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Physical Environmental Impacts of Pipeline Construction and Operation in Southern Louisiana

Applied Coastal personnel were asked to summarize existing conditions and evaluate the potential environmental impacts of proposed pipeline construction and operation in the wetlands and bays of southern Louisiana. The information provided as part of this analysis is being used to evaluate alternative routes and construction designs to minimize or preclude potential adverse environmental consequences resulting from pipeline construction and operation activities.

Our analysis relied on existing literature and data from government and academic sources. Based on this information and the proposed contruction activities, it was determined that pipeline construction and operation will have direct impact on shallow geological deposits in state waters. It is expected that trenching and dredging will displace thousands of cubic yards of sediment along the pipeline corridor; however, appropriate mitigation measures are proposed to restore the seafloor to near pre-construction contours. Where natural bottom contours are restored, it is expected that seafloor changes resulting from pipeline installation will have minimal impact on natural sediment transport processes due to changes in wave propagation and current flows over the impacted areas. If restoration procedures are not followed, resultant alterations to wave and current processes, and sediment transport, could have influence on navigation in the Gulf of Mexico, nearshore waters within the Federal-State OCS boundary, and in estuarine waterways.

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