset of candidate projects, typically in 
October of each year, to begin engineering and design. Around the 
following January, the task force approves funding for certain projects 
that have completed engineering and design to begin construction, 
operations, maintenance and monitoring. Project implementation averages 
about 5 years from the time candidate projects are selected through the 
completion of construction. Following construction, Louisiana typically 
operates, maintains, and monitors the performance of projects for up to 
20 years. 

CWPPRA requires that the task force also consider funding small-scale 
projects that demonstrate the use of new techniques or materials for 
coastal wetlands restoration. In 1993, the task force recommended that 
funding for demonstration projects be limited to about $2 million per 
year. In 2006, concerned that funding constraints would eliminate 
demonstration projects, the task force recommended that it consider 
funding at least one demonstration project per year as long as 
demonstration projects do not exceed $2 million in total costs. The 
task force also funds monitoring for demonstration projects. 

As chair of the CWPPRA task force, the Corps is responsible for the 
administration of federal program funds. Based on documentation 
submitted by federal agencies, the Corps disburses funds from the Trust 
Fund, as well as the states' share from an escrow account to pay for 
the planning, design, construction, operations, maintenance, and 
monitoring of projects. Louisiana and federal agencies also fund 
individual projects through cost sharing agreements, cooperative 
agreements, or grants that outline approved project cost estimates, 
federal and state cost shares, and how the states' cost share payments 
will be made, such as through work-in-kind or cash payments. 

Additional Funding to Restore and Protect Louisiana Coastal Wetlands 
Will Become Available over the Next 20 Years: 

Two new federal programs are expected to provide billions of dollars in 
additional funding for the restoration and protection of coastal 
Louisiana. Taken together, Louisiana expects to receive between $6.5 
billion and $8.5 billion over at least 20 years from these new programs 
to fund coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects. These 
new programs are: 

* Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). The Energy Policy Act of 
2005 established CIAP, a revenue-sharing program to help coastal states 
and their parishes and counties mitigate the effects of oil and gas 
production.[Footnote 8] Under this program, the Secretary of the 
Interior is required to disburse $250 million each year for 4 years 
(fiscal years 2007 through 2010) to certain coastal states based on an 
allocation formula specified in the law.[Footnote 9] Funds for the 
program will come from qualified outer continental shelf oil and 
natural gas revenue. States must submit a plan to the Department of the 
Interior's Minerals Management Service by July 1, 2008, which must be 
approved in order for states to receive CIAP funds. States may use CIAP 
funds for projects and activities to conserve, protect, or restore 
coastal areas, and for certain other purposes. In February 2007, 
Louisiana state officials estimated they would receive up to $523 
million over 4 years from CIAP. In June 2007, Louisiana submitted its 
plan to the Minerals Management Service and plans to fund the 
construction of six CWPPRA projects using the first year of CIAP funds. 
In July, Louisiana state officials told us they expected to receive the 
first funds beginning in 2008. On November 29, 2007, the Minerals 
Management Service approved Louisiana's plan. 

* Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006. Under this law, four 
coastal, energy-producing states--Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and 
Texas--and their parishes and counties will share 37.5 percent of 
certain revenues from royalties from the production of oil and natural 
gas in the Gulf of Mexico.[Footnote 10] They may use the funding for 
such efforts as coastal restoration and hurricane protection. Under 
this program, Louisiana expects to receive $200 million over the course 
of the first 10 years and between $400 and $600 million per year 
thereafter. Louisiana state officials told us the state expects to 
receive the first funds under this act in 2008 or 2009. 

In addition, the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 included 
authorizations for hundreds of projects and studies, including about 
$1.6 billion for the Corps to construct coastal Louisiana restoration 
projects. At least one of the projects contained in the law was 
engineered and designed under the CWPPRA program. 

In response to the 2005 hurricanes, both the state of Louisiana and the 
Corps began developing coastal restoration plans for the state, which 
are expected to be paid for, in part, with this additional funding. The 
following are summaries of these two plans: 

* Louisiana's Plan. In June 2007, the Louisiana state legislature 
approved a comprehensive master plan, developed by a state agency, for 
ecosystem restoration and hurricane protection for the Louisiana coast. 
The plan is based on previous hurricane protection initiatives and 
established flood control and coastal restoration concepts. It outlines 
several planning objectives and makes a series of recommendations such 
as restoring the sustainability of the Mississippi River delta, 
immediately closing the Mississippi River gulf outlet, and it suggests 
strategies to provide greater hurricane protection to coastal 
Louisiana. The plan acknowledges challenges and trade-offs, such as the 
likelihood that not every coastal community will receive the same level 
of hurricane protection. It also acknowledges certain technical 
unknowns, such as how to balance the effects of protection projects, 
such as levees, with restoration projects, such as diversions and marsh 
restoration. Although final cost estimates have not been developed, 
Louisiana officials estimate that the plan will cost more than $50 
billion over several decades. In April 2007, the state released its 
2008 annual plan for the restoration and protection of coastal 
Louisiana that estimated it would cost $1.07 billion to implement the 
first 3 years (2008 through 2010) of the state's master plan. 

* The Corps' Plan. The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act 
of 2006 required the Corps to conduct a study and recommend a 
comprehensive approach to flood, coastal, and hurricane protection for 
Louisiana. To prepare its report, the Corps is conducting a series of 
public meetings to discuss alternative proposals to restore and protect 
areas of need. The Corps is also working with other federal agencies 
and Louisiana to identify cost, performance, and risks for each 
alternative proposal. In July 2007, Corps officials told us they plan 
to submit a preliminary report to the Congress by December 2007 and a 
final report in the fall of 2008. 

Various Projects Have Been Designed and Constructed to Restore and 
Protect Louisiana's Coastal Wetlands: 

Over the last 17 years under CWPPRA, federal agencies and Louisiana as 
of June 2007 have designed and/or constructed 147 projects to restore 
and protect more than 120,000 acres of coastal wetlands--about 3 
percent of the Louisiana coast. The total cost of these projects is 
estimated to be about $1.78 billion. Although costs vary significantly 
between project types, many projects are generally expected to erode 
and subside over time, as a result of naturally occurring hydrologic 
and geologic processes. 

The various types of CWPPRA projects that have been designed and/or 
constructed to protect and/or restore coastal wetlands include the 
following: 

Freshwater reintroduction. Freshwater reintroduction projects move 
water through a gate, siphon, or pump to drain water from a body of 
water, such as the Mississippi River, to a nearby area of declining 
wetlands or marsh. The water carries some sediment and nutrients and 
helps slow saltwater intrusion, which in turn slows the loss of marsh 
and creates a small amount of new marsh. For example, the River 
Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project sponsored by EPA is designed 
to restore and protect a deteriorated swampland by reintroducing 
Mississippi River water, along with sediment and nutrients, into the 
nearby Maurepas Swamp (see fig. 2) and protect 5,438 acres of wetlands. 
EPA has been developing the project since August 2001, but construction 
is not expected to begin until June 2009. As of June 2007, federal 
agencies and Louisiana were designing and engineering eight projects to 
reintroduce freshwater to nearby wetlands or marsh. 

Figure 2: The Maurepas Swamp Before a River Reintroduction Project: 

This figure is a photograph of the Maurepas Swamp before a river 
reintroduction project. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Sediment diversion. Sediment diversion projects redirect sediment to 
nearby wetlands to promote natural land-building processes. A gap, 
called a crevasse, (see fig. 3) is cut into a river levee, allowing 
river water, nutrients, and sediment to flow into a marshland. The 
uncontrolled diversion (where water is allowed to flow freely and is 
not controlled by a dam or lock) is designed to create new marsh in 
shallow water. For example, the Corps constructed the West Bay Sediment 
Diversion project in November 2003 to restore wetlands in shallow open 
water by adding sediment that will restore 9,831 acres of marshlands. 
As of June 2007, federal agencies and Louisiana were designing and 
engineering seven projects and had completed five projects to divert 
sediment to nearby wetlands. 

Figure 3: Crevasse in a Sediment Diversion Project: 

This figure is a photograph of Crevasse in a sediment diversion 
project. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Outfall management. Outfall management projects work together with 
freshwater reintroduction or sediment diversion projects. They use a 
variety of techniques to control the flow of water and sediment through 
a combination of gates, locks, weirs, canal plugs, and gaps cut in 
artificial levee banks (see fig. 4). For example, the Caernarvon 
Diversion Outfall Management project completed by NRCS in June 2002 is 
designed to restore 802 acres of wetlands by promoting better sediment 
and nutrient flow from an existing Corps sediment diversion project 
along the Mississippi River. As of June 2007, federal agencies and 
Louisiana were designing and engineering one project and had completed 
two projects to manage the flow of water and sediment. 

Figure 4: Gate in an Outfall Management Project: 

This figure is a photograph of a gate in an outfall management project. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Marsh creation. Marsh creation projects restore and protect marshlands 
using sediment material from river dredging projects or material 
dredged specifically to create a marsh. The dredged material is placed 
in open water and/or on declining wetlands to raise land levels so that 
marsh plants will become established to form new marsh (see fig. 5). 
For example, the Corps constructed the Bayou LaBranche Wetland Creation 
project in April 1994 by depositing 2.7 million cubic yards of sediment 
dredged from Lake Pontchartrain into open water areas to create 203 
acres of new marsh. As of June 2007, federal agencies and Louisiana 
were designing and engineering 12 projects, constructing 3 projects, 
and had completed 7 projects to create marshlands. 

