Humble Canal Hydrologic Restoration (ME-11)

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The Grand and White Lakes system has been maintained
as a fresh-to-intermediate marsh environment. This has
been accomplished through water management using
natural ridges, levees, locks, and water control structures.
This project replaces the Humble Canal structure that has
fallen into disrepair. This project is compatible with the
overall basin strategy of treating critical areas of marsh
loss within the interior of the basin and managing water
levels with structures to relieve stress on interior wetlands.
The project also relieves this area from continued saltwater
intrusion from the Mermentau River that threatens the
viability of the fresh to intermediate marshes within the
region.

The objective of this project is to restore historical
hydrology to the project area by constructing a water
control structure consisting of five 48-inch diameter by 50-
foot long corrugated aluminum pipes with flap gates and
weir drop inlets along with one 18-inch diameter
corrugated aluminum pipe with screw gate. This structure
will protect the area from Mermentau River saltwater
intrusion and allow high water to drain from the marsh to
the river. Dredging of a small waterway is included to
increase the effectiveness of the structure.

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The project is located in the Mermentau basin, on the west
bank of the Mermentau River approximately 2 miles
southwest of Grand Lake at the Humble Canal in Cameron
Parish, Louisiana.

Construction of the project was completed March 5, 2003.
The project is now in the operation and maintenance phase.

This project is on Priority Project List 8.

 

Federal Sponsor is NRCS

Local Sponsor is CPRA

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Coastal Careers

Wetland career opportunities are as diverse as the ecosystems they focus on. Whether you want to restore, study, inform, or otherwise utilize the abundance of ecosystem services, wetlands can provide a lifelong, rewarding career.  Involvement in wetlands is not limited to the sciences; it includes numerous different disciplines. Wetland careers also span various organizations from local to the federal level and from the private sector, nonprofits, and public service positions.

Wetland restoration involves several professions within the bounds of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Coastal biologists, hydrologists, botanists, engineers, modelers, and GIS specialists are all involved in planning, constructing, and monitoring CWPPRA restoration projects. In addition to STEM professionals, the coast needs professionals that work with the communities who are impacted by coastal wetland loss and policymakers who leverage the law to ensure local, state, and federal governments prioritize coastal wetland restoration. Coastal organizations also need grant writers and development professionals to generate funds for advocacy, engagement, and restoration projects as well as individuals who are involved in the day-to-day operations of the organization.

In addition to coastal restoration careers, many individuals benefit financially from the services and resources the wetlands provide. Wetlands supply jobs in fossil fuel production, the seafood industry, and agriculture production for Louisiana’s workforce and contribute billions of dollars to our state each year. These industries have a variety of careers within STEM, social sciences, administrative, and communication fields.

Tourism and education professionals are also invested in keeping wetlands healthy. These professionals are enthusiastic to share the splendor of our state with visitors from far and wide. Teaching both our native population and out-of-state neighbors the importance of keeping wetlands working properly is one of the main goals of the CWPPRA Outreach Office, alongside many great friends and partners from groups like BTNEP and RESTORE the Mississippi River Delta.

Wetlands can also inspire careers within the arts. Artists find some of their greatest stories and strongest inspiration in the wetlands of Louisiana’s. Painters such as George Rodrigue, photographers like Frank Relle, writers such as James Lee Burke, and musicians such as Lost Bayou Ramblers, to name a few, have all found inspiration in our charming, vibrant wetlands.

If you’re interested in wetlands, there’s probably a job for you that incorporates your other interests. The fight to restore and protect our wetlands is all encompassing and there’s numerous outlets for your curiosity, creativity and innovation!

 

 

 

Four Mile Canal Terracing and Sediment Trapping (TV-18)

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The main cause of current marsh loss is a shoreline erosion
rate of approximately 8 feet/year. A combination of wind
and wake energy prevents sediments introduced by the Gulf
Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) via the Vermilion River and
Four Mile Canal from allowing subaerial marsh development
in the area.

