Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) is the state’s anti-litter and community improvement organization. Affiliated with Keep America Beautiful, KLB’s mission is to “promote personal, corporate and community responsibility for a clean and beautiful Louisiana.” Founded in 2000,… More
This week’s Wetland Wednesday highlights National Wildlife Refuges in honor of
National Wildlife Refuge Week
So, what is a national wildlife refuge? A national wildlife refuge is a designated area of land which is protected and managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. These public land and water areas are dedicated to conserving wildlife and plants, while providing outreach and educational opportunities to inform the public on habitats and species relevant to the local area. These refuges manage a broad range of landscapes/habitat types such as wetlands, prairies, coastal and marine areas, and temperate, tundra, and boreal forests; as a result, each different habitat type attracts its own web of inhabitants. Many of the national refuges are responsible for rising numbers of endangered species, such as whooping cranes in Louisiana, which are federally protected and closely monitored. National Wildlife Refuges manage six wildlife-dependent recreational uses in accordance with National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, including hunting, fishing, birding, photography, environmental education, and interpretation. Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week by taking part in recreational activities and efforts to maintain safe, sustainable areas for local wildlife.
Click here to find a National Wildlife Refuge near you!
According to USGS-land loss analysis, much of the southern and western shorelines of Lake Lery and the surrounding wetlands were heavily damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. In the years following this storm, wind induced waves within the lake have begun to cause further damage to the lake’s shorelines. Currently the shorelines have become so damaged that the interior emergent marshes that are still intact are being exposed to the damaging waves. This has caused an increased loss of emergent marsh habitat. Even with the benefits of the Caernarvon Diversion Structure, without some type of restoration in this area, these marshes may not be able to fully recover.
This is a marsh creation and shoreline restoration project. The marsh creation aspect of the project would utilize a hydraulic dredge to extract material form Lake Lery water bottoms and pump that material into contained marsh creation cells which are located south of Lake Lery. This will initially create and/or nourish approximately 496 acres of marsh (356 Net Acres at Target Year 20). The shoreline restoration project component would have a barge-mounted dragline excavating material from the bottom of Lake Lery and placing that material along 35,831 ft. of the southern and western Lake Lery shorelines. This restored shoreline would have a 50 foot crown width and be built to a height considered high intertidal marsh.
The lake side shoreline would have a 5:1 side slope which would be planted with smooth cordgrass and bullwhip. This would initially create 55 acres of marsh (50 Net Acres at Target Year 20) along the Lake Lery shoreline. Total created/restored marsh acreage for this project is 551 acres (406 Total Net Acres at Target Year 20).
The project area is located in Region 2, within the Breton Sound Basin portion of Plaquemines Parish. The project is specifically located south of the Caernarvon Freshwater Diversion Structure and west of the town of Delacroix, southeast of New Orleans.
As of April 2016, this project is under construction with most of the lake shoreline restoration nearly completed on the southern shoreline. The western shoreline restoration feature is currently underway. There is one marsh creation cell that is nearly completed. A larger dredge will be arriving soon and marsh creation will accelerate. This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 17.
The South Lake Lery Shoreline and Marsh Restoration project sponsors include:
- Federal Sponsor: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Local Sponsor: Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
In honor of October 3rd, World Habitat Day, this Wetland Wednesday will discuss wetlands as a habitat!
Louisiana wetlands are essential in providing habitats for wildlife. For some wildlife, the only fitting habitat that adequately provides all needs and resources to survive are wetlands. Different types of wildlife rely upon different types of wetland habitats such as swamp, freshwater marsh, intermediate marsh, brackish marsh and salt marsh. The Great Egret and Great Blue Heron can be found in freshwater marshes along with wood ducks, while Brown Pelicans, the state bird of Louisiana, are most frequently found in intermediate marshes. Seasonal migration pathways also rely heavily upon the sustainability of wetland habitats. Louisiana’s coast provides a critical habitat and resting point for waterfowl in route along the Mississippi Flyway during migration; about 40% of all North American migrating waterfowl and shorebirds use this route. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act continues to work to enhance, restore, and protect these imperative habitats for the nation’s wildlife!
Did you know:
CWPPRA has protected, created, or restored approximately 96,806 acres of wetlands in Louisiana.
The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act has funded coastal restoration projects for 26 years. Presently, CWPPRA has 153 total active projects, 108 completed projects, 17 active construction projects, 23 projects currently in Engineering and Design and has enhanced more than 355,647 acres of wetlands . These projects provide for the long-term conservation of wetlands and dependent fish and wildlife populations. Projects funded by CWPPRA are cost-effective ways of restoring, protecting, and enhancing coastal wetlands. CWPPRA has a proven track record of superior coastal restoration science and monitoring technique in Louisiana. The success of the CWPPRA program has been essential in providing critical ecosystem stabilization along Louisiana’s coast and has provided pioneering solutions for land loss.