Figure 5: Marsh Creation Project Using Dredged Material: 

This figure is a photograph of a marsh creation project using dredged 
material. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Shoreline protection. Shoreline protection projects are designed to 
slow or stop shoreline erosion. Some techniques, such as rock berms 
(see fig. 6), are built along eroding shorelines to reduce the effect 
of waves on the shore. Other techniques, such as breakwaters and 
intertidal dikes, are built in open water to slow waves before they 
reach the shoreline. For example, NRCS constructed the Boston Canal/ 
Vermilion Bay Bank Protection project in November 1995 by creating 
1,400 feet of rock dikes and 1,000 feet of fence to protect and trap 
sediment for land building. As of June 2007, federal agencies and 
Louisiana were designing and engineering 13 projects, constructing 3 
projects, and had completed 23 projects to protect shorelines from 
erosion. 

Figure 6: Rock Berm Built for Shoreline Protection: 

This figure is a photograph of rock berm built for shoreline 
protection. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

Hydrologic restoration. Hydrologic restoration projects are designed to 
restore natural drainage patterns and water flow. Gates, locks, or 
sheet pile dams (see fig. 7) are constructed along rivers and other 
major waterways to change water flow. For example, FWS designed the 
East Sabine Lake Hydrologic Restoration project that will use various 
structures, such as a culvert and terraces, to restore and protect 225 
acres of marshes by controlling saltwater entering the project area 
from nearby waterways. Project design began in January 2001 and 
construction is expected to be completed by July 2008. As of June 2007, 
federal agencies and Louisiana were designing and engineering 6 
projects, constructing 3 projects, and had completed 18 projects to 
restore hydrologic patterns and flows. 

Figure 7: Water Control Structure to Restore Drainage Patterns and 
Water Flow: 

This figure is a photograph is a water control structure to restore 
drainage patterns and water flow. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Marsh management. Marsh management projects are designed to provide a 
healthy ecosystem for waterfowl and animals. For example, projects to 
control and maintain fresh and saltwater levels promote the growth of 
native vegetation and help restore wildlife habitat. NRCS' East Mud 
Lake Marsh Management project, constructed in June 1996, uses gates to 
control and maintain saltwater levels to manage over 8,000 acres of 
open water and salt marsh and to restore 1,520 acres of marshland (see 
fig. 8). As of June 2007, federal agencies and Louisiana had completed 
one project to manage marshlands. 

Figure 8: Gates to Control Saltwater Levels: 

This figure is a photograph of gates used to control saltwater levels. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Barrier island restoration. Barrier island restoration projects are 
designed to protect and restore Louisiana's barrier islands--small 
island chains separated from the mainland by open water that provide 
the first line of defense from hurricanes and storm surge (see fig. 9). 
These projects include adding dredged material to expand barrier 
islands' height and width, building structures to protect barrier 
islands from erosion, and erecting sand-trapping fences and planting 
native vegetation to strengthen sand dunes on barrier island beaches. 
For example, the Barataria Barrier Island: Pelican Island and Pass La 
Mer to Chaland Pass project sponsored by NMFS is designed to construct 
484 acres of sand dunes and marshes and plant them with native plants. 
The project began in 2002 and construction completed on the Pass La Mer 
to Chaland Pass portion of the project in December 2006. As of June 
2007, federal agencies and Louisiana were designing and engineering 
five projects, constructing four projects, and had completed five 
projects to restore barrier islands. 

Figure 9: Barrier Islands: 

This figure is a photograph of barrier islands. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Vegetation planting. Vegetation planting projects use native marsh 
plants (see fig. 10) to reduce erosion, hold soil firmly in place, and 
expand/improve wildlife habitats. For example, NMFS constructed the 
Chandeleur Islands Marsh Restoration project in July 2001 after the 
storm surge resulting from Hurricane Georges in 1998 reduced the 
Chandeleur Islands by 40 percent. The project is designed to restore 
220 acres of barrier islands using native plants to help trap sediment. 
As of June 2007, federal agencies and Louisiana were designing and 
engineering one project and had completed five projects to plant 
vegetation. 

Figure 10: Native Marsh Plants: 

This figure is a photograph of native marsh plants. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

Terracing. Terracing projects involve building low ridges in open 
water, usually in patterns, to slow water flow and trap sediment for 
marsh creation (see fig. 11). For example, NMFS' Little Vermilion Bay 
Sediment Trapping project constructed in August 1999 has 23 terraces 
about 3 and ½ feet above sea level in an area covering almost 1,000 
acres of mostly open water to capture sediment previously lost to high 
winds and waves and to restore 441 acres of wetlands. The project is 
also expected to improve wildlife habitat and allow access for 
recreational fishing. As of June 2007, federal agencies and Louisiana 
were designing and engineering one project and had completed three 
projects to construct terraces for marsh creation. 

Figure 11: Terraces Built to Trap Sediment and Slow Water Flow: 

This figure is a  of terraces build to trap sediment and slow water 
flow. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Sediment and nutrient trapping. Sediment and nutrient trapping projects 
use brush fences or low land ridges (also called terraces as discussed 
above) to slow water flow and promote the buildup of sediment in 
shallow water to restore wetlands (see fig. 12). For example, NMFS 
completed the Four Mile Canal Terracing and Sediment Trapping project 
in May 2004 using material dredged from nearby waterways to create over 
68,000 feet of terraces in open shallow water. NMFS also planted native 
grass on top of the terraces to help secure the dredged soil and reduce 
erosion. As of June 2007, federal agencies and Louisiana were designing 
and engineering one project and had completed three projects to trap 
sediment and nutrients. 

Figure 12: Constructing Terraces to Trap Sediment in Open Water: 

This figure is a photograph of construction of terraces to trap 
sediment in open water. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

Invasive species control programs. Invasive species control programs 
pay licensed trappers or hunters to harvest non-native animals, such as 
nutria (see fig. 13), brought to the United States from South America 
during the 1930s for the fur trade. Nutria damage marshlands by 
overgrazing on wetland plants. NRCS introduced the Coastwide Nutria 
Control Program in November 2002 that paid licensed trappers $4 for 
each nutria tail delivered to a collection center. In 2005, almost 
300,000 nutria were caught and killed under this program. As of June 
2007, federal agencies and Louisiana were conducting one project and 
had completed another project to manage programs for the control of 
invasive species. 

Figure 13: Nutria Overgraze on Native Wetland Plants: 

This figure is a photograph of nutria overgraze on native wetland 
plants. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: USGS. 

[End of figure] 

In addition to these projects, four projects are not construction-type 
projects but are plans or small funds under CWPPRA to support coastal 
restoration efforts. These four projects are the Storm Recovery 
Assessment Fund, the Monitoring Contingency Fund, the State of 
Louisiana Wetlands Conservation Plan, and the Coastwide Reference 
Monitoring System for Wetlands. 

Estimated Cost for CWPPRA Projects That Restore and Protect about 
120,000 Acres of Coastal Wetlands Is $1.78 Billion: 

As of June 2007, federal agencies and Louisiana have designed and/or 
constructed 147 projects under CWPPRA to protect and restore 121,109 
acres of coastal wetlands at an estimated cost of $1.78 billion. 
Between fiscal years 1992 and 2007, the CWPPRA program has received 
approximately $794 million, $714 million of which has been provided for 
the construction of projects, and $80 million of which has been 
provided for other program activities such as planning. As of June 
2007, $356 million had been spent and $616 million had been obligated. 

Of the 147 projects designed and/or constructed, 74 were completely 
constructed, 16 were under construction, and 57 were being designed and 
engineered. (See app. I for detailed information on each of the 147 
CWPPRA projects.) Shoreline protection projects (building barriers from 
rock or plants) and hydrologic restoration projects (returning areas to 
their natural drainage patterns) made up more than half of the 90 
projects that were completed or under construction and accounted for 
more than one-quarter of the wetland acreage protected and restored 
under CWPPRA. Shoreline protection and marsh creation projects 
accounted for about half of the 57 projects still being designed and 
engineered, or about one-fifth of the acreage planned for restoration. 

Of the 147 projects, 22 were demonstration projects, initiated to test 
new techniques or materials to restore or protect coastal wetlands, and 
more than half of these were to test new designs for shoreline 
protection or marsh creation. For example, in 1997, NRCS constructed 
eight breakwaters next to a barrier island to demonstrate the 
effectiveness and feasibility of using multiple breakwaters to reduce 
shoreline erosion on barrier islands and assess their potential for use 
in future barrier island restoration projects. NRCS officials concluded 
that the eight breakwaters have reduced shoreline erosion and increased 
land coverage over the effected area. 

In addition to the projects designed and constructed since 1990, the 
CWPPRA task force has terminated 20 projects for various reasons but 
most often due to problems associated with land rights, technical 
difficulties, and project cost-effectiveness. (See app. I for detailed 
information about the 20 terminated projects.) For example, an EPA 
project to create a marsh using dredged sediment was terminated in 2005 
because of problems with land rights and technical difficulties 
building the marshland and finding the sediment. Similarly, a NMFS 
project to restore a marshland was terminated in 1998 when officials 
determined the project area was so degraded that the project design was 
not cost-effective. Most project terminations took place in the first 
10 years of the CWPPRA program, whereas just 3 projects have been 
terminated in the past 5 years. As of June 2007, however, 17 projects 
were delayed due to problems such as land rights, oyster leases, and 
uncertain benefits of the project design, and CWPPRA officials told us 
that some of these projects may also be terminated if these issues 
cannot be resolved. 