Reduction of shoreline erosion will be achieved by the
buffering capacity of the constructed terraces. The proposed
terrace layout is very different for each area of the project.
The “fish net” design for Little Vermilion Bay is designed to
allow sediment deposition and the terraces in Little White
Lake are aligned to reduce the wind generated waves, thus
reducing shoreline erosion. Thus, marsh habitat will be
created in two ways within the Four Mile Canal Terracing
Project area. First, marsh will immediately be built by
creating approximately 90 terraces from dredged material
and planting them with smooth cordgrass. This action alone
will create 70 acres of subaerial land. Second, by reducing
fetch and wave energy, terraces will promote the deposition
of suspended sediments in the shallow water adjacent to
the terrace edges in Little Vermilion Bay and Little White
Lake. This will slowly build marsh over the life of the
project as subaerial land is built and plants naturally become
established.

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The project is located approximately 4 miles south of
intracoastal City in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. The
project area includes all of Little White Lake and part of the
northeastern embayment of Little Vermilion Bay.

Project construction was completed in May 2004. No
maintenance activities have been undertaken as of 2017
and none are planned prior to project closeout. While some
terraces have eroded since construction, in general the
project is in good condition and functioning as intended.
Shoreline erosion has decreased and wetland acreage has
increased since construction.

This project is on Priority Project List 9

The Federal Sponsor is NOAA NMFS

The Local Sponsor is CPRA

Evolving Study of Wetlands

From towing an airboat to a site, to driving the vessel, to taking samples in the hot, humid sun, there are many challenges for researchers as they study coastal wetlands.  Thanks to innovations in drone technology, researchers can study the wetlands a little easier. With free movement in every direction, a camera, and various other attachments, drones can gather enormous amounts of data in a fraction of the time that it would take more traditional methods. Drones are far from alone on the forefront of technological advancement. Innovations in drones sit alongside and often work synergistically with GIS/GPS, remote sensing, and machine learning breakthroughs, to name a few.

In addition to the evolution of drone technology, computer software and hardware systems evolve just as quickly, consistently streamlining data collection, processing, and analysis. The two go hand-in-hand, of course; complex software can only be run with more powerful or specialized computer hardware, tailored to the task it will be performing. Major game-changers challenge the norms and traditions of science increasingly more often. In the past several decades, satellite imagery has become more prevalent, drones have allowed scientists and others to access new perspectives, and machine learning has grown to process more parameters at higher speeds. All of this advancement in computing has allowed scientists to develop greater understandings of systems, connectivity, and changes in wetlands.

In addition to improvements in drones, software, and processing power, researchers have improved the development of environmental models. Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, one of CWPPRA’s managing agencies, joined with LSU to design, manufacture, and implement the Center for River Studies’ scale model of the Mississippi River in 2017. An amazing feat of engineering, the river model allows scientists to study several aspects of our coastal zone. Using a sediment medium that mimics Mississippi River sediments, studies can predict what will happen during a flood event, if a diversion gets installed, and so many other situations. Hydrology, sedimentation, and potential ecological impacts can all be measured on this 10,000 square-foot platform at approximately a 13:1-time scale, i.e. one full day running the model represents about thirteen full days on the real Mississippi River.

In a dynamic landscape like coastal Louisiana, good equipment is a huge benefit to studies and planning for the future. Land loss is a complex issue with several moving parts that need to be studied and addressed. It is imperative that there is a good understanding of the full system before any changes are made that could have detrimental effects on any important aspects of our productive, populated, and protective coast.

 

Related articles:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364815217311295

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/remote-sensing

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925857417303658

 

Featured image from https://blog.nature.org/science/2016/09/27/flight-over-the-bas-ogooue-using-drones-to-map-gabons-wetlands/

Barataria Bay Waterway East Side Shoreline Protection (BA-26)

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The banks of the Dupre Cut have eroded considerably as a
result of vessel wakes. Large breaches in the banks
exposed the adjacent marsh to increased water exchange,
tidal energy, and saltwater intrusion.

The objective of this project was to rebuild and stabilize
the east bank of the Dupre Cut. A stronger bank would
reduce erosion and help reestablish wetlands by allowing
sediment accretion on the leeward side of the foreshore
rock dike.

