With coastal needs continuing to grow, we can learn from nature’s history for ways to strengthen our coastlines. While we often think about how barrier islands protect the coast from storms, coastal cheniers and forests across Louisiana are also essential in providing that protection. These coastal forests are often found on shell ridges known as cheniers.
French for “place of oaks”, cheniers act as storm barriers, prevent saltwater intrusion, and provide wildlife habitat for migratory birds and butterflies [1,3]. Cheniers along Louisiana’s coast extend from Cameron Parish in the west to Iberia Parish” . Due to their higher relief, or height above sea level, a large majority of these areas were cleared for human development uses such as highways, agriculture, and oil and gas . Louisiana originally hosted 100,000 to 500,000 acres of chenier, but today only 2,000 to 10,000 acres remain .
While these numbers can be discouraging, local and state efforts are in place to conserve live-oak (Quercus virginiana) cheniers and coastal forests.
Louisiana is fortunate to have programs and organizations like this to conserve the coast and its natural abundance. These practices along with landowner, volunteer and citizen engagement are essential to coastal restoration. You may visit CWPPRA’s website lacoast.gov to learn how you can help Louisiana’s coastal wetlands!
Do your part to conserve our environment and help Louisiana’s coast!
The major problem in the Hog Bayou Unit is land loss caused by failed agricultural impoundments and pump-offs. Other problems include saltwater intrusion from the Mermentau Ship Channel and a Gulf shoreline erosion rate of 40 feet per year. Over a period of 60 years, 9,230 acres (38% of the original marsh) was lost from the Hog Bayou Watershed, with the greatest amount of land lost between 1956 and 1974.
The major contributors to land loss in the Watershed are subsidence, compaction, and the oxidization of marsh soils in the former pump-offs and leveed agricultural areas between Hog Bayou and Highway 82. Large areas of marsh south of Highway 82 were “force drained” during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Many of these same areas now consist of open water with very little wetland vegetation. One of the largest areas of current loss is in and north of the project area.
The project’s goal is to create 430 acres and nourish 23 acres of emergent brackish and intermediate marsh. The project goal will be achieved by using dredged material from the Gulf to create two marsh creation cells (176 acres and 277 acres) in the project area east and west of Second Lake.
The project is located south of Grand Chenier in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, between Louisiana Highway 82, Hog Bayou, and east of Second Lake.
This project was selected for Phase I (engineering and design) funding at the January 2002 Task Force meeting. It is included as part of Priority Project List 11. Engineering and design is complete. Construction funding will be requested in 2013.
This project is on Project Priority List (PPL) #11.
The South Grand Chenier Marsh Creation’s three sponsors include