In the mid-1950s continuous dikes were constructed and water was pumped off the marsh, transforming it into dry pastureland. As a result of oxidation, the soil elevation has subsided 1 to 2 feet. Deterioration and loss of the perimeter levees in recent years has converted the entire area into a shallow, open water lake with a few small marsh islands resulting in a net loss of fisheries habitat.
The restoration project will reduce marsh erosion by creating emergent terraces designed to minimize wave fetch across open water and, at the same time, creating linear marsh features. Future marsh loss will be prevented and brackish marsh will be restored. Construction of the earthen terraces in shallow water areas will also convert areas of open water back to vegetated marsh creating more habitat for fish and shellfish. The project calls for constructing adjacent terrace cells in a staggered gap formation, each bordered by terraces made from dredged material. Terraces will be built and planted with smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), and California bulrush (Scirpus californicus). Plantings may also occur on the north side of the terracing area.
This project is located in southeastern Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, approximately 5 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico just south of Pecan Island and Louisiana Highway 82.
The project construction was completed in August 2003, initially creating over 122 acres of emergent marsh. The monitoring plan was finalized in November 2001 and data collection has been ongoing since that time.
This project is on Priority Project List 7.
The Federal Sponsor is NOAA
The Local Sponsor is CPRA