Project Costs Vary Significantly, and Most Restored Wetlands Are 
Generally Expected to Erode over Time: 

The cost of CWPPRA projects varies considerably by project type, and 
most projects require a continuous source of funding to maintain them 
and ensure that they will deliver benefits over their expected 
lifetime. Projects to plant marsh plants have averaged about $9,000 per 
acre, while projects to restore barrier islands have averaged more than 
$54,000 per acre. Some projects, such as freshwater reintroduction 
projects, have averaged $11,400 per acre because they covered a larger 
area and only required the construction of structures, such as culverts 
and gates. In contrast, officials said freshwater reintroduction 
projects are relatively less expensive to operate and cost little to 
maintain because they are generally self-sustaining. 

Most CWPPRA projects are generally designed to be maintained in a 
manner that will protect wetlands and reduce land loss for a 20-year 
period. Maintenance activities may include replacing rock on a 
shoreline protection project and repairing routine damage to 
structures, such as a small dam, on a hydrologic restoration project. 
As of September 2007, the CWPPRA task force plans to spend an estimated 
$265 million on operations and maintenance over the life of projects 
currently in design, under construction, and completed. Despite these 
maintenance efforts, restored and protected acreage is also subject to 
the effects of rising seas, subsidence, and erosion that are 
experienced by naturally occurring wetlands. As a result, most restored 
and protected wetlands also are generally expected to lose acreage over 
time, particularly areas that experience high waves from the Gulf, such 
as restored barrier islands. In some cases, these natural effects 
preclude the feasibility of certain maintenance. For example, federal 
agencies may add vegetation or replace sand fences to maintain barrier 
island restoration projects, but they do not add dredged material to 
repair erosion. According to agency officials, the high cost of 
replenishing dredged material on these projects, and the high rate of 
erosion caused by waves from the Gulf of Mexico, make this kind of 
maintenance impractical. While barrier islands are expected to continue 
to erode, agency officials told us that protecting these islands 
provides a certain level of protection to developed areas and marshes 
behind the islands, even if only for the short term. 

Accomplishments and Challenges to Restoring Louisiana's Coastal 
Wetlands Provide Lessons Learned for Future Restoration Efforts: 

Past efforts to restore and protect Louisiana's coastal wetlands offer 
important lessons that can help guide future restoration plans and 
strategies. In particular, agency officials attributed the CWPPRA 
program's progress in restoring and protecting wetlands primarily to 
the effective interagency collaboration that exists among the 
participating agencies. However, the CWPPRA program has also faced 
several challenges such as increasing project costs, limited capability 
to monitor project effectiveness, and the need to acquire private 
landowner rights, which are likely to be issues that will extend to the 
larger and more complex restoration efforts currently being planned. 

Agency Officials Consider an Interagency Structure and Collaborative 
Process a Key to Restoring Coastal Wetlands: 

Officials from Louisiana and the five CWPPRA agencies that have 
collaborated on Louisiana's coastal wetlands projects generally told us 
they believe that the CWPPRA program's unique interagency approach and 
processes have been critical to designing and constructing a range of 
projects in the region. To improve collaboration, the CWPPRA task force 
formed committees and technical work groups with members from the 
federal agencies and Louisiana to assist in each phase of restoration 
development and implementation. (See fig. 14 for the organization of 
the CWPPRA task force.) The multiagency task force, along with its 
committees and work groups, brings together biologists, other 
scientists, civil engineers, economists, and other technical experts to 
provide the collective experience and expertise needed to review 
project cost estimates, designs, schedules, and work plans. 

Figure 14: Organization of the CWPPRA Task Force: 

This figure is a chart showing the organization of the CWPPRA task 
force. Environmental Work Group, Engineering Work Group, Economics Work 
Group, and Monitoring Work Group are all side by side on the bottom of 
the chart, with Task Force, Technical Committee, Planning & Evaluation 
Subcommittee stacked above the bottom line. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

Through semiannual budgetary task force meetings, the members review 
and approve projects to begin design or construction. Officials told us 
that this review process has been critical to designing and 
constructing projects that are cost-effective, environmentally sound, 
and technically feasible. For example, during a project's design phase, 
agency officials present project design proposals to the environmental 
and engineering work groups for review and comment on the feasibility 
of the design, the validity of the assumptions, and strategies for 
success. The task force also requires reviews at various points during 
a project's development, particularly during the early stages of 
project design and again when design is nearing completion. During 
these reviews, federal agency and Louisiana officials meet to review 
and discuss project designs, cost estimates, and restoration benefits. 
Some CWPPRA officials told us that these project design reviews are key 
to resolving potential problems and identifying project cost growth as 
early as possible. 

In November, the Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act of 
2007 which includes authorizations for various Corps projects and 
studies for the restoration of coastal Louisiana. This act also 
established a task force comprised of representatives from nine federal 
agencies and Louisiana to make recommendations to the Secretary of the 
Army on plans and programs for the protection and restoration of the 
Louisiana coast. The act authorizes the task force to establish working 
groups--similar to those used by the CWPRRA task force--to integrate 
the planning, design, and implementation of various Corps projects for 
flood control, coastal restoration, and hurricane protection and 
provide a broad range of expertise and representation from Louisiana 
and local governments. 

Restoration Efforts Face Various Planning and Implementation 
Challenges: 

In designing, constructing, operating, maintaining, and monitoring 
projects, the CWPPRA program continues to face challenges, including 
increasing project costs, limited capability to assess project 
effectiveness, the need to address private landowner rights, uncertain 
project performance, and damage from hurricanes and storms. As larger 
and more complex restoration efforts are planned for the future, we 
believe that they too are likely to face similar challenges and will, 
therefore, need to consider how to resolve these issues as part of 
their project development and implementation processes. 

Increasing project costs. The costs of constructing and maintaining 
many CWPPRA projects have increased beyond their original estimates 
and, as a result, fewer projects are being designed and constructed. 
According to CWPPRA agency officials, costs for construction, 
operations, and maintenance have increased 25 to 50 percent above 
estimates since the 2005 hurricanes. Fuel cost increases, for example, 
have increased the cost to provide building materials, such as rock and 
sand, especially when such material is not available locally in 
sufficient quantities. NRCS officials told us there are not any rock 
quarries in Louisiana so that rock must be purchased and transported 
from out of state. Similarly, federal agency officials told us that 
sand suitable for constructing projects is not available locally in 
sufficient quantities and must be dredged and transported to project 
sites. In one instance, EPA initiated a project to demonstrate the 
feasibility of dredging sand deposits 8 miles from shore in the Gulf of 
Mexico to provide the material needed to restore a barrier island. 
Officials also told us that the cost of building materials, such as 
rock which is often used to construct shoreline protection projects, 
has increased since the 2005 hurricanes. Finally, costs to construct, 
operate, and maintain projects have also increased due to increasing 
labor costs. For example, NRCS officials told us that the need for 
specialized contract labor, such as contractors with the capability to 
work in water, has increased project costs. 

These unexpected cost increases have impacted the overall 
implementation of CWPPRA projects in a variety of ways. First, it has 
delayed project construction for new CWPPRA projects. As of October 
2007, there were 10 fully designed CWPPRA projects awaiting almost $190 
million in funds to begin construction. Funds to construct these 
projects were not available because their estimated costs exceeded the 
annual amount of program funds available for new construction, and 
funds were needed to pay higher costs for construction, operations, and 
maintenance of other projects. Second, because of the potential for 
funding shortfalls, the task force has been approving fewer projects to 
begin design and engineering. Since 1990, the task force has approved 
an average of about 12 projects per year to begin design and 
engineering. Since October 2002, however, the task force has approved 5 
or fewer projects per year to begin design and engineering. Finally, 
cost increases for ongoing projects have limited the number of 
demonstration projects that the CWPPRA program has been able to 
undertake. The task force did not approve any demonstration projects in 
2004 and 2005 even though the authorizing legislation considered this 
an important aspect of the program. In 2006, the task force approved 1 
demonstration project after it decided to consider funding 1 per year, 
as long as the demonstration project did not exceed $2 million in total 
costs. 

Limited monitoring and assessment capabilities. Although CWPPRA 
requires the task force to evaluate the effectiveness of each project 
following construction, it lacks a coast-wide monitoring program to 
assess the overall effectiveness of these projects to restore coastal 
wetlands. Further, according to the CWPPRA task force, it has been 
unable to fully assess individual project performance due to the 
limited availability and/or usefulness of monitoring data. According to 
Louisiana and USGS officials, as of October 2007, Louisiana, USGS, and 
the CWPPRA federal agencies have developed 85 project monitoring plans. 
Louisiana and USGS have monitored all constructed projects, and 
Louisiana has prepared many monitoring reports that are available on 
its Web site. For example, to monitor an FWS hydrologic restoration 
project, Louisiana officials measured the ratio of open water to land, 
salinity, and vegetation composition and reported these measurements 
compared with preconstruction levels. CWPPRA agency officials told us 
that they have used monitoring data and reports to assess project 
performance and adjust project designs, as needed. However, according 
to the task force and a USGS official, most monitoring reports have 
provided incomplete and inconsistent data so that officials have not 
been able to perform the kinds of statistical analysis needed to fully 
evaluate project effectiveness. 