The project plan involved the construction of over 3 miles
of foreshore rock dike along the east bank of the Dupre
Cut to protect adjacent marshes from shoreline erosion.
This rock dike extends above the surface of the water and
will protect the fragile marsh area from boat wakes
generated within the BBWW.

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The project is located in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, on
the east bank of the Dupre Cut portion of the Barataria Bay
Waterway, north of the Lafitte Gas and Oil Field and south
of the subsided land reclamation effort known as “the
Pen.”

 

Construction was completed in June 2001. Baseline
monitoring information has been collected and will be
used to evaluate the project’s effectiveness. The O&M
Plan was signed in October 2002. This project is on
Priority Project List 6.

The Federal Sponsor is NRCS.

The Local Sponsor is CPRA.

EcoSTEAM Summer Camp

Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Project Front Yard hosts five weeks of a summer camp focused on environmental issues and STEAM activities. Eco-STEAM began June 17 and CWPPRA joined campers June 24 through 28. Our Wetland Warriors program included three days of wetland-based activities, outlining important adaptations that help plants and animal species with survival in the dynamic coastal wetlands of Louisiana.

We began on Monday with Wetland Jeopardy because it leads into discussion about wetland ecosystem services and children enjoy the friendly competition. The next day, we focused more specifically on wetland plants and their importance to overall ecosystem health. The Girard Park pond was helpful to discuss adaptations like the bald cypress. Our last day centered on wetland animals, mostly birds, and some of their adaptation for wetlands habitats. Birds are an excellent teaching tool because some can swim, walk, and fly, and beak variability can have some serious implications on species distribution. The campers enjoyed the beak variability activity, which challenged them to use a spoon, a fork, a straw and a toothpick to pick up various shaped snacks like gummy worms, sunflower seeds, goldfish crackers, and mini M&Ms. Our week of wetland instruction concluded with a field trip to Lafayette’s Acadiana Park Nature Station.

This was the Eco-STEAM’s second year and CWPPRA was thrilled to be included again, alongside great community partners including local IT giant CGI, UL Lafayette’s Hilliard Art Museum, the McComb-Veazey Neighborhood Coterie, and Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Office of Community Development, Parks and Recreation Department, and Recycling Division. This program is offered as an affordable summer option for area kindergarten through eighth grade students and we interacted with just over 100 eager new “Wetland Warriors.”

 

Cooperation is Key

The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) celebrates America’s beaches annually by highlighting recently restored recreational coastal areas. The Caminada Headland’s beach restoration is one of the four winners of the ASBPA’s Best Restored Beach award, alongside South Padre Island in Texas, Waypoint Park Beach in Washington, and Duval County in Florida. [1] The Caminada Headland restoration project was spearheaded by our state partner, CPRA, and multiple CWPPRA projects preceeded it and work synergistically to  improve the entire Caminada barrier island system.

CPRA’s Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration is a barrier island restoration project with two increments (BA-45 and BA-143) constructed in 2015 and 2017. Since the input of approximately 5.4 million cubic yards of sediment, the beach has improved habitat for shorebirds and plants. In addition to the direct benefits of the beach as a habitat, the healthy barrier island will better protect the marsh on the bay side as well as inland wetlands from storm surge and wave energy.

CWPPRA’s Caminada Headlands Back Barrier Marsh Creation increments 1&2 (BA-171, BA-193) is directly behind CPRA’s Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration and greatly benefits from the project.  Together CPRA and CWPPRA have restored a complete barrier island, which would have been difficult and costly to do without partners. Our coast’s future depends on the cooperation of organizations and their projects. Louisiana’s land loss crisis is too large to tackle in one way or by one group, and successful collaboration leads to the best available science, innovative design, and systems-based approaches. CWPPRA and our state partners are working towards a common goal: a healthy coast for the future of our state.

[1] http://asbpa.org/2019/05/20/celebrating-americas-beaches-asbpa-names-its-best-restored-beaches-for-2019/

https://www.lacoast.gov/reports/project/20180601_BI_lessons_learned_SOC18__Darin_Lee.pdf

 

Featured image from https://www.audubon.org/magazine/fall-2017/louisiana-restoring-its-barrier-islands-defend