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