East Leeville Marsh Creation and Nourishment

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There is widespread historic and continued rapid land loss
within the project site and surrounding areas resulting from
subsidence, wind erosion, storms, and altered hydrology.
The wetland loss rate for is -1.53%/year based on USGS data
from 1984 to 2015. Furthermore, the limits of Southwestern
Louisiana Canal are difficult to determine in some areas
because land loss is causing the coalescence of the canal
with adjacent water bodies. Natural tidal flow and drainage
patterns which once existed are currently circumvented by
the increasing area of open water. Data suggests that from
1932 to 1990, the basin lost over 245,000 acres of marsh, and
from 1978 to 1990, Barataria Basin experienced the highest
rate of wetland loss along the entire coast.

The project goal is to create approximately 358 acres and
nourish 124 acres of saline marsh east of Leeville.
After consideration of three potential alternatives, features
and an alignment were selected to establish an arc of
wetlands along the north side of Southwestern Canal,
Lake Jesse, and the west side of South Lake. This is to
begin rebuilding the structural framework of wetlands
east of Leeville and provide protection for Leeville from
southeasterly winds and tides. A robust engineering and
design cost was included for full flexibility during Phase 1
to expand the project if cost allows or to assess alternative
configurations, if necessary. The proposed features consist of
hydraulically mining sediment from a borrow source in Little
Lake west of Leeville and pumping dredged material to
create and nourish marsh east of Leeville. The disposal areas
would be fully contained during construction and gapped
no later than three years post construction to facilitate
establishment of tidal connection and function. Additionally,
a portion of the created marsh acres would be planted with
smooth cordgrass following construction to help stabilize the
created platform by increasing the rate of colonization.

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This project is located in Region 2, Barataria Basin, Lafourche Parish (primary)
Region 3, Terrebonne Basin, Lafourche Parish.

This project was approved for Phase I Engineering and
Design in January 2016.

This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 25.

The East Leeville Marsh Creation and Nourishment’s sponsors include:

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Wetland Soils

World Soil Day was officially celebrated on December 5th. This day was created in an effort to share the importance of healthy soil and advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources. Wetland soils, also known as hydric soils, are permanently or seasonally saturated by water and develop anaerobic conditions. Soils’ ability to store surface or ground water and bio-geochemical processes are critical to wetland function and maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Wetland scientists spend a great deal of their time performing soil surveys. Different wetland types feature different soil types. Soils should be evaluated for the presence of pesticides or dangerous elements that could cause damage to the vegetation and animals of that wetland site.

This day was created in an effort to focus on the importance of soil as a critical component of natural systems and as a vital contributor to human well-being.

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Interesting fact:

  • 95% of our food comes from the soil

 

Louisiana’s State Reptile – The American Alligator

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), the largest reptile in North America, is also known as the state reptile of Louisiana. Ancestors of the American alligator appeared nearly 160 million years ago. Alligators are cold-blooded, and their body temperature is regulated by the environment around them. There are approximately 2 million wild alligators in the state of Louisiana. Alligators can be spotted in ponds, lakes, bayous, rivers, swamps, and even occasionally swimming pools near these coastal areas in the dry months. The highest populations of alligators within Louisiana are found in coastal marshes. Coastal marshes account for about 3 million acres of alligator habitat in Louisiana.

Alligators are predators in the wetland ecosystem. Young alligators typically feed on small animals such as crawfish, insects, small fish, and frogs. An adult alligator’s diet consists of crabs, turtles, nutria, large birds, and sometimes deer. Alligators assist in population control and support diversity in the environment.  During nest construction, alligators dig burrows with their tails in peat, a boggy type of soil, which often facilitates plant growth. The burrows become “alligator holes”, or wetland depressions, which serve as a breeding area to many species other than alligators during dry periods. Alligators are key contributors to the diversity and productivity of coastal wetlands.

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Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation Cycle III

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The project area is experiencing marsh degradation due to
saltwater intrusion and freshwater loss. This has resulted
in the conversion of vegetated intermediate marsh to
large shallow open water areas. Salinity migrates into the
region from the Calcasieu River. Southerly winds push
saline waters into the project area through existing canals
and bayous. Wind driven waves cause further loss of the
remaining marsh fringe.

