Migratory Birds & Coastal Restoration – Episode Three

Coastal-Connection_EpisodeThreeWe visit with Patti Holland, a retired US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who worked extensively in Louisiana’s coastal zone on bird mitigation during restoration projects.

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Atchafalaya Sediment Delivery (AT-02)

A bucket dredge is shown removing sediment from a shoaled-in channel in order to help reestablish water and sediment flow within the Atchafalaya Delta.

Location

The project is located east of the lower Atchafalaya River navigation channel in the Atchafalaya River Delta, approximately 19 miles southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, in St. Mary Parish.

Problems

Growth of the lower Atchafalaya Delta has been reduced as a result of maintenance of the Atchafalaya River navigation channel. Delta development in the shallow waters of Atchafalaya Bay is dependent on distributary flows and the diversion of sediments into over-bank areas through crevasse channels.

Because of the placement of material dredged from the navigation channel and sediment accumulation within the channels that decrease flow efficiency, the open crevasse channels are frequently short-lived. As riverflow through a crevasse channel is reduced, the amount of sediment that can be deposited in the delta is likewise reduced, resulting in decreased marsh development.

Restoration Strategy

The purpose of this project is to promote natural delta development by reopening two silted-in channels and using those dredged sediments to create new wetlands. Approximately 720,000 cubic yards of sediment were dredged from Natal Channel and Castille Pass in 1998. Over 12,000 feet of channel were reopened, and more than 280 acres of new habitat were created by the strategic placement of the dredged channels’ sediments. By reestablishing water and sediment flow into the eastern part of the Atchafalaya Delta, an additional 1,200 acres of new habitat are expected to be naturally created over the life of the project.

map

Progress to Date

Construction was completed in 1998. A pre- versus post-construction habitat analysis using aerial photography indicated that, while there was an increase in land of 78.4 acres, the majority of the habitat created was represented by forested wetland (50.1 acres), while fresh marsh and upland barren habitats accounted for 14 acres gain each. Although many of the dominant plant species are present in both created and reference areas, the created areas contained different plant communities when compared to any time period in the development of a natural crevasse splay that served as a reference area for this project. Although the long-term effects on submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) are unclear, habitat mapping indicated an increase in SAV habitat of 221.5 acres from 1997 to 1998, but this is very close to the increases that were reported in the project area pre-construction. Satellite imagery indicates that there have been significant increases in emergent acreage from 1998 to 2008.

This project is on Priority Project List 2.

The Federal Sponsor is National Marine Fisheries Service.

The Local Sponsor is CPRA.

Mardi Gras in Gheens, LA – Episode Two

Coastal-Connection_EpisodeTwoWe take a deep dive into the Mardi Gras traditions of the coastal community of Gheens, Louisiana, in Lafourche Parish with folklorist Maria Zeringue.

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All About Alligators – Episode One

Coastal-Connection_EpisodeOneThis episode features interviews with Jeb Linscombe with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, St. Mary Parish Alligator Nuisance Trapper Ryan Smith, and owner of Cocodri, Mary Tutwiler.

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East Catfish Lake Marsh Creation and Shoreline Protection (TE-157)

Aerial view of marsh creation project in Terrebonne Parish.

Location

The project is located in Region 3, Terrebonne Basin, Terrebonne Parish.

Problems

Significant marsh loss has occurred east and south of Catfish Lake. Causes of marsh loss include the construction of numerous oil/gas canals, subsidence, and sediment deprivation. Between Catfish Lake and Golden Meadow Hurricane Protection Levee, very little marsh remains after the construction of an extensive network of oil/gas canals. Much of the remaining land in this area consists of spoil banks and isolated patches of marsh. From examination of aerial photography, the majority of this loss occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. Based on the hypertemporal analysis conducted by USGS for the extended project boundary, the land loss rate in the project area is -0.86% per year for the period 1984 to 2019. Shoreline erosion rates (1998-2017) range from 10 ft/yr along the eastern lake shoreline to 22ft/yr along the southern lake shoreline.

Restoration Strategy

The primary goal of this project are; 1) restore marsh habitat in the open water areas east and south of Catfish Lake, and 2) restore and protect the eastern and southern Catfish Lake shoreline. The specific goals of this project are; 1) create 235 acres of marsh, 2) nourish 71 acres of marsh, 3) protect the marsh creation cells from shoreline erosion.