In 1998, a study of coastal restoration prepared by Louisiana concluded 
that there was a need for coast-wide monitoring to assess the overall 
effectiveness of coastal restoration and protection projects. Since 
2003, USGS and Louisiana have been working with the CWPPRA task force 
to develop such a coast-wide system. This system is expected to collect 
data on changes in levels of salinity, water levels, and vegetation and 
sedimentation in marshlands, as well as monitor the cumulative and wide-
ranging effects of multiple CWPPRA projects and help project managers 
design more effective and better integrated restoration projects. The 
planned system includes 390 randomly located monitoring stations 
installed across 3.67 million acres of coastal Louisiana and all 
stations are expected to be fully operational by the spring of 2008. As 
of October 2007, 256 of 390 monitoring stations were installed and 
collecting data. According to officials, the process to implement the 
system has taken longer than expected due to the time required to 
design and implement a coast-wide system, survey lands and obtain land 
rights agreements, and fund the construction of hundreds of monitoring 
platforms due to rising construction costs. Until a coast-wide 
monitoring system is fully operational and providing reliable data, 
federal agencies and the task force will not be able to evaluate 
whether coastal restoration projects are collectively restoring the 
Louisiana coast and if these efforts are having adverse unintended 
effects. Further, even when all monitoring stations are collecting 
data, CWPPRA and USGS officials estimated the system will not provide 
multiyear data needed to assess certain restoration trends, such as 
sediment elevation tables, for another 5 to 10 years. 

Private land ownership issues. Because coastal Louisiana is about 85 
percent privately owned, state agency officials, in some cases, have 
spent a significant amount of time locating landowners to obtain 
approval to construct CWPPRA projects. For example, according to NMFS 
officials, one marsh creation and terracing project area had about 
1,500 individual landowners, and it was a challenge to locate all of 
the landowners and obtain permission to construct the project on their 
land. More often, NMFS and other CWPPRA agency officials told us that 
they have had to contact from 1 to 100 landowners to obtain approval to 
begin a project. According to various federal agency officials, 
obtaining access from landowners has significantly delayed the design 
process for some projects, sometimes to such an extent that they became 
concerned that the project might not be feasible because of 
difficulties locating landowners and obtaining land rights agreements. 
Most federal agency officials also told us that landrights issues are 
eventually resolved, however, and projects are designed and engineered. 

Implementing a project on commercially owned lands can also present 
problems, particularly because in Louisiana they often have 
infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines, canals, and rail lines 
constructed on them. To restore coastal wetlands on commercially owned 
lands, federal agencies or commercial landowners have relocated or 
temporarily moved infrastructure to construct projects. In some 
instances where federal agencies have moved commercial infrastructure, 
moving costs significantly increased the cost of the CWPPRA project. 
For example, when Corps officials realized a sediment diversion project 
could not be constructed without disrupting nearby infrastructure, they 
proposed relocating two pipelines and two power poles, which would have 
increased project costs by more than $2.15 million. Largely in response 
to these cost increases, the Corps eventually decided to terminate the 
project. On another sediment diversion project, Corps officials told us 
that they relocated a pipeline so that it would not be in open water. 
However, in this case, the pipeline owner reimbursed the Corps for 
relocating the pipeline, and construction of the project was able to 
proceed and be completed in 2003. 

In Louisiana, commercial fishermen may also lease publicly owned lands, 
known as water bottoms and, based on lessons learned from recent court 
decisions and legislative activity, Louisiana officials told us it is 
important to notify project sponsors as early as possible about leases 
of public lands so that project designs can take these into account. In 
2000, a Louisiana state court ruled that the Caernarvon diversion 
project--a project that diverts freshwater from the Mississippi River 
to restore freshwater wetlands--had altered the salinity levels and 
damaged or destroyed oyster beds in state-owned waters that had been 
leased to commercial fishermen and were near the project. A jury 
awarded over $1 billion to the oyster leaseholders in a ruling against 
the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.[Footnote 11] In 2004, 
the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the lower courts, 
concluding that the state was not liable for changes in water salinity 
due to restoration projects, and the oyster fishermen's claim was 
dismissed.[Footnote 12] However, in 2006, the Louisiana state 
legislature passed a new law clarifying that oyster leaseholders 
generally may not sue the state or the federal government for claims 
arising from projects, plans, acts, or activities related to coastal 
protection, conservation, or restoration. The new law also established 
an acquisition and compensation program for oyster leaseholders if 
dredging or soil placement occurs on leased lands as a result of 
coastal protection, conservation, or restoration projects.[Footnote 13] 
As a result of these developments, during the early stages of a CWPPRA 
project design, Louisiana provides a map to federal agencies indicating 
any oyster leases that could be potentially affected by the project. 
Louisiana also provides data on the leases such as acreage and the name 
of the lessee so that federal agencies may fully consider existing 
commercial fishing leases when designing projects. 

Uncertainty of project performance. Some projects simply fail to 
perform as designed for reasons largely beyond the designers' control. 
A number of uncertainties that cannot always be fully modeled or 
predicted when designing a project can cause a project to be 
unsuccessful. A CWPPRA official told us that uncertain landscape 
features such as drainage patterns, earthen deposits, and soil content 
have prevented some projects from restoring an area as planned. For 
example, the Davis Pond Diversion--a structure comprised of large 
culverts built by the Corps to divert freshwater from the Mississippi 
River to restore nearby wetlands--releases less than half the amount of 
water it was designed to release. This has happened because landscape 
features prevented the water from flowing to the wetland areas as 
anticipated, and the flows cannot be increased because they might flood 
nearby private developments. According to Corps officials, however, 
most of these unanticipated problems have been corrected and officials 
expect water flow to increase to design levels by 2009. Although the 
Davis Pond Diversion project is not a CWPPRA project, some CWPPRA 
projects have also not performed as designed. For example, a NMFS- 
sponsored CWPPRA project to repair a breach in a barrier island was 
unable to reconnect the two portions of the island because the rate of 
erosion had reached a point where the landscape could no longer be 
sustained. Additionally, a Corps project constructed in 1996 designed 
to restore 445 acres of marshland has been able to restore only 9 acres 
of vegetated wetlands because oyster leases in or adjacent to the 
project site prevented the use of dredged material to sufficiently 
elevate the marsh, causing the area to be flooded with saline water and 
restricting marsh growth. Finally, of the 20 CWPPRA projects terminated 
since 1990, 8 were terminated due to technical difficulties and design 
problems. For example, agency officials terminated a terracing project 
after concluding that it would not be technically feasible to construct 
terraces on the land due to poor sediment quality. However, some agency 
officials also told us that uncertain project performance may be 
anticipated, and it is not uncommon to change project designs after 
implementation to address problems. 

Setbacks as a result of storm damage. Hurricanes can cause significant 
damage to coastal areas, including both naturally occurring and 
restored wetlands. For example, although Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 
did not directly hit and, therefore, cause significant damage to most 
CWPPRA projects, it destroyed tens of thousands of naturally occurring 
and other restored wetlands in the region. In particular, Hurricane 
Katrina destroyed about 25,000 acres of restored and naturally 
occurring wetlands on the Caernarvon Project. The Caernarvon Project 
includes a large diversion structure constructed by the Corps in 1991 
that diverts water and sediment from the Mississippi River to restore 
nearby wetlands. Although the Caernarvon Project is not a CWPPRA 
project, it is similar to some ongoing CWPPRA projects, and the damage 
that was inflicted by the hurricanes to this project demonstrates the 
vulnerability of restored areas to storms. With regard to the CWPPRA 
projects, storm surge from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged 18 of 
the 90 CWPPRA projects completed or under construction. Typical storm 
damage included sand fences torn away, storm debris scattered about, 
and water control structures that were overtopped. According to 
officials, 16 of the 18 damaged projects appeared to function as 
designed, but 2 were so damaged that officials considered them 
inoperable. Officials told us that plans were in place to repair the 2 
inoperable projects but, as of July 2007, repairs had not begun. 

In this context, a draft report by the Association of State Wetland 
Managers[Footnote 14] noted that although both freshwater and saltwater 
marshes in Louisiana sustained significant damage from recent 
hurricanes and storms, freshwater marshlands suffered more long-lasting 
effects. In many cases, canals and other flood protection structures 
have cut off freshwater marshes from freshwater and sediment, such as 
rivers, so that freshwater marshlands are unable to repair themselves. 
Sediment is necessary for the recovery of freshwater marshlands. In 
these cases, the study concluded that freshwater marshes may not heal 
following a hurricane or storm so that some form of restoration effort 
may be necessary. 