Cycle III consists of the creation of 232 acres of marsh
platform using material dredged from the Calcasieu River
Ship Channel. Between February 12 and March 31, 2007,
828,767 cubic yards of dredged sediment material was
placed into the Sabine Refuge Cycle III marsh creation area.
The dredged material is contained by earthen dikes. Lower
level earthen overflow weirs were constructed to assist in the
dewatering of the marsh creation disposal area and to create
fringe marsh with the overflow. The dredged slurry has been
placed between elevations 2.03 NAVD 88 to 2.71 NAVD 88.

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This project is located in the Sabine National Wildlife
Refuge, west of LA Highway 27, in large, open water areas
west of Brown’s Lake in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

The Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation Project was originally
approved as part of the Project Priority List 8 in 1999. The
project was later broken into 5 cycles. In 2004, additional
funds for engineering and design and construction were
approved for Cycle III. The placement of the dredged
material has been completed. Degradation of the retention
dikes is ongoing and expected to be completed soon.

This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 8.

The Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation Cycle III’s sponsors include:

America Recycles Day

     Today we celebrate America Recycles Day: a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful. Recycling offers numerous benefits to both our environment and human health. Recycling is one of the best actions you can take to protect natural resources. Plastics being discarded in animal habitats continue to pose a serious threat to the health of wildlife that occupies the area. Many animals die each year from ingestion of these hazardous materials, and researchers in Ireland found that plastic bags littering wetlands could smother wildlife and algae underneath [Green et al., Environ. Sci. Tech., 2015, 49 (9), pp. 5380-5389]. Along with providing a healthier habitat for animals to live, recycling beautifies the area humans utilize for recreational purposes. You can help save our wetlands and other natural habitats by picking up litter and disposing of the unwanted materials in the appropriate recycling bins or at recycling centers.

     Visit the America Recycles Day website to find valuable information on what materials can be recycled, where they can be recycled, and how they can be recycled. The recycling locator is a useful tool the website provides for finding locations to recycle in your community. While you’re visiting the America Recycle Day website, you can also take the #BeRecycled Pledge to learn, act and share with others the power of recycling.

America Recycles Day

Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation Cycle II

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The project area is experiencing marsh degradation due to
saltwater intrusion and freshwater loss. This has resulted
in the conversion of vegetated intermediate marsh to large
shallow open water areas. Salinity migrates into the region
from the Calcasieu River. Southeast winds push saline
waters into the project area through canals and bayous.
Wind driven waves cause further loss of the remaining marsh
fringe.

A permanent dredged material disposal pipeline, measuring
3.57 miles in length, will be constructed in Cycle II. The
pipeline will commence near Mile 13.2 of the Calcasieu
River Ship Channel and terminate at the northeastern corner
of the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. Much of the right
of way required for the pipeline was previously impacted
by the construction of a temporary pipeline used during the
construction of Cycle I. The pipeline is to be used for future
marsh creation projects in conjunction with the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers maintenance dredging of the Calcasieu
River Ship Channel.

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The project is located on the
Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, west of Highway 27, in
large open water areas northeast of Brown’s Lake.

The Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation Project was originally
approved as part of the Project Priority List 8 in 1999. The
project was later broken into 5 cycles. In 2004, additional
funds for engineering and design and construction were
approved for Cycle II. The pipeline is constructed and will
be available for use during the 2011 maintenance dredging of
the Calcasieu River Ship Channel.

This project is on Priority Project List 8.

The Sabine Refuge Marsh Creation Cycle II’s sponsors include:

Wetland Wonders at Ocean Commotion

Can you figure out the mystery coastal item based on the following clues? It contains a bivalve that a) makes pearls, b) is a filter feeder, and c) we eat here in Louisiana.

Over 1600 elementary and middle school students had the chance to read those clues at LSU Sea Grant’s Ocean Commotion on October 24 in Baton Rouge. Students, teachers, and chaperones then reached their hands into a box and tried to identify the item (oyster shell) they were holding. Other mystery items included a nutria pelt, cypress knees, an apple snail shell, and a magnolia seed pod- all from plants and animals that call Louisiana’s coastal wetlands home.

2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of Ocean Commotion, an annual event meant to give students the chance to get up close and personal with coastal and sea life and the challenges facing those environments. This year 70 exhibitors taught students about topics as diverse as boating safety, mosquito control, and microplastics. CWPPRA outreach staff talked with students about the diversity of species found in Louisiana’s wetlands and the challenges of invasive species, giving students an opportunity to think about how different species impact ecosystems in different ways.