LEEC 2017

The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Louisiana Environmental Education Association hosted the 20th Environmental Education State Symposium on February 3-4, 2017 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Baton Rouge, La. The theme of this year’s symposium was “protecting Louisiana’s endangered species.”

The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission (LEEC) provides environmental education news from across Louisiana, including information on environmental education programs, workshops, and grant opportunities.  The state symposium furnished opportunities for formal and non-formal environmental educators from Louisiana and surrounding states to meet and share teaching techniques as well as multiple concurrent sessions for various topics and grade levels. Keynote speaker Dr. Jessica Kastler, Coordinator of Program Development at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s Marine Education Center, used individual cases of endangered species to engage the audience in explorations of the process of science while cultivating environmental stewardship. In addition to the keynote speech, presenters in 15 concurrent sessions provided lesson demonstrations, hands-on workshops, and/or exemplary programs. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act Public Outreach Staff was among exhibitors with a multitude of materials to assist teachers of all grade levels in furthering their students’ knowledge in environmental education and coastal protection.

Estuaries

An estuary is an ecosystem comprised of both the biological and physical environment, commonly located where a river meets the sea. Estuaries are 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. One of the most expansive and productive estuaries in the world is located in the United States at the interface of the Mississippi River’s freshwater and the salt water from the Gulf of Mexico.

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 enjoyable recreational activities such as fishing. Continue your love for estuaries and contribute to their well-being by aiming to keep your estuary areas clean of trash and healthy environments for wildlife, vegetation, and others to enjoy!

Share the estuary love for Valentine’s Day! #iheartestuaries

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Bayou Grande Cheniere Marsh & Ridge Restoration

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Significant marsh loss has occurred south of Lake Hermitage with the construction of numerous oil and gas canals, subsidence, and sediment deprivation. The most significant loss occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. Based on the hyper-temporal analysis conducted by USGS for the extended boundary, loss rates in the project area are estimated to be -1.16% per ear for the period 1984 to 2011.

The goals of the Bayou Grande Cheniere Marsh and Ridge Restoration Project (BA-173) are to restore marsh habitat adjacent to the eastern shoreline of Bayou Grande Cheniere, reestablish the corresponding section of the bayou’s forested ridge habitat along this shoreline, and create terraces to restore marsh in open water habitat. Specific objectives are to 1) restore 302 acres of brackish marsh habitat, 2) construct the marsh platform to an elevation that supports healthy marsh; 3) reestablish 10,625 linear feet of the historic Bayou Grande Cheniere Ridge to an elevation that supports healthy woody vegetation, 4) establish the ridge with diverse native woody species, and 5) construct 12,000 linear feet of terraces to an elevation that will support healthy marsh.

Riverine sediments will be hydraulically dredged and pumped via pipeline to create/nourish approximately 302 acres of marsh. Containment dikes will be constructed around the perimeter of the marsh creation cells. The proposed design is to place the dredged material to a target fill elevation of +3.0 feet which would ultimately settle to an approximate elevation of just under +0.75 feet NAVD88 (Geoid 12A) at TY20. Tidal creeks are expected to form naturally and containment dikes will be gapped and degraded to enhance the naturally formed tidal creeks.

Hydraulically dredged river sediments will be used to restore 10,625 linear feet of the Bayou Grande Cheniere Ridge. The ridge will have 25-ft crown width, a target height of +4.5 ft NAVD88, and side slopes of 1(V):8(H). Herbaceous plantings (e.g., seashore paspalum) will be necessary immediately after construction and bottomland hardwood species (seedlings and saplings) will be planted by Year 3. Funding for tallow control and maintenance plantings is also included.

In addition, 11,700 linear feet of earthen terraces will be constructed resulting in the creation of approximately 10 acres of wetlands benefiting 154 acres of open water. Each terrace segment will be approximately 450 feet long and built to an elevation of +3.0 feet, with a 25-foot crown width and 1(V):4(H) side slopes. The terraces will be constructed with a bucket dredge using in situ material from within the terrace field.

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This project is located in Plaquemines Parish west of the Mississippi River near West Pointe a la Hache. Specifically, the project features are south of Lake Hermitage and along the eastern side of Bayou Grande Cheniere.

This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 23.

The Bayou Grande Cheniere Marsh & Ridge Restoration project sponsors include:

Keep up with this project and other CWPPRA projects on the project page.

 

Wetland Habitat

More than one-third of threatened and endangered species in the United States live only in wetlands, and nearly half use wetlands at some point in their lives. Estuarine and marine fish, shellfish, various birds, and certain mammals must have coastal wetlands to survive.