Concluding Observations: 

Since 1990, CWPPRA projects have made an important first step to 
reducing land loss and ecosystem deterioration in Louisiana by 
protecting and restoring about 3 percent of the state's coastal areas. 
However, this level of effort is inadequate to stop coastal wetland 
losses that are projected to occur over the next 50 years, much less 
restore the coastal landscape to the condition it was in prior to the 
1950s before levees and other flood control structures were constructed 
to control the Mississippi River. In light of recent proposals to 
restore and protect all of the roughly 2.5 million acres of Louisiana 
coastal wetlands through a comprehensive system of large-scale 
restoration projects and strategies that will receive billions of 
dollars over at least 20 years, it is important that planners carefully 
consider the lessons learned from the experiences of the CWPPRA 
program. As the CWPPRA experience has demonstrated, restoration 
projects are subject to the same forces of erosion and subsidence as 
natural wetlands and, therefore, the long-term sustainability of these 
projects is dependent on the continuous infusion of resources for 
decades into the future. As recognized by the Water Resources 
Development Act of 2007, establishing an interagency approach and 
consultative process similar to that of the CWPPRA program is vital to 
ensuring that large-scale wetlands restoration efforts are developed in 
a comprehensive manner using the most cost-effective approaches. Also, 
critical to assessing the success of these efforts is the design and 
implementation of a comprehensive monitoring program. Even after 17 
years, such a program has not been fully developed and implemented for 
the CWPPRA projects and, therefore, a comprehensive assessment of the 
projects constructed to date is still not possible. Finally, 
restoration project planners must take into account various 
uncertainties that could impact the successful implementation of 
projects and could lead to project delays and cost increases. As the 
CWPPRA experience demonstrates, not all of these uncertainties can be 
predicted in advance, however, a well-developed project implementation 
strategy that includes mechanisms to address these kinds of 
uncertainties as and when they arise is more likely to be successful. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided a copy of this report to the Departments of Agriculture, 
Commerce, Defense, the Interior, and EPA for review and comment. 

EPA agreed with our findings and observations and emphasized the 
importance of the collaborative approach used by the CWPPPRA agencies 
to provide for an effective program for coastal restoration. See 
appendix III for EPA's letter. 

The Department of Commerce provided comments on behalf of the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in which it stated that our 
report was generally accurate and thorough. However, the agency also 
stated that the report's characterization of CWPPRA monitoring efforts 
was misleading because it suggested that the program is not able to 
assess the success of constructed projects. Although the agency 
acknowledged that proving project success based on statistical and 
scientific analysis is a challenge because long-term data are not 
generally available, it also emphasized that current efforts to monitor 
projects offer critical insights into project performance. While we 
disagree that our description of the CWPPRA monitoring efforts was 
misleading, we have revised the report to clarify some of the issues 
raised by the agency. The Department of Commerce also provided 
technical comments, which we incorporated throughout our report as 
appropriate. The Department of Commerce's letter can be found in 
appendix II. 

The Department of Defense provided only technical comments, which we 
incorporated throughout the report as appropriate. The Departments of 
Agriculture and the Interior did not provide comments on this report. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Agriculture, 
Commerce, Defense, the Interior; and the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency; and interested congressional 
committees. We also will make copies available to others upon request. 
In addition, the report will be available, at no charge, on the GAO Web 
site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-3841 or mittala@gao.gov. Contact points for our 
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on 
the last page of this report. GAO staff that made major contributions 
to this report are listed in appendix IV. 

Anu K. Mittal Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 

List of Congressional Addressees: 

The Honorable Peter J. Visclosky: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable David L. Hobson: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies: 
Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Norm D. Dicks: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Todd Tiahrt: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Richard H. Baker: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment: 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Mary L. Landrieu: 
United States Senate: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Summary Schedules of CWPPRA Projects: 

This appendix contains tables listing Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) projects in design and 
engineering (see table 1), under construction (see table 2), completed 
construction (see table 3), and terminated (see table 4) as of June 
2007. 

Table 1: Summary Schedule of CWPPRA Projects in Design and Engineering 
as of June 2007: 

1; 
Project name: Alligator Bend Marsh Restoration and Shoreline 
Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 330; 
Project approval date: Oct. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: $19,620,813. 

2; 
Project name: Southwest Louisiana Gulf Shoreline Nourishment and 
Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 888; 
Project approval date: Oct. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 36,922,487. 

3; 
Project name: Enhancement of Barrier Island Vegetation Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Vegetative planting; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Oct. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 919,599. 

4; 
Project name: Madison Bay Marsh Creation and Terracing; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 372; 
Project approval date: Oct. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 32,353,377. 

5; 
Project name: West Belle Pass Barrier Headland Restoration Project; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 299; 
Project approval date: Oct. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 32,563,747. 

6; 
Project name: Lake Hermitage Marsh Creation; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 438; 
Project approval date: Feb. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 32,673,327. 

7; 
Project name: Bayou Lamoque Freshwater Diversion; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 620; 
Project approval date: Feb. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 5,375,741. 

8; 
Project name: Venice Ponds Marsh Creation and Crevasses; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 511; 
Project approval date: Feb. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 8,992,955. 

9; 
Project name: South Pecan Island Freshwater Introduction; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 98; 
Project approval date: Feb. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 4,438,695. 

10; 
Project name: East Marsh Island Marsh Creation; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 189; 
Project approval date: Feb. 2005; 
Total cost estimate: 16,824,999. 

11; 
Project name: South Shore of the Pen Shoreline Protection and Marsh 
Creation; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 116; 
Project approval date: Feb. 2005; 
Total cost estimate: 17,513,780. 

12; 
Project name: White Ditch Resurrection; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 189; 
Project approval date: Feb. 2005; 
Total cost estimate: 14,845,193. 

13; 
Project name: Riverine Sand Mining/Scofield Island Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 234; 
Project approval date: Feb. 2005; 
Total cost estimate: 44,544,636. 

14; 
Project name: Goose Point/Point Platte Marsh Creation; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 436; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2004; 
Total cost estimate: 20,867,777. 

15; 
Project name: Bayou Sale Shoreline Protection; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 329; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2004; 
Total cost estimate: 32,103,020. 

16; 
Project name: Spanish Pass Diversion; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 433; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2004; 
Total cost estimate: 14,212,169. 

17; 
Project name: Whiskey Island Back Barrier Marsh Creation; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 272; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2004; 
Total cost estimate: 22,243,934. 

Agency sponsor: Project name: Mississippi River Sediment Trap: Project 
type: Project name: Mississippi River Sediment Trap: Anticipated total 
acres[A]: Project name: Mississippi River Sediment Trap: Project name: 
Mississippi River Sediment Trap: Project approval date: Project name: 
Mississippi River Sediment Trap: Total cost estimate: Project name: 
Mississippi River Sediment Trap: [Empty]. 

18; 
Project name: Mississippi River Sediment Trap; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment and nutrient trapping; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,190; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2003; 
Total cost estimate: 52,180,839. 

19; 
Project name: Avoca Island Diversion and Land Building; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 143; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2003; 
Total cost estimate: 18,823,322. 

20; 
Project name: Bayou Dupont Sediment Delivery System; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 400; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2003; 
Total cost estimate: 24,925,734. 

21; 
Project name: Lake Borgne and Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Shoreline 
Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 266; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2003; 
Total cost estimate: 22,748,889. 

22; 
Project name: Ship Shoal: Whiskey West Flank Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 195; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Total cost estimate: 42,918,821. 

23; 
Project name: West Lake Boudreaux Shoreline Protection and Marsh 
Creation; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 277; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Total cost estimate: 19,585,055. 

24; 
Project name: River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 5,438; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Total cost estimate: 57,815,647. 

25; 
Project name: South Grand Chenier Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 440; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Total cost estimate: 19,930,316. 

26; 
Project name: Grand Lake Shoreline Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 540; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Total cost estimate: 11,811,039. 

27; 
Project name: Pass Chaland to Grand Bayou Pass Barrier Shoreline 
Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 263; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Total cost estimate: 30,217,567. 

28; 
Project name: Dedicated Dredging on the Barataria Basin Landbridge; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 605; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Total cost estimate: 15,842,343. 

29; 
Project name: Lake Borgne Shoreline Protection; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 165; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 25,581,099. 

30; 
Project name: Terrebonne Bay Shore Protection Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 2,503,768. 

31; 
Project name: Small Freshwater Diversion to the Northwestern Barataria 
Basin; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 941; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 13,803,361. 

32; 
Project name: Delta Building Diversion North of Fort St. Philip; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 501; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 6,297,286. 

33; 
Project name: Rockefeller Refuge Gulf Shoreline Stabilization; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 920; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 50,408,478. 

34; 
Project name: Benneys Bay Diversion; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 5,706; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 53,702,881. 

35; 
Project name: Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Bank Restoration of Critical 
Areas in Terrebonne; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 366; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 29,987,641. 

36; 
Project name: Delta Building Diversion at Myrtle Grove; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 8,891; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 3,002,114. 

37; 
Project name: East Grand Terre Island Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 335; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 31,226,531. 

38; 
Project name: Little Pecan Bayou Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 144; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 14,597,263. 

39; 
Project name: South Lake Decade Freshwater Introduction; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 201; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 3,873,744. 

40; 
Project name: Opportunistic Use of the Bonnet Carre Spillway; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 177; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 1,121,757. 

41; 
Project name: Freshwater Bayou Bank Stabilization-Belle Isle Canal to 
Lock; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 241; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 17,756,468. 

42; 
Project name: Periodic Introduction of Sediment and Nutrients at 
Selected Diversion Sites Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 1,502,817. 

43; 
Project name: Castille Pass Channel Sediment Delivery; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 577; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 19,657,695. 

44; 
Project name: Weeks Bay Marsh Creation and Shore Protection/ Commercial 
Canal/Freshwater Redirection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 278; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 30,027,305. 

45; 
Project name: LaBranche Wetlands Terracing, Planting, and Shoreline 
Protection; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Terracing; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 489; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Total cost estimate: 8,828,343. 

46; 
Project name: Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation, Part Two of Five; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 261; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Total cost estimate: 9,490,000. 

47; 
Project name: Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation, Part Four of Five; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 163; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Total cost estimate: 0. 

48; 
Project name: Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation, Part Five of Five; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 168; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Total cost estimate: 0. 

49; 
Project name: Lake Boudreaux Freshwater Introduction; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 603; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Total cost estimate: 10,519,383. 

