Ascension designated for inland coastal zone by DNR

Staff Report

A study of the state’s coastal zone boundary by the state Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Coastal Management recommends a portion of Ascension Parish be added to the inland coastal zone.

DNR announced adding the parish as part of changes to the inland boundary of Louisiana’s coastal zone set more than 30 years ago.

Adding Ascension Parish to the zone would increase the number of parishes in the area from 19 to 20.

The zone will see a net increase of almost 2,000 square miles according to DNR.

Nine parish parishes including Ascension and Assumption experience increases in area of from 52 to 570 square miles.

Livingston and Tangipahoa will lose from 144 to 50 coastal areas under the new zoning.

The study also recommends supplementing the Coastal Use Permit method of managing the Coastal Management Zone with an “Intergovernmental Coordination Zone.” It would require local government projects or actions to be consistent with the Louisiana Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.

The study was authorized by the state legislature and conducted over the past year at a cost of $442,000 in state and federal funds.

Nearly half of the Lousiana’s population lives in its coastal parishes which make up the inland coastal zone.

More than half of the state’s annual revenue is generated from the coastal zone, and five of the top 15 tonnage ports in the U.S. depend on the zone for facilities and access to the rest of the nation.

If the study recommendations are enacted, Ascension and other parishes will take on new funding and regulatory responsibilities. They will also be eligible for funding loans and participation in various coastal programs.