Settlement plates such as the one pictured here will be used to determine if settling of the structure has occurred. Technicians from NRCS’s Crowley Watershed Office are shown taking baseline elevations before more rock is deposited. Future elevation readings will be taken after the structure is completed.
The project is located along the northern bank of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) between Perry Ridge and the Sabine River in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
This section of the GIWW was dredged to allow the use of doublewide barges, and, consequently, has intensified the occurrence of wake erosion. In addition, the construction of the Calcasieu Ship Channel and the deepening of Sabine Pass have increased the salinity and water currents within the GIWW. These activities have caused the GIWW shoreline to breach, thus impacting the interior marsh of the project area.
Proposed project components involve installation of 9,500 feet of rock riprap along the northern bank of the GIWW from Perry Ridge to its intersection with the Sabine River.
An additional 2,200 feet of rock riprap will be installed from the Sabine/GIWW intersection north along the Sabine River. This proposed work is referred to as “construction unit number 2.” Approximately 22,952 linear feet of terraces will
be constructed in the shallow, open water areas north of the GIWW to reduce fetch (distance a wave can travel) and allow recovery of the interior marshes. Terraces will be
vegetated with 9,400 trade-gallon-sized plantings of California bulrush. This proposed work is referred to as “construction unit number 3.”
Progress to Date
Project construction is complete. The monitoring plan is currently in development and should be finalized in the spring of 2002.
When it comes to Louisiana, there is no one reason for coastal land loss. Causes are both natural and man-made, but when those forces combine, they are detrimental to Louisiana’s coast. One example contributing to these synergistic forces is known as salt water intrusion.
Facts about Salt Water Intrusion: 
May occur in freshwater systems like aquifers or coastal marshes.
Is the movement of saltwater into interior areas or underground sources such as aquifers of freshwater marsh.
Most common in coastal regions, where freshwater is displaced by the inland movement of saltwater from the ocean.
Can also occur inland, far away from an ocean, as freshwater is pumped out from underground reservoirs and the salt-laden water from surrounding salty layers of the earth flow in.
Most common cause of saltwater intrusion is the pumping of freshwater from wells near coasts.
Climate change can increase saltwater encroachment along coastal regions as sea level rises.
Increased salinity of coastal freshwater can threaten the plant life and wildlife of coastal areas, destroy habitats such as marshes, and force the abandonment of drinking-water supplies.
Coastal Louisiana is currently experiencing higher than expected salinity in traditionally freshwater marshes, waterways, and reservoirs . It is possible for wildlife to adapt to locally saline conditions, but that is a process that requires time. A study by two professors at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette concluded:
Resident marsh fishes have genetic adaptations for localized salinity conditions .
Continued adaptation will be most successful if salinity increases gradually .
The existence of adaptation to salinity tolerance will be most important in aiding survival during surges of high salinity, such as those associated with hurricanes .
At the same time that sea level is rising, man-made actions are intensifying salt water intrusion through :
Canal dredging, including oil and gas access canals
Channelization or straightening of natural waterways
Construction of levees for flood control
General development activities in the coastal zone
CWPPRA hydrologic restoration projects help reduce the inland march of salt water. Culverts and pumps restore the flow of freshwater into marshes, while locks and weirs create “one-way” channels out of the marsh that salt water can’t access.
 Stanford Alumni. Rosemary Knight, “Sentinel Geophysics: Imaging Saltwater Intrusion from Monterey to Santa Cruz”. 2 April 2014. Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 24 May 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4XcBx7OT3Y
Living in any habitat comes with hurdles that make it harder for plants and animals to thrive. We call these hurdles “stress”. Coastal wetlands demonstrate several kinds of stresses to both plants and animals. Through many years of evolution, plants and animals have adapted to living with these stresses, also called being “stress tolerant”. Adaptations can be in physical structure changes or on the smaller scale (cellular). Some stresses that come with living in coastal wetlands include salinity (the amount of salt or ions in the water), inundation (flooding at least above the ground, sometimes even higher than the whole plant), and hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen in the water). 
Salt water intrusion has been increased by dredging navigation channels among other impacts. Saltwater intrusion makes fresh bodies of water more saline than they usually are. The problem with this is that the plants that live in such places are adapted to live in fresh water and generally cannot deal with increases in salinity more than 1 or 2 parts per thousand (ppt). For reference, the Gulf of Mexico’s average salinity is approximately 36ppt. Some plants, though, can live in full-strength sea water. For example, the black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) has several adaptations that let it keep its cells safe from high salinity. Like smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), black mangroves excrete salt onto their leaves to get it out of their systems. Some fish have similar adaptations in their gills that allow them to keep their internal salt concentrations at safe levels.
Marsh is a type of wetland that is continually flooded with water. Marshes can be found both on the coast or inland. Most of the water present is due to surface water; however, some groundwater also fills this wetland area.
Marshes can be divided into two main categories: non-tidal and tidal.
Most widely distributed and productive wetlands in North America
Occur along the boundaries of lakes, streams, rivers and ponds
Mostly freshwater, but some are brackish or alkaline
Beneath these wetlands lie highly organic soils
You might spot cattails, lily pads, reeds, and an array of waterfowl in this wetland
Alleviate flood damage and filter surface runoff
Found along protected coastlines and impacted by ocean tides
Present along the Gulf of Mexico
Some are freshwater or brackish, mostly saline
Provide shelter and nesting sites for migratory fowl
Covered by smooth cordgrass, spike grass, and salt meadow rush
There are four different types of wetland marshes in Louisiana.
Due to Louisiana’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, the