50; 
Project name: Penchant Basin Natural Resources Plan, Part One; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,155; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Total cost estimate: 14,455,551. 

51; 
Project name: Grand Bayou Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 199; 
Project approval date: Feb. 1996; 
Total cost estimate: 8,209,722. 

52; 
Project name: Mississippi River Reintroduction into Bayou Lafourche; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 988; 
Project approval date: Oct. 2001; 
Total cost estimate: 11,200,000. 

53; 
Project name: Myrtle Grove Siphon; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,119; 
Project approval date: Feb. 1996; 
Total cost estimate: 481,803. 

54; 
Project name: West Pointe a la Hache Outfall Management; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Outfall management; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,087; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Total cost estimate: 4,068,045. 

55; 
Project name: Brown Lake Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 282; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Total cost estimate: 4,002,363. 

56; 
Project name: Storm Recovery Assessment Fund; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Operation and maintenance; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Oct. 2006; 
Total cost estimate: 303,359. 

57; 
Project name: Monitoring Contingency Fund; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Monitoring; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1999; 
Total cost estimate: 1,500,000. 

Grand total; 
Agency sponsor: [End of table]; 
Project type: [End of table]; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 41,468; 
Project approval date: [End of table]; 
Total cost estimate: $1,051,924,598. 

Source: GAO analysis of Corps data. 

Note: Data as of June 8, 2007. 

[A] The CWPPRA program does not report acreage for demonstration 
projects. Demonstration projects test new techniques and materials for 
the restoration or protection of coastal wetlands. Other projects, such 
as the FWS' Storm Recovery Assessment Fund and Monitoring Contingency 
Fund, are projects that support the CWPPRA program. 

[End of table] 

Table 2: Summary Schedule of CWPPRA Projects under Construction as of 
June 2007: 

1; 
Project name: Coastwide Reference Monitoring System for Wetlands; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Monitoring; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Aug. 2003; 
Current total cost estimate: $66,890,300; 
Construction start date: Aug. 2003. 

2; 
Project name: Freshwater Floating Marsh Creation Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2003; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,080,891; 
Construction start date: Jul. 2004. 

3; 
Project name: Coastwide Nutria Control Program; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Invasive species control program; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 14,963; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Current total cost estimate: 68,864,870; 
Construction start date: Nov. 2002. 

4; 
Project name: Little Lake Shoreline Protection/Dedicated Dredging near 
Round Lake; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 713; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Current total cost estimate: 38,496,395; 
Construction start date: Aug. 2005. 

5; 
Project name: Raccoon Island Shoreline Protection/Marsh Creation, Part 
Two; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 167; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Current total cost estimate: 10,609,834; 
Construction start date: Dec. 2005. 

6; 
Project name: Barataria Barrier Island: Pelican Island and Pass La Mer 
to Chaland Pass; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 534; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Current total cost estimate: 67,349,433; 
Construction start date: Mar. 2006. 

7; 
Project name: North Lake Mechant Landbridge Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 604; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Current total cost estimate: 30,952,917; 
Construction start date: Apr. 2003. 

8; 
Project name: East Sabine Lake Hydrologic Restoration[B]; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 225; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Current total cost estimate: 6,490,751; 
Construction start date: Dec. 2004. 

9; 
Project name: Barataria Basin Landbridge Shoreline Protection, Part 
Three; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 264; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 34,151,587; 
Construction start date: Oct. 2003. 

10; 
Project name: Timbalier Island Dune and Marsh Restoration[B]; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 273; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 16,726,000; 
Construction start date: Jun. 2004. 

11; 
Project name: Black Bayou Culverts Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 540; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 6,091,675; 
Construction start date: May 2005. 

12; 
Project name: New Cut Dune and Marsh Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 102; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 13,158,878; 
Construction start date: Oct. 2006. 

13; 
Project name: Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation, Part Three of Five; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 187; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Current total cost estimate: 4,536,666; 
Construction start date: Oct. 2006. 

14; 
Project name: Barataria Basin Landbridge Shoreline Protection, Part One 
and Two; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,304; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 31,288,623; 
Construction start date: Dec. 2000. 

15; 
Project name: West Belle Pass Headland Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 474; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 6,751,441; 
Construction start date: Feb. 1998. 

16; 
Project name: Jonathan Davis Wetland Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 510; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 28,886,616; 
Construction start date: Jun. 1998. 

Grand total; 
Agency sponsor: [Empty]; 
Project type: [Empty]; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 20,860; 
Project approval date: [Empty]; 
Current total cost estimate: $432,326,877; 
Construction start date: [Empty]. 

Source: GAO analysis of Corps data. 

Note: Data as of June 8, 2007. 

[A] The CWPPRA program does not report acreage for demonstration 
projects. Demonstration projects test new techniques and materials for 
the restoration or protection of coastal wetlands. Other projects, such 
as the Coastwide Reference Monitoring System for Wetlands, support the 
CWPPRA program. 

[B] Damaged by Hurricane Rita in 2005. 

[End of table] 

Table 3: Summary Schedule of CWPPRA Projects Completed as of June 2007: 

1; 
Project name: Shoreline Protection Foundation Improvements 
Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2004; 
Current total cost estimate: $1,055,000; 
Construction completion date: Aug. 2006. 

2; 
Project name: South White Lake Shoreline Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 844; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2003; 
Current total cost estimate: 19,673,929; 
Construction completion date: Aug. 2006. 

3; 
Project name: Holly Beach Sand Management[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 330; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Current total cost estimate: 14,130,233; 
Construction completion date: Mar. 2003. 

4; 
Project name: Barataria Basin Landbridge Shoreline Protection, Part 
Four; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 256; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2002; 
Current total cost estimate: 21,457,097; 
Construction completion date: Apr. 2006. 

5; 
Project name: Delta Management at Fort St. Philip; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 267; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,183,940; 
Construction completion date: Dec. 2006. 

6; 
Project name: Grand-White Lake Landbridge Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 213; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2001; 
Current total cost estimate: 8,584,334; 
Construction completion date: Oct. 2004. 

7; 
Project name: State of Louisiana Wetlands Conservation Plan; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Conservation plan; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Dec. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 191,807; 
Construction completion date: Nov. 1997. 

8; 
Project name: Freshwater Introduction South of Highway 82; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 296; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 6,203,110; 
Construction completion date: Dec. 2006. 

9; 
Project name: Mandalay Bank Protection Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,767,214; 
Construction completion date: Sept. 2003. 

10; 
Project name: Chandeleur Islands Marsh Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Vegetative planting; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 220; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 937,977; 
Construction completion date: Jul. 2001. 

11; 
Project name: Four Mile Canal Terracing and Sediment Trapping; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Terracing; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 167; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 4,886,818; 
Construction completion date: May 2004. 

12; 
Project name: Perry Ridge West Bank Stabilization; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 83; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,747,742; 
Construction completion date: Jul. 2002. 

13; 
Project name: Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation, Part One of Five; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 214; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,421,671; 
Construction completion date: Feb. 2002. 

14; 
Project name: Hopedale Hydrologic Restoration[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 134; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,432,958; 
Construction completion date: Jan. 2005. 

15; 
Project name: Humble Canal Hydrologic Restoration[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 378; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,530,812; 
Construction completion date: Mar. 2003. 

16; 
Project name: Lake Portage Land Bridge; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 24; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,181,129; 
Construction completion date: May 2004. 

17; 
Project name: Grand Terre Vegetative Plantings; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Vegetative planting; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 127; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 492,774; 
Construction completion date: Jul. 2001. 

18; 
Project name: Pecan Island Terracing; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Terracing; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 442; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,391,953; 
Construction completion date: Sept. 2003. 

19; 
Project name: Thin Mat Floating Marsh Enhancement Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 538,101; 
Construction completion date: May 2000. 

20; 
Project name: Flexible Dustpan Demo at Head of Passes Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,911,487; 
Construction completion date: Jun. 2002. 

21; 
Project name: Marsh Island Hydrologic Restoration[B]; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 408; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 5,143,288; 
Construction completion date: Dec. 2001. 

22; 
Project name: Nutria Harvest for Wetland Restoration Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Invasive species control program; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 804,683; 
Construction completion date: Oct. 2003. 

23; 
Project name: Black Bayou Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 3,594; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 5,972,613; 
Construction completion date: Nov. 2003. 

24; 
Project name: Delta Wide Crevasses; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 2,386; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 4,752,653; 
Construction completion date: May 2005. 

25; 
Project name: Sediment Trapping at The Jaws; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Sediment and nutrient trapping; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,999; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,392,135; 
Construction completion date: May 2005. 

26; 
Project name: Barataria Bay Waterway East Side Shoreline Protection; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 217; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 5,224,477; 
Construction completion date: May 2001. 

27; 
Project name: Cheniere au Tigre Sediment Trapping Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Sediment and nutrient trapping; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 624,999; 
Construction completion date: Nov. 2001. 

28; 
Project name: Oaks/Avery Canal Hydrologic Restoration, Part One; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 160; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,925,216; 
Construction completion date: Oct. 2002. 

29; 
Project name: Bayou Chevee Shoreline Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 75; 
Project approval date: Feb. 1996; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,589,403; 
Construction completion date: Dec. 2001. 

30; 
Project name: Little Vermilion Bay Sediment Trapping; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Sediment and nutrient trapping; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 441; 
Project approval date: Feb. 1996; 
Current total cost estimate: 886,030; 
Construction completion date: Aug. 1999. 

