Project Spotlight: USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Coastwide Vegetative Planting (LA-39)

Plants have power in coastal restoration and the Coastwide Vegetative Planting Project by NRCS rapidly responds to the needs of specific areas following storms and other damaging events.

What is the name of the project, and where is it located? 

The Coastwide Vegetative Planting Project, managed by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), is implemented coastwide to protect and restore emergent vegetation in coastal areas. 

What was the timeline for this project?

Site selection occurred annually from 2011 through 2020.  Plant installations began in 2012 and will be completed in 2022, unless the project is extended. 

How many acres of wetland does this project benefit/create? 

Thirty sites have been planted in 14 coastal parishes, with two additional sites scheduled to be planted in 2022. Thus far, over 160,000 smooth cordgrass vegetative plugs, almost 300,000 California bulrush trade gallon sized plants, and over 107,000 plants of other species have been installed.  Those other species include giant cutgrass, roseau cane, seashore paspalum, bitter panicum, black needlerush, and baldcypress.  

What is most important/impactful about this project? 

The Coastwide Vegetative Planting Project facilitates a consistent and responsive planting effort coastwide that is flexible enough to routinely plant on a large scale and to rapidly respond to specific areas of need following storms or other damaging events. 

Is there anything unique about this project you would like to bring attention to? 

Unique to the Coastwide Vegetative Planting Project within the context of CWPPRA projects, new sites are added annually; therefore, several project components occur simultaneously: site selection, planning, construction, and monitoring.  This facilitates an adaptive management process. Lessons learned from the monitoring help to inform subsequent site selection and planning.  The Coastwide Vegetative Planting Project has provided valuable monitoring data for restoration programs.   

Also, this project set up an advisory panel consisting of representatives from various state and federal agencies who assist in the selection of projects for funding.  It is a great example of working together to restore coastal Louisiana. 

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