New Orleans, LA (October 16, 2019) — A new report outlines the regional economic impacts of building two sediment diversion projects in Louisiana. The report, titled "The Economic Impact of Constructing the Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion Projects" and released by Dr. Loren C. Scott & Associates Inc., shows how local and state businesses, governments, and residents will benefit economically during the seven-year period from 2021 to 2027 when the Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton sediment diversion projects are being built.
The analysis indicates that the construction of these projects, totaling $1.85 billion over seven years, will have significant economic benefits within Plaquemines Parish and regionally.
“The positive economic impacts of constructing the Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton sediment diversions will be significant and will be felt within Plaquemines Parish and across the broader region,” says Dr. Loren Scott, President of Dr. Loren C. Scott & Associates Inc.
In Plaquemines Parish specifically, business sales within the parish are expected to increase by $2.3 billion and $7.2 million will be added to the local treasury. Constructing these projects will support an annual average of 391 jobs a year with 687 created in 2023—the year of greatest expenditures. Over the seven-year period, parish residents will experience a $157.6 million increase in household earnings.
The benefits will extend to a broader region, including Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Orleans, and Jefferson Parishes. Regional business sales will increase by $3.1 billion and local government treasuries will receive an increase of $36.7 million. On average, 2,255 jobs will be supported during the seven-year period with a peak of 3,962 jobs in 2023. Across the four parishes, household earnings will increase by $809.2 million.
The State of Louisiana will also benefit, with $56.6 million in state revenues being added during the period of building, an amount slightly greater than the costs of funding the Office of the Lieutenant Governor during a similar time frame.
“These projects will not only help defend our parish and region against the worst impacts of flooding, they will provide real economic opportunities for businesses and real jobs for residents,” says Steve Cochran, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “Louisiana is taking its biggest challenge and turning it into jobs and economic opportunity.”
According to the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, Louisiana has lost 1.3 million acres of land since the 1930s, which has left the coasts vulnerable to flooding and threatens wildlife habitat, communities, and vital industries and infrastructure. Over the next 50 years, the Mid-Breton diversion will build and maintain 16,000 acres of land in the Breton Basin and the Mid-Barataria diversion is expected to build and maintain 30,000 acres of land.
The two sediment diversions are currently in engineering and design and will be located on either side of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. Once built, these coastal restoration projects will be operated strategically to deliver sediment, freshwater, and nutrients from the Mississippi River to build and maintain tens of thousands of adjacent wetlands over time. Plaquemines Parish is experiencing some of the most severe land loss on the planet. Without projects from Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan, the parish could lose an additional 296 square miles—or 55% of its total landmass—in the next 50 years.
The report also found that construction firms will benefit the most from these projects, garnering 82% of sales. However, in 2023, over $10 million in new spending will benefit businesses operating in durable goods manufacturing, wholesale trade, non-durable goods manufacturing and firms in the professional, technical, and scientific sectors.
“These projects will create and support thousands of jobs. We should make sure that the state, contractors, and others involved in the construction of these diversions prioritize hiring and sourcing locally to drive the greatest economic impact to Plaquemines Parish and the surrounding region,” says Cochran.