31; 
Project name: Freshwater Bayou Bank Stabilization; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 511; 
Project approval date: Feb. 1996; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,543,313; 
Construction completion date: Jun. 1998. 

32; 
Project name: Naomi Outfall Management; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Outfall management; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 633; 
Project approval date: Feb. 1996; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,181,427; 
Construction completion date: Jul. 2002. 

33; 
Project name: Raccoon Island Breakwaters Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Feb. 1996; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,795,388; 
Construction completion date: Jul. 1997. 

34; 
Project name: Sweet Lake/Willow Lake Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 247; 
Project approval date: Feb. 1996; 
[Empty]; 
Current total cost estimate: 4,242,995; 
Construction completion date: Oct. 2002. 

35; 
Project name: East Timbalier Island Sediment Restoration, Part Two[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 215; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Current total cost estimate: 7,600,863; 
Construction completion date: Jan. 2000. 

36; 
Project name: Barataria Bay Waterway West Side Shoreline Protection; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 232; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,013,365; 
Construction completion date: Nov. 2000. 

37; 
Project name: Perry Ridge Shore Protection; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,203; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,289,090; 
Construction completion date: Feb. 1999. 

38; 
Project name: Plowed Terraces Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Terracing; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Current total cost estimate: 325,641; 
Construction completion date: Aug. 2000. 

39; 
Project name: Channel Armor Gap Crevasse; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 936; 
Project approval date: Oct.1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 888,985; 
Construction completion date: Nov. 1997. 

40; 
Project name: Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Disposal Area Marsh 
Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 755; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 313,145; 
Construction completion date: Jan. 1999. 

41; 
Project name: Whiskey Island Restoration[B]; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,239; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 7,106,586; 
Construction completion date: Jun. 2000. 

42; 
Project name: Sabine Refuge Structure Replacement (Hog Island)[B]; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 953; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 4,528,418; 
Construction completion date: Sept. 2003. 

43; 
Project name: East Timbalier Island Sediment Restoration, Part One[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,913; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,729,587; 
Construction completion date: May 2001. 

44; 
Project name: Lake Chapeau Sediment Input and Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 509; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 5,605,856; 
Construction completion date: May 1999. 

45; 
Project name: Lake Salvador Shore Protection Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,801,782; 
Construction completion date: Jun. 1998. 

46; 
Project name: Brady Canal Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 297; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 5,279,558; 
Construction completion date: May 2000. 

47; 
Project name: Cameron-Creole Maintenance[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 2,602; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 5,840,505; 
Construction completion date: Sept. 1997. 

48; 
Project name: Cote Blanche Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 2,223; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Current total cost estimate: 7,889,103; 
Construction completion date: Dec. 1998. 

49; 
Project name: Clear Marais Bank Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,067; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,696,088; 
Construction completion date: Mar. 1997. 

50; 
Project name: Isles Dernieres Restoration Trinity Island[B]; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 109; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 10,774,974; 
Construction completion date: Jun. 1999. 

51; 
Project name: Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge Hydrologic 
Restoration, Part Two; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,280; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,642,552; 
Construction completion date: May 1997. 

52; 
Project name: Atchafalaya Sediment Delivery; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 2,232; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,532,147; 
Construction completion date: Mar. 1998. 

53; 
Project name: Big Island Mining; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,560; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 7,077,404; 
Construction completion date: Oct. 1998. 

54; 
Project name: Point Au Fer Canal Plugs; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 375; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,235,208; 
Construction completion date: May 1997. 

55; 
Project name: Caernarvon Diversion Outfall Management[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Outfall management; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 802; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 4,536,000; 
Construction completion date: Jun. 2002. 

56; 
Project name: East Mud Lake Marsh Management[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Marsh management; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,520; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 4,095,936; 
Construction completion date: Jun. 1996. 

57; 
Project name: Freshwater Bayou Wetland Protection; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,593; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,455,303; 
Construction completion date: Aug. 1998. 

58; 
Project name: Fritchie Marsh Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,040; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,201,674; 
Construction completion date: Mar. 2001. 

59; 
Project name: Highway 384 Hydrologic Restoration[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 150; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,058,554; 
Construction completion date: Jan. 2000. 

60; 
Project name: Vermilion Bay/Boston Canal Shore Protection; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 378; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1992; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,012,649; 
Construction completion date: Nov. 1995. 

61; 
Project name: Barataria Bay Waterway Wetland Creation; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 445; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,172,896; 
Construction completion date: Oct. 1996. 

62; 
Project name: Bayou Labranche Wetland Creation; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 203; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,817,929; 
Construction completion date: Apr. 1994. 

63; 
Project name: Lake Salvador Shoreline Protection at Jean Lafitte 
National Historic Park and Preserve; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 58,753; 
Construction completion date: Mar. 1996. 

64; 
Project name: Vermilion River Cutoff Bank Protection; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 65; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 2,022,987; 
Construction completion date: Feb. 1996. 

65; 
Project name: West Bay Sediment Diversion; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 9,831; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 22,312,761; 
Construction completion date: Nov. 2003. 

66; 
Project name: Isles Dernieres Restoration East Island[B]; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Barrier island restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 9; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 8,762,416; 
Construction completion date: Jun. 1999. 

67; 
Project name: Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge Hydrologic 
Restoration, Part One; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 1,550; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,630,193; 
Construction completion date: May 1996. 

68; 
Project name: Cameron Creole Plugs[B]; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 865; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 991,295; 
Construction completion date: Jan. 1997. 

69; 
Project name: Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Shoreline 
Protection; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 247; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,227,123; 
Construction completion date: Aug. 1994. 

70; 
Project name: Sabine National Wildlife Refuge Erosion Protection; 
Agency sponsor: FWS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 5,542; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 1,602,656; 
Construction completion date: Mar. 1995. 

71; 
Project name: Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to Clovelly Hydrologic 
Restoration[B]; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 175; 
Project approval date: Oct, 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 8,916,131; 
Construction completion date: Oct. 2000. 

72; 
Project name: Vegetative Plantings-Falgout Canal Planting 
Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Vegetative planting; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 209,284; 
Construction completion date: Dec. 1996. 

73; 
Project name: Vegetative Plantings-Timbalier Island Planting 
Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Vegetative planting; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 293,124; 
Construction completion date: Jul. 1996. 

74; 
Project name: Vegetative Plantings-West Hackberry Planting 
Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Vegetative planting; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: Data not applicable; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Current total cost estimate: 258,805; 
Construction completion date: Mar. 1994. 

Grand total; 
Agency sponsor: [Empty]; 
Project type: [End of table] ; 
Anticipated total acres[A]: 58,781; 
Project approval date: [Empty]; 
Current total cost estimate: $298,606,032; 
Construction completion date: [Empty]. 

Source: GAO analysis of Corps data. 

Note: Data as of June 8, 2007. 

[A] The CWPPRA program does not report acreage for demonstration 
projects. Demonstration projects test new techniques and materials for 
the restoration or protection of coastal wetlands. Other projects, such 
as the state of Louisiana Wetlands Conservation Plan, support the 
CWPPRA program. The Lake Salvador Shoreline Protection project at Jean 
Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve was designed under CWPPRA 
but construction was funded by the National Park Service. 

[B] Damaged by Hurricane Katrina or Rita in 2005. 

[End of table] 

Table 4: Summary Schedule of CWPPRA Projects Terminated as of June 
2007: 

1; 
Project name: LA Highway 1 Marsh Creation; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Project approval date: Jan. 2000; 
Project termination date: Feb. 2005; 
Current total cost estimate: $343,551; 
Reason for termination: Cost-effectiveness, technical difficulties. 

2; 
Project name: Bayou L'Ours Ridge Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Project termination date: Apr. 2003; 
Current total cost estimate: 371,232; 
Reason for termination: Land rights. 

3; 
Project name: Upper Oak River Freshwater Siphon; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Freshwater reintroduction; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Project termination date: Jan. 2003; 
Current total cost estimate: 56,476; 
Reason for termination: Cost-effectiveness. 

4; 
Project name: Bayou Bienvenue Pump Station Diversion and Terracing; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Terracing; 
Project approval date: Jan. 1999; 
Project termination date: Apr. 2002; 
Current total cost estimate: 212,153; 
Reason for termination: Cost- effectiveness. 

5; 
Project name: Compost Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Project termination date: Jan. 2002; 
Current total cost estimate: 213,645; 
Reason for termination: Technical difficulties. 

6; 
Project name: Red Mud Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Project termination date: Aug. 2001; 
Current total cost estimate: 470,500; 
Reason for termination: Technical difficulties. 

7; 
Project name: Beneficial Use of Hopper Dredge Material Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Project termination date: Oct. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 58,310; 
Reason for termination: Technical difficulties. 

8; 
Project name: Violet Freshwater Distribution; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Outfall management; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Project termination date: Oct. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 128,627; 
Reason for termination: Land rights. 

9; 
Project name: Flotant Marsh Fencing Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Vegetation planting; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Project termination date: Oct. 2000; 
Current total cost estimate: 106,960; 
Reason for termination: Technical difficulties. 

10; 
Project name: Southwest Shore White Lake Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Shoreline protection; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Project termination date: Oct. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 103,468; 
Reason for termination: Technical difficulties. 

11; 
Project name: Pass-a-Loutre Crevasse; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Project termination date: Jul. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 119,835; 
Reason for termination: Cost-effectiveness. 

12; 
Project name: Grand Bay Crevasse; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Sediment diversion; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Project termination date: Jul. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 65,747; 
Reason for termination: Land rights. 