Service goals include restoration/protection of habitat for threatened and endangered species and other at-risk species. This project would restore habitat potentially utilized by the black rail, which is proposed for listing as a threatened species. The project could also benefit other species of concern including the saltmarsh topminnow and seaside sparrow.

Sediment from Catfish Lake will be hydraulically dredged and pumped via pipeline to create/nourish 306 acres of marsh. Dewatering and compaction of dredged sediments should produce elevations conducive to the establishment of emergent marsh and within the intertidal range. Containment dikes will be constructed around each marsh creation cell. Where practicable, material will be borrowed from perimeter oil/gas canals. Containment dikes will be gapped at the end of construction or by TY3. Approximately 2,566 linear feet of sheet pile wall will also be installed as a containment feature. Approximately 12,479 linear feet of shoreline protection (gabion mattresses) will be installed along the lakeside boundary of the marsh creation cells on the constructed containment dikes.

TE157_20200213

The project was approved for Phase I Engineering and Design in January 2020.

The project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 29.

The Federal Sponsor is US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Local Sponsor is CPRA.

Bay Raccourci Marsh Creation and Ridge Restoration (TE-156)

Post project degraded marsh and open water.

Location

The project is located in Region 3, Terrebonne Basin, Terrebonne Parish.

Problems

High saline waters from Lake Mechant have directly contributed to the loss and/or conversion of much of the historically intermediate marshes to low salinity brackish marshes north of Lake Mechant. Subsidence, canal dredging and storm damage have also contributed significantly to the loss of marsh in the area. The zone of intermediate marsh (transition zone between fresh and brackish marshes) is located just north of Lake Merchant. High salinity water entering Bay Raccourci via Bayou Raccourci/Lake Mechant flows unimpeded into low salinity marshes surrounding Bayou Raccourci, effectively short circuiting the TE-44 Project. The 1984 to 2016 USGS loss rate is -0.32%/yr for the extended boundary area.

Restoration Strategy

The primary goals of this project are; 1) restore marsh habitat in the open water and degraded marsh areas via marsh creation and 2) restore forested ridge habitat along Bayou Decade.

The project would consist of the creation of 341 acres if marsh and 103 acres of marsh nourishment with sediments dredged from Lake Mechant and confined with earthen dikes. The proposed design is to place the dredged material to a fill height of +1.17 ft NAVD88. Dewatering and compaction of dredged sediment should produce elevations conducive to the establishment of emergent marsh and within the intertidal range. Containment dikes will be gapped at the end of construction.

The northern containment dike would be built to a height of +4.0 feet NAVD88 with a 10 feet wide crown and would also serve as a ridge. Material for the ridge would be bucket dredged from both Bayou de Cade and from within the marsh creation cell. The entire 16,350 linear feet (17 acres) of ridge would be planted with saplings and bare root seedlings on the crown and smooth cordgrass along the bayou side slopes.

The project would result in approximately 342 net acres over the 20-year project life.

TE156_20200213

The project was approved for Phase I Engineering and Design in January 2020.

The project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 29.

The Federal Sponsor is US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Local Sponsor is CPRA.

Phoenix Marsh Creation – East Increment (BS-42)

Degraded marsh in coastal Louisiana.

Location

The project is located in Region 2, Breton Basin, Plaquemines Parish.

Problems

Two major causes of wetland loss for this area are sediment deprivation and saltwater intrusion. Altered hydrology and oil/gas development have exacerbated this loss. Much of the fresh and intermediate marsh that once existed earlier in this century has either converted to more saline habitats or has become open water as a result of oil/gas canals, subsidence, and a lack of sediment deposition. The 1984 to 2019 USGS land change rate is -0.78% per year.

Restoration Strategy

The project goal is to restore 392 acres of marsh in the open water areas between Bayou la Croix and River aux Chênes through the placement of dredged material via hydraulic dredging. This project will work syngeristically with projects to the east by creating continuity with the Breton Landbridge Marsh Creation (West) Project (BS-38) and the Mid Breton Landbridge Marsh Creation and Terracing Project (BS-32). This proposed first increment would extend the reach of the Breton Landbridge and is part of an overall, long-range, restoration goal to create/nourish 1,000 to 2,000 acres of intermediate marsh across 5 miles of the Breton Sound Basin from River aux Chênes to the Mississippi River.

