ABP R & P Board Update

The Atchafalaya Basin Program Research and Promotion Board held a meeting on July 15, 2009, and discussed details of the process for developing the 2011 Annual Plan for the Program. They talked about the tight timeline necessary to get projects into the system in time to create the plan and get it approved by all the groups involved before the Legislative session next spring.

The Technical Advisory Group has formed a sub-committee to review previous submissions to see which ones should be reconsidered this year, and the Basin Program staff are busy trying to get people who call in with ideas to partner with their local parish government officials to help prepare more complete proposals for projects that they think are important.

The Basin Program will post a list of questions for each proposed project and you should watch the ABP web site for that sheet. It should be out soon to help you prepare for the next round of public meetings in August. It is important that each project be described as completely as possible so that the reviewers can evaluate how it fits in with the overall plans for each water management area.

The Basin Program is trying hard to use their resources wisely and to improve the water quality in the Basin as much as possible, but they have a big job and a small staff, so let’s try to give them as much background information at possible about each project. That could greatly improve your chances of getting your project done.

At the same time, the Basin Program is working to get the funds allocated in this past legislative session, moving out to the contractors who will conduct inventories, build Water Management plans, and actually move dirt. They are drafting Requests for Proposals and working with the State Bond Commission to transfer the funds so that the subsequent contracts can be issued.

Another item that came up in the Board Meeting during the review of the Legislative session was that the constitutional amendment to fund the Atchafalaya Basin Conservation Fund will be on the ballot again in the fall of 2010. The wording has been changed to make it clear that this is not a tax increase, but a reallocation of user fees. So don’t forget about the election. It’s a long way off but it could mean a lot to the Basin by guaranteeing a consistent source of funding to get more projects moving. By that time the new planning process should be farther along and the State should be heavily involved in Water Management projects.

Make your voice heard.

We’ll try to let you know about the latest postings by the Basin Program so check back here to see what is going on.

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