13; 
Project name: Marsh Creation East of the Atchafalaya River-Avoca 
Island; 
Agency sponsor: Corps; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Project termination date: Jul. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 66,869; 
Reason for termination: Cost- effectiveness. 

14; 
Project name: Bayou Boeuf Pump Station; 
Agency sponsor: EPA; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Project approval date: Apr. 1997; 
Project termination date: Jul. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 3,452; 
Reason for termination: Technical difficulties. 

15; 
Project name: Bayou Perot/Bayou Rigolettes Marsh Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Marsh creation; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Project termination date: Jan. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 20,963; 
Reason for termination: Cost- effectiveness. 

16; 
Project name: Eden Isles East Marsh Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Project approval date: Dec. 1994; 
Project termination date: Jan. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 78,051; 
Reason for termination: Land rights. 

17; 
Project name: White's Ditch Outfall Management; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Outfall management; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1993; 
Project termination date: Jan. 1998; 
Current total cost estimate: 32,862; 
Reason for termination: Land rights. 

18; 
Project name: Lower Bayou LaCache Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Project termination date: Feb. 1996; 
Current total cost estimate: 99,625; 
Reason for termination: Land rights. 

19; 
Project name: Vegetation Plantings-Dewitt-Rollover Planting 
Demonstration; 
Agency sponsor: NRCS; 
Project type: Vegetation planting; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Project termination date: Feb. 1996; 
Current total cost estimate: 184,024; 
Reason for termination: Design problems. 

20; 
Project name: Fourchon Hydrologic Restoration; 
Agency sponsor: NMFS; 
Project type: Hydrologic restoration; 
Project approval date: Oct. 1991; 
Project termination date: Jul. 1994; 
Current total cost estimate: 7,703; 
Reason for termination: Land rights. 

Grand total; 
Agency sponsor: [End of table]; 
Project approval date: [End of table]; 
Project termination date: [End of table]; 
Current total cost estimate: $2,744,053; 
Reason for termination: [Empty]. 

Source: GAO analysis of Corps data. 

Note: Data as of June 8, 2007. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Commerce: 

The following are GAO's comments on the Department of Commerce's letter 
dated November 26, 2007. 

The Secretary Of Commerce: 
Washington, D.C. 20230: 

November 26, 2007: 

Ms. Anu K. Mittal: 
Director. Natural Resources and Environment: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Ms. Mittal: 

Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the Government 
Accountability Office's draft report entitled Coastal Wetlands: Lessons 
Learned from Past Efforts in Louisiana Could Help (Guide Future 
Restoration and Protection (GAO-08-130). On behalf of the Department of 
Commerce. I enclose the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration's comments on the draft report. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Carlos M. Gutierrez: 

Enclosure: 

Department of Commerce: 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Comments on the Draft 
GAO Report Entitled "Coastal Wetlands: Lessons Learned from Past 
Efforts in Louisiana Could Help Guide Future Restoration and 
Protection" (GAO-08-130/November 2007): 

General Comments: 

The Department of Commerce appreciates the opportunity to review this 
report on lessons learned in Louisiana coastal restoration. The 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found the 
report generally accurate and thorough. However, the manner in which 
the current state of monitoring is described appears somewhat 
misleading. The report suggests the Coastal Wetlands Planning. 
Protection. and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) program is not able to assess 
the success of constructed projects. Given the extremely large scale 
and complexity of the Louisiana coastal area, statistically proving 
project success is a challenge, and long term data acquisition will be 
required prior to drawing scientifically defensible and reproducible 
conclusions. In the meantime, NOAA believes that ongoing project 
monitoring offers critical insight into qualitative and quantitative 
project performance. NOAA integrates this information into planning and 
design of new projects. In addition, NOAA and partner agencies 
recognize the usefulness of project-specific data in designing more 
effective projects. For many projects, NOAA specifically requests that 
the CWPPRA Task Force allocate CWPPRA funds for project- specific 
monitoring.

GAO Comments: 

1. We disagree with the agency that the reports' characterization of 
CWPPRA monitoring is misleading because it suggests that the program is 
not able to assess the success of constructed projects. However, we 
have modified the report to clarify some of the issues raised by the 
agency. 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: Comments from the Environmental Protection Agency: 

United States Environmental Protection Agency: 
Region 6: 
1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200 Dallas, TX 75202-2733: 
Internet address: [hyperlink, http://www.epa.gov]: 

November 21, 2007: 

Ms. Anu K. Mittal: 
Director: 
Natural Resources and Environment: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548 

Dear Ms. Mittal: 

Thank you for the opportunity to review the proposed report entitled 
Coastal Wetlands: Lessons Learned from Past Efforts in Louisiana Could 
Help Guide Future Restoration and Protection (GAO-08-130). As the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representative on the Coastal 
Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Task Force, 
I would like to express my appreciation for the focus and attention 
given to this very important restoration effort. EPA Region 6 and 
Headquarters have participated with GAO staff in informational 
briefings during the development of the report and have provided input 
on the preliminary statement of facts. We have also reviewed the 
current draft report and have no additional comments. 

I would, however, like to take this opportunity to recognize one of the 
key points in this report -- the importance of the collaborative 
approach used by the CWPPRA program agencies. Since 1990, CWPPRA, or 
the Breaux Act, has been a consistent mainstay in dedicated Federal and 
State funding for wetland restoration throughout the Louisiana coast. 
The suite of restoration techniques implemented under this program, 
including barrier island restoration and the use of renewable 
Mississippi River freshwater and sediment resources, have served as 
examples of the critical work that can be accomplished collaboratively. 

As the draft report points out, it is the collaborative interagency 
process that has greatly contributed to the CWPPRA program's 
effectiveness. Addressing the ongoing wetland loss and increased 
hurricane risk in coastal Louisiana will continue to require a wide 
range of expertise and capabilities. By establishing this interagency 
process for comprehensive project planning and implementation, the 
CWPPRA program optimizes the diverse array of resources, technical 
skill, and perspectives of Federal and State agencies with expertise in 
coastal restoration. Given the experience gained from nearly two 
decades of coastal wetland restoration project implementation, CWPPRA 
remains the most effective model for the interagency collaboration and 
public participation necessary for success. 

Thank you again for taking such an active role on the critically 
important issue of addressing coastal Louisiana wetland loss. I believe 
that continued collaborative efforts in protecting and restoring such 
vital aquatic resources offer the long-term promise of benefits to the 
economy, communities, and natural resources of the State of Louisiana 
and to the Nation as a whole. 

Sincerely,

Signed by: 

William K. Honker: 
Deputy Director: 
Water Quality Protection Division: 

[End of section] 

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Anu K. Mittal, (202) 512-3841, or mittala@gao.gov: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the individual named above, Edward Zadjura, Assistant 
Director; James Dishmon; Doreen Feldman; Christine Frye; Moses Garcia; 
Sheila McCoy; and Alison O'Neill made key contributions to this report. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Pub. L. No. 101-646, Title III. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act is also referred to as the Breaux Act 
after Senator John Breaux of Louisiana, one of the act's authors. 

[2] Pub. L. No. 109-58. 

[3] Pub. L. No. 109-432, Division C, Title I. 

[4] Pub. L. No. 110-114. 

[5] Pub. L. No. 109-103. 

[6] The USGS estimate of current plans to protect and restore the 
wetlands includes all CWPPRA projects, two Corps' freshwater diversion 
projects, and two Corps' delta building projects constructed, or funded 
for construction, as of October 2002. 

[7] Pub. L. No. 101-646, Title III, § 308. 

[8] Pub. L. No. 109-58, § 384. 

[9] 43 U.S.C. § 1356a(b). 

[10] Pub. L. No. 109-432, Division C, Title I. 

[11] The appellate court affirmed this ruling, but slightly increased 
the damage award. Avenal v. State of Louisiana, Dep't of Natural Res., 
858 So. 2d 697 (La. Ct. App. 2003). 

[12] Avenal v. State of Louisiana, Department of Natural Resources, 886 
So. 2d 1085 (La. 2004). 

[13] H.B. 1249, 2006 Leg., Reg. Sass. (La. 2006). 

[14] Kusler, Jon. Draft of "Wetlands and Natural Hazards." 2007. 

GAO's Mission: 

The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation, and 
investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting 
its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance 
and accountability of the federal government for the American people. 
GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and 
policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance 
to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding 
decisions. GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core 
values of accountability, integrity, and reliability. 

Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony: 

The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 
cost is through GAO's Web site [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Each 
weekday, GAO posts newly released reports, testimony, and 
correspondence on its Web site. To have GAO e-mail you a list of newly 
posted products every afternoon, go to [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]  
and select "E-mail Updates." 

Order by Mail or Phone: 

The first copy of each printed report is free. Additional copies are $2 
each. A check or money order should be made out to the Superintendent 
of Documents. GAO also accepts VISA and Mastercard. Orders for 100 or 
more copies mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. 
Orders should be sent to: 

U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room LM: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

To order by Phone: 
Voice: (202) 512-6000: 
TDD: (202) 512-2537: 
Fax: (202) 512-6061: 

To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs: 

Contact: 

Web site: [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm]: 
E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov: 
Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470: 

Congressional Relations: 

Gloria Jarmon, Managing Director, jarmong@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4400: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7125: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Public Affairs: 

Chuck Young, Managing Director, youngc1@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4800: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7149: 
Washington, DC 20548: