Coastal Contractor Resource Guide

As billions of dollars in restoration funding advance small and large infrastructure projects restoring and protecting the Louisiana coast, it is important to ensure that a diverse group of stakeholders are engaged and informed of the workforce and business opportunities in this sector. The inclusion of a wide-breadth of contractors and suppliers is a strategic business imperative. The following topics and links are intended to guide firms of all sizes and specialties to larger networks, resources and partnerships.

Background
An expansive foundation of science-based plans are driving these efforts and guiding the significant funds, and funding pursuits, underway.  At the federal, state, regional and municipal levels, a more resilient approach to environmental management is envisioned. At the forefront is the state of Louisiana’s Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, a 50 year, $50 billion strategy for protecting and restoring our diminishing coastline. On the regional scale, the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan presents resilience strategy for Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes around interior—or “within the levee”—watersheds, ensuring safety, economic prosperity and quality of life for residents and communities. Driving these concepts to the municipal level, the City of New Orleans’ Resilient New Orleans strategy provides specific benchmarks and goals for integrating water management with overall aspects of community resilience.

While ambitious and expensive, these plans are grounded by significant down payments. Via the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Settlement in 2014, the Coastal Master Plan has over $7.2 billion in dedicated funding for coastal restoration and protection construction. The settlement funds, combined with additional fines, penalties and funding streams, provide over $8.2 billion in funding for the Master Plan, ensuring the next 15 years of implementation (at around $500 million worth of projects each year) is possible. On the regional and municipal levels, the State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans were both successful in their 2015 applications in the HUD-sponsored National Disaster Resilience Competition, securing $233 million for urban water and coastal restoration projects in local communities. Of this gross award, the City of New Orleans received over $140 million to specifically implement projects outlined in the Urban Water Plan and Resilient New Orleans strategy.

Key Coastal Players
There are a number of key agencies in the coastal space letting contracts and overseeing critical water and coastal contracts at the local, regional, state and federal level.  The graphic below outlines these players, but it is important to note not all “buckets” are equal: the state of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) has already secured $7.5 billion in coastal funds and will be the recipient of billions of dollars in future proceeds from the BP Oil Spill settlement.  As the overseer and implementer of the Master Plan, CPRA has the greatest resources at its disposal and largest contracting capacity.

Contract/Work Flows in Coastal
The contracts in coastal work are cyclical in nature and fluctuate through three key phases:

  1. Planning, Engineering and Design
    The planning, engineering, and design phase is the first stage of a project in the environmental management sector. This phase involves a highly technical workforce that develops and assesses projects.  According to the CPRA’s 50-year Coastal Master Plan approved in 2017, $262.6 million is identified for the planning and design for restoration projects across the region.
  2. Construction
    For many urban and coastal environmental management projects, the construction phase is often the most labor and capital intense of the three phases. Projects that fall under this phase cover a wide spectrum of activities including, sediment diversions and marsh creation, levee construction, and sewer system rehabilitation.  According to the State’s Coastal Master Plan, over the next ten years, $3.6 billion in expenditures is planned for the construction of projects in the region.
  3. Operation and Maintenance
    Continuing to operate, maintain and monitor these sites will continue well beyond project completion, and the CPRA Master Plan has budgeted $402.9M in planned operation and maintenance expenditures for projects over the next one to ten years. 

Government Resources, Bids and Contracts
As the graphic above illustrates, there are a number of different “buckets” in coastal restoration and a variety of different players. Additionally, there are several key resources for businesses looking to engage with agencies directly:

Industry Connections and Networks
In addition to the government resources above, there are industry based networks designed to support firms in the coastal space:

  • Coast Builders Coalition: A Louisiana-based membership organization made up of firms working in coastal restoration, http://www.coastbuilderscoalition.org/
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE): Louisiana’s ASCE chapter has had a strong focus on ensuring revisions to and updates for the coastal procurement scoring process in recent years. They are strong advocates on behalf of Louisiana firms in coastal restoration http://www.lasce.org/

Coastal Startup Support Services
In the New Orleans area, the startup incubator and accelerator, Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, has identified water and coastal restoration as a signature industry sector.  Through their water challenge, accelerator and incubator Propeller provides assistance to small businesses seeking a triple-bottom line in water management.  http://gopropeller.org/

Information on Key Topics
The following presentations provide resources and information from partner organizations around the

  • What is Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan?
    • Source: Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition
    • Content: An overview of the State’s Coastal Master Plan, the guiding document for coastal restoration and flood protection in Louisiana
  • How is the Coastal Master Plan Funded and Who are the Key Stakeholders?
    • Source: Restore or Retreat
    • Content: Information on the stakeholders who are most involved in this process, where and how to find out more information on them, and the funding streams for The Coastal Master Plan
  • Exploring the Different Types of Work, Plans and Contracts
    • Source: Propeller
    • Content: Webinar reviews the differences in engineering/planning, construction, and operations and maintenance phases of the work, the roles of prime and sub-contractors, and overall opportunities for companies of difference sizes to engage in coastal work
  • How to Access Workforce and Talent for Coastal Projects?
    • Source: University of New Orleans
    • Content: Webinar delves into the sources of labor, workforce training options and career pathways associated with environmental management that ensure local capacity to implement the Coastal Master Plan

For more information on any of these issues, please contact Lacy McManus, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, at lmcmanus@gnoinc.org