CWPPRA has protected,  created, or restored approximately 95,954 acres of Louisiana’s vanishing coastal wetlands in its first 25 years. Those restored swamps, marshes, and barrier islands/headlands and associated open-water habitats provide foraging, nesting, breeding, wintering, escape cover, and nursery habitat for a myriad of coastal fish and wildlife. Species that benefit include threatened, endangered, at-risk, and rare species, as well as commercially and recreationally valuable species and state and national fish and wildlife trust resources. Habitats restored through CWPPRA have aided in the delisting of our national symbol, the bald eagle, and the Louisiana state bird, the brown pelican, from the endangered species list.

Number of acres CWPPRA projects have benefited for fish and wildlife habitat:

  • 25,900 acres – fresh marsh/swamp
  • 21,700 acres – intermediate marsh
  • 19,000 acres – brackish/saline marsh
  • 6,200 acres – barrier islands/headlands
  • 15,700 acres – combined coastal habitats

 

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World Wetlands Day 2017

World Wetlands Day is designated as a day to raise global awareness about the value and benefits of wetlands for both humanity and the planet; it is celebrated every February 2nd. Wetlands provide an immense number of benefits to not only the surrounding areas via protection, but also thriving aquaculture industries and commodities on both a national and international level. Healthy wetlands play a vital role in sustaining life and acting as natural safeguards in extreme weather events through disaster risk reduction.

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act participated in the appreciation of wetlands by attending the World Wetlands Day Celebration on February 2nd, 2017 at the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum in Houma, La. The South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center hosted its 8th annual celebration by inviting third grade students from St. Matthews Episcopal School and Honduras Elementary, as well as sixth grade students from St. Francis de Sales Catholic School, totaling 185 local students, to learn about different aspects of wetlands. The CWPPRA Public Outreach Staff informed students about the relevance of wetlands by drawing connections between four different yet familiar types of wetlands and seafood, previous hurricane activity in the region, industry jobs, and wetland functionality. In order to do so, the CWPPRA staff incorporated the Where the Wild Things Are game to teach the students about wetland habitats and the animals living in them. This game consisted of students matching different wetland bean bag animals to the correct habitat: swamp, marsh, barrier island, and ocean. Where the Wild Things Are provides an opportunity for students to understand the connections between different wetland environments, recognize the adaptability of some animals to more than one habitat, and identify specific characteristics of each habitat, such as vegetation.

 

 

CWPPRA

Are you aware of CWPPRA’s Programmatic Benefits?

  • Proven Track Record of Project Construction– Over 25 years, 210 approved projects benefiting more than 1,344 square miles (800,000 acres); 108 constructed (16 under construction).
  • Responsive– CWPPRA projects are constructed in 5 to 7 years.
  • Interagency Approach– Cost-effective projects developed by an experienced interagency team (5 Federal, 1 State agencies).
  • Community Involvement– Local governments and citizens contribute to project nominations and development.
  • Predictable Funding– Federal Sport Fish & Boating Safety Trust Fund funding to 2021 through fishing equipment taxes and small engine fuel taxes.
  • Fiscally Responsible– CWPPRA projects are cost-effective.
  • Science Based– CWPPRA’s monitoring program (Coastwide Referencing Monitoring System-CRMS). Demonstration projects “field-test” restoration techniques for future restoration project success.
  • Complementary– CWPPRA projects complement other large-scale restoration efforts (i.e., Coastal Impact Assistance Program, State Master Plan, BP DWH Oil Spill Early Restoration and the RESTORE Act).

CWPPRA has been and will continue to be the primary source of practical experience, learning, and agency expertise regarding coastal restoration in Louisiana.

 

Northwest Turtle Bay Marsh Creation

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Historic wetland loss in the area stems from shoreline erosion along Turtle Bay and interior marsh loss from subsidence, sediment deprivation, and construction of oil and gas canals. Based on the hyper-temporal analysis conducted by USGS for the extended project boundary, loss rates in the area are estimated to be -0.83% per year for the period 1984 to 2015.

The primary goal is to re-create marsh habitat in the open water areas and nourish existing marsh within the project area. The specific goal of the project is to create approximately 700 acres of marsh with dredged material from Turtle Bay or Little Lake. The total project area is 798 acres, but the entire area will not be filled with dredged material.

The proposed project would create approximately 484 acres and nourish approximately 216 acres. Existing canal spoil banks, emergent marsh, and limited segments of containment dikes will be used to guide the distribution of the dredged material in the western fill area. Complete perimeter containment dikes will be utilized for the eastern fill area. Containment dikes will be gapped to reestablish hydrologic connectivity with adjacent wetlands.

The project will work synergistically with several existing and planned projects on the Barataria Basin Landbridge, an important landscape feature across the central Barataria Basin.

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This project is located in Region 2, Barataria Basin, Jefferson Parish, northwest of Turtle Bay.

Northwest Turtle Bay Marsh Creation is on Priority Project List (PPL) 21 and was approved for Phase II Construction by the CWPPRA Task Force in January of 2017.

Northwest Turtle Bay Marsh Creation project sponsors include:

Keep up with this project and other CWPPRA projects on the project page.