Sediment will be hydraulically dredged from the Mississippi River. The dredged riverine sediments will be pumped via pipeline into two semi-confined disposal areas. Where feasible, existing marsh will be used as containment instead of containment dikes.

Vegetative plantings are not proposed in the marsh creation areas, and containment dikes will be gapped no later than year three post construction.

Service goals include restoration/protection of habitat for threatened and endangered species and other at-risk species. This project would restore habitat potentially utilized by the black rail, which is proposed for listing as a threatened species. The project could also benefit other species of concern including the saltmarsh topminnow and seaside sparrow.

BS42_20200213

The project was approved for Phase I Engineering and Design in January 2020.

The project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 29.

The Federal Sponsor is US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Local Sponsor is CPRA.

North Delacroix Marsh Creation and Terracing (BS-41)

NOAA staff gather data to inform project design. 

Location

The project is located in Region 2, Breton Basin, St. Bernard Parish.

Problems

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused the majority of wetland loss in the project site. Wind erosion and saltwater intrusion have resulted in loss of marsh vegetation and wetland soils. Marsh loss has increased exposure of Delacroix to flooding from the east/ southeast. The 1984 to 2019 USGS loss rate is -1.4%/ year for the extended project boundary area.

Restoration Strategy

The project goal is to create and nourish approximately 389 acres of marsh and construct approximately 8,548 linear feet of terraces utilizing a layout to help protect the community of Delacroix.

Sediment would be hydraulically dredged from Lake Lery and placed into two confined disposal areas creating 322 acres of marsh and nourishing 67 acres of existing marsh. Two creation cells allow a channel for drainage. Approximately 8,548 ft of earthen terraces would be constructed. The terraces would be strategically placed east of the northern marsh creation cell and south of the southern cell. Dewatering of the marsh creation cells into areas adjacent to the terraces would take advantage of sediment laden water trapping the particulates to create additional marsh. Terraces would be planted with appropriate bare root plants 2.5 ft apart in one row per side and crown. Created marsh will not be planted.

Containment dikes will be gapped no later than three years after construction. Two additional areas of deteriorating marsh south and east of the proposed project will be investigated. Data acquisition for engineering and design would include an additional
349 acres to allow robustness for these additive or alternate features during Phase I.

BS-41_ProjectMap_Feb2020

The project was approved for Phase I Engineering and Design in January 2020.

This project is listed on Priority Project List 29.

The Federal Sponsor is NOAA NMFS.

The Local Sponsor is CPRA.

Caminada Headlands Back Barrier Marsh Creation – Increment 2 (BA-193)

Dredged material from the Gulf of Mexico will be pumped into open-water areas which will create 250 acres of back barrier marsh and nourish 293 acres of emergent marsh behind 4 miles of the Caminada Beach.

Location

The Caminada Headland is defined as the area south of Louisiana Highway 1 between Belle Pass and Caminada Pass. The Project is located directly behind Caminada headland beach east of Bayou Moreau and west of Elmer’s Island. The Project is located in CWPPRA Planning Region 2, Barataria Basin, in Lafourche and Jefferson Parishes.

Problems

The Project is located in an especially dynamic area of the Louisiana Coast, experiencing some of the highest shoreline retreat rates in Louisiana averaging 41.4 feet/year over the last century.  Between 2006 and 2011 shoreline migration increased dramatically, exceeding 80 ft/yr near Bay Champagne and 110 ft/yr near Bayou Moreau. The increased losses occurred after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 as the breaches remained open for an extended length of time which were then exacerbated by Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. The prolonged breaches greatly increased the net export of sediment from the headland.