Visit CWPPRA’s website for more information!
The marsh boundary separating Lake Borgne and the MRGO has undergone both interior and shoreline wetland losses due to subsidence, impacts related to construction and use of the MRGO (i.e., deep draft vessel traffic), and wind-driven waves. Although much of the project area is protected from edge erosion by shoreline protection measures, and since 2009, then MRGO has been deauthorized for deep draft navigation and maintenance, interior wetland loss due to subsidence continues to cause marsh fragmentation and pond enlargement. Wetland loss rates in the project area are estimated to be -0.60 percent a year based on USGS analysis.
The proposed project will create and nourish 634 acres of marsh using dredged sediment from Lake Borgne. Existing high shorelines along Lake Borgne, remnants of previous containment dikes and marsh edge, would be used for containment to the extent practical. Constructed containment dikes would be breached/gapped as needed to provide tidal exchange after fill materials settle and consolidate. The project would create 346 acres of marsh and nourish at least 288 acres of existing fragmented marsh. A target fill elevation of +1.2 feet is envisioned to enhance longevity of this land form. Additionally, 187 acres of vegetative planting will occur within the newly created areas. Due to the presence of existing banklines, dredged slurry overflow could potentially be discharged immediately adjacent to the project polygons, resulting in nourishment of additional areas.
The Shell Beach South Marsh Creation project is located in Region 1, Pontchartrain Basin, South Lake Borgne Mapping Unit, St. Bernard Parish, north bank of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) in the vicinity of Shell Beach.
This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 24 and was approved for Phase I Engineering and Design in January 2015.
The Shell Beach South Marsh Creation project sponsors include:
- Federal Sponsor: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Local Sponsor: Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
The Bayou Vermilion Preservation Association (BVPA) is an organization which creates awareness of our natural environment by providing education and outreach to the general community about ways to conserve, protect and enjoy the Bayou Vermilion Watershed. The BVPA hosts an annual festival to commemorate and celebrate the Vermilion River as a cherished working river which contributes to Lafayette and Vermilion parish by confluences of small bayous in St. Mary and St. Landry parish. The theme of BVPA’s 3rd Annual Water Weekend on the Vermilion was “Backyard to the Bayou” which included a visionary water symposium directed toward understanding your role as the general public in the preservation of the river.
This year, the BVPA worked toward answering the question on many resident’s minds-How can we best inform and involve the community in preserving the bayou? In an attempt to answer this question, the water symposium discussed opportunities and threats for the Bayou Vermilion by presenting a series of distinguished speakers. Speakers include Peter Mayeux, owner of All Seasons Nursery and Landscaping, who spoke on ideas for best management practices on an individual’s property, followed by Rusty Ruckstuhl, landscape architect with Grassroots Landscaping, who discussed ideas and concepts of homeowner water management irrigation and drainage. Michael Cullen, landscape architect with Land Architecture, LLC.; Pamela Gonzales Grainger, landscape engineer with Macbad Engineers; as well as Jeff Foshee and Teddy Beaullieu, Southern Lifestyle Development, each discussed relevant topics of their field for considerations toward sustainable community development. John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, and Brad Klamer, New Orleans Sewage and Water Board, each gave insight into current successful projects in their respective regions, followed by Donald Sagrera, Teche-Vermilion Water District; David Cheramie, Bayou Vermilion District; and Bess Foret, Lafayette Consolidated Government, who discussed management of the bayou. The 3rd annual visionary water symposium closed with a panel discussion including Bess Foret, Michael Cullen, Pamela Gonzales Grainger, and Daniel Didier, where views were exchanged on how to involve the community in preserving the Bayou Vermilion.
The Coastal Wetland Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act’s Public Outreach staff attended the symposium and distributed various informational publications to symposium attendees.
In honor of National Estuaries Week, this week’s Wetland Wednesday focuses on
An estuary is an ecosystem comprised of both the biological and physical environment, commonly located where a river meets the sea. Estuaries are known to be inhabited by an array of plant and animal species that have adapted to brackish water—a mixture between freshwater draining from inland and salt water. Estuaries have one of the highest productivity rates among ecosystems in the world; they provide an abundance of food and shelter as well as breeding and migration locations. Estuaries also provide great access for successful recreational activities such as fishing. Celebrate National Estuaries Week by aiming to keep your estuary areas clean of trash for others to enjoy as well as a healthy environment for wildlife and vegetation!