Darlene Boucher – Coastal Louisiana Photographer

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Darlene Boucher has been documenting her beloved coastal Louisiana for decades. Her photographs evoke the wildness and uncompromising intimacy of the marshes, bays, bayous and barrier islands through a distinctly personal lens. 

“What inspires me about our beautiful state are our rivers, bayous and marshes that thrive with wildlife and I get to observe and photograph them! To be one with nature and to witness the shrimpers, crabbers and fisherman all going about their day is something not everyone gets to see. And the sunrises are unbelievable! I am obsessed. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, an occasional visitor into their wonderful world!” –Darlene Boucher

She has an eye for coastal birds in particular, and a journey through her Flickr account will introduce you to a variety of feathered friends in repose and on the hunt for dinner, nurturing their young and preening in the sun. She enjoys the bounty of the wetlands as well, and her photographs of those that provide for their families both daily and the occasional meal convey the importance of the wetlands to Louisiana’s communities as well as its wildlife. Her sunsets are especially peaceful, and captures the reflective meditation of the end of another day.

Find your favorite image and share it with us here or online!

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Sea Turtles of the Gulf of Mexico – Episode Seven

Coastal-Connection_EpisodeSeven-Sea-TurtlesIn this episode, we learn about the five species of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, find out more about sea turtle research with Dr. Kristen Hart of US Geological Survey, and explore conservation efforts with Joanie Steinhaus of Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Gulf Program.

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Get in touch at coastalconnectionpodcast@gmail.com, and find us on Instagram @coastal__connection and Twitter @coastal_podcast!

Nutria: Fact, Fur & Fashion – Episode Six

Coastal-Connection_EpisodeSix-NutriaWe explore the impact of the invasive nutria in Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, dispel myths about their origins and consider the value of its pelt. This episode includes interviews with Jennifer Hogue-Manuel at LDWF and manager of the state Nutria Control Program, Shane Bernard, historian and archivist at Avery Island, and founder of Righteous Fur, Cree McCree.

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Get in touch at coastalconnectionpodcast@gmail.com, and find us on Instagram @coastal__connection and Twitter @coastal_podcast!

Gulf of Mexico’s Biodiversity – Episode Five

Coastal-Connection_EpisodeFive-GOMA-BiodiversityToday’s episode features an interview with artist and biologist Brandon Ballengée, who is based in Arnaudville, LA. He talks about his conservation homesteading and his research into 14 species in the Gulf of Mexico identified as missing since the 2010 BP Oil Spill.

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Louisiana Irises – Episode Four

Coastal-Connection_EpisodeFour-LAIrisWe learn more about wild Louisiana irises and effort to both preserve and reintroduce native Louisiana irises through research, stewardship and university partnerships. Joining us for an interview is Paul Pastorek, a wild Louisiana iris hunter.

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Get in touch at coastalconnectionpodcast@gmail.com, and find us on Instagram @coastal__connection and Twitter @coastal_podcast!

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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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/

 

Mississippi River Sediment Delivery System – Bayou Dupont (BA-39)

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Marshes in the project area have degraded to open water with only scattered clumps of low-lying vegetation remaining. Marsh degradation has resulted from a combination of lack of natural fresh water and sediment input, subsidence and the dredging of oil and gas canals.

The proposed project included dredging sediment from the Mississippi River for marsh creation and pumping it via pipeline into an area of open water and broken marsh west of the Plaquemines Parish flood protection levee. The material was spread over the project area and ontained primarily with existing land features. Newly-constructed low containment dikes were necessary only along a limited portion of the project area. Native intertidal marsh vegetation was planted post construction.

The proximity of the project to the Mississippi River presented a prime opportunity to employ a pipeline delivery system that utilized the sediment resources from the river to restore and create wetlands. Unlike most marsh creation projects that involve borrowing fill material from adjacent shallow water areas within the landscape, this project utilized renewable river sediment, thus minimizing disruption of the adjacent water and marsh platform.

The Bayou Dupont project represents the first example of pipeline transport of sediment from the river to build marsh as a CWPPRA project. Results from this project helped demonstrate the value and efficacy of greater use of pipeline-conveyed river sediments for coastal restoration.

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The project is located adjacent to Bayou Dupont and southeast of Cheniere Traverse Bayou in the vicinity of Ironton in Plaquemines Parish and Lafitte in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. The general area lies west of LA Hwy 23 and just north of the Myrtle Grove Marina within the Barataria Basin.

Phase 1 was approved in January 2003. The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) Coastal Engineering Division performed the engineering and design services. Design was completed in November 2007; Phase 2 was approved in February 2008, and construction activities began in April of 2009. Approximately 25,935 linear feet of containment dike was used to create approximately 484 acres of sustainable marsh in Marsh Creation Areas 1 and 2. Increment 2 (funded through ARRA) added approximately 84 acres of marsh within 6,241 linear feet of containment dikes. The contractor demobilized completely by May 10, 2010. Final inspection was held on May 25, 2010.

This project is on Priority Project List 12.

The Federal Sponsor is EPA

The Local Sponsor is CPRA

Raccoon Island Shoreline Protection/Marsh Creation (TE-48)

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The Isles Dernieres barrier island chain is experiencing some of the highest erosion rates of any coastal region in the world. Raccoon Island is experiencing shoreline retreat both gulfward and bayward, threatening one of the most productive wading bird nesting areas and shorebird habitats along the gulf coast.

An existing demonstration project on the eastern end of the island, Raccoon Island Breakwaters Demonstration project (TE-29), has proven that segmented breakwaters can significantly reduce, and perhaps even reverse, shoreline erosion rates. The primary goal of this project is to protect the Raccoon Island rookery and seabird colonies from the encroaching shoreline by: 1) reducing the rate of shoreline erosion along the western, gulfward side and 2) extending the longevity of northern backbay areas by creating 60 acres of intertidal wetlands that will serve as bird habitat.

This project has been separated into two construction phases, Phase A and Phase B. Phase A includes the construction of eight additional segmented breakwaters gulfward of the island and immediately west of the existing breakwaters demonstration project and an eastern groin that will connect existing Breakwater No. 0 to the island. Phase B involves the construction of a retention dike along the northern shore to create a back bay enclosure that will be filled with sediments dredged from the bay and/or gulf, followed by vegetative plantings.

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The project is located in the Terrebonne Basin on the western-most island of the Isles Dernieres barrier island chain in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.

Rock breakwater construction for the prior demonstration phase of this project was completed on the east end of the island in June 1997. Sand deposits or “tombolos” have developed behind the breakwaters that protect and enhance the island. A less dramatic, however still positive effect, is expected to occur behind the 8 additional breakwaters being constructed to the west of the existing breakwaters.

Construction of Phase A was completed in September 2007 and Phase B in June 2013. All plantings are to be completed by the end of 2017.

This project is on Priority Project List 11.

The Federal Sponsor is USDA NRCS

The Local Sponsor is CPRA