Restoration Strategy

The goals of this project are to: 1) Create and/or nourish 543 acres of emergent back barrier marsh, by pumping sediment from an offshore borrow site; 2) Create a platform upon which the beach and dune can migrate, reducing the likelihood of breaching, increasing the retention of overwashed sediment, improving the longevity of the barrier shoreline, and protecting wetlands and infrastructure to the north and west. The marsh creation and nourishment cells are designed to minimize impacts on existing marsh and mangroves.  Assuming some natural recruitment, vegetative plantings are planned for 50% of the project area, with half planted at TY3 and half at TY5 (if needed). Containment dikes will be degraded or gapped by TY3 for estuarine organism access. The project would result in approximately 160 net acres over the 20-year project life and would work synergistically with Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration Projects (BA-45 and BA-143), as well as Caminada Headland Back Barrier Marsh Creation Project (BA-171).

BA193_20181109Progress to Date

The 30% design review and 95% design review meetings were held on July 10, 2018 and October 25, 2018, respectively. The Phase II Request for construction funding was presented to the CWPPRA Tech Committee on December 6, 2018.

This project is on Priority Project List 25.

The Federal Sponsor is EPA

The Local Sponsor is CPRA

A Coastal Visit From St. Nicholas

Please enjoy this CWPPRA Parody of Moore’s holiday classic “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” more widely recognized as “The Night Before Christmas.”

 

‘Tis the day we call Christmas and all through the marsh,

The conditions are getting unusually harsh.

Their flowers are wilting, the shrubs getting bare

In response to the cold and dry air that is there.

 

Losing some green as the maples turn red,

Creatures prepare for hard times just ahead.

Drakes coming south, [1] with their females so drab,

Their sexes dimorphic, just like a blue crab.

 

Unlike the crab, though, get out of the water;

The crabs get to rest until it gets hotter.

They bury themselves in the mud and the mash, [2]

Unfortunate ones have to bury in trash! (Please don’t litter.)

 

Our coast doesn’t freeze much but this year might go

To 32 Fahrenheit, maybe below.

Some creatures go far, but some must stay near,

Plants and their roots are anchored right here.

 

Cold can be dangerous, plants can get sick,

Mangroves don’t have a cold-weather trick.

They deal with the salt and they deal with the rain,

But mangroves fear cold, so South they remain. [3]

 

The Turtles, the gators, the lizards, the snakes,

All have cold blood, and so they brumate. [4]

So, hang all your wreaths and deck all the halls,

But think of the wildlife, no matter how small.

 

Habitat loss can hurt plants just as well,

Even those plants that are one simple cell.

Some plants can float and some plants can grow stalks;

yet to be found is a plant that can walk.

 

But wait! We humans have legs we can use

To move plants to places, like in Calcasieu.

Pontchartrain, Breton Sound, Atchafalaya,

These wetland basins now cook jambalaya.

 

We love our heritage and love spicy food;

we also love science that’s been peer-reviewed.

The Delta gets sediment and it slowly grows,

But what of the rest that sits under our nose?

 

Let’s restore our coast, let’s give it a try,

Think about those who can swim, walk, or fly.

Those who are sessile, of course, matter too.

CWPPRA loves wetlands, alive through and through.

 

Our work is important, it always gets better,

sometimes with projects that work well together.

Funding the coastline is not just a show,

It helps our plants and our wildlife grow.

 

Other good things that come from restoring

Are seafood, and commerce, and outdoor exploring.

We protect ports and some habitat too,

We protect cities and we protect you.

 

Enough of the bragging, there’s still more to learn

On techniques we use to reduce the concern!

We nourish beaches to give seabirds refuge

And rebuild salt marsh for protection from deluge.

 

Working away, we burn midnight’s oil

To stop salt intrusion and relocate soils.

We plan with our partners to restore the most

For CWPPRA to work on Protecting Our Coast.

 

[1] https://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bwdsite/explore/regions/southeast/louisiana/louisiana-birding-season-fall.php

[2] https://www.bluecrab.info/faq.htm

[3] https://databasin.org/datasets/6ec804f5250a483abd9bdb200939247f

[4] http://www.loyno.edu/lucec/natural-history-writings/where-do-alligators-go-winter

Featured image from http://www.realestnature.com/south-louisiana-salt-marsh-fishing/

Original poem:

Moore, C. (1823). A Visit from St. Nicholas (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas). A Visit from St. Nicholas (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)(Lit2Go Edition). Retrieved December 18, 2018, from http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/234/a-visit-from-st-nicholas-twas-the-night-before-christmas/5903/a-visit-from-st-nicholas-twas-the-night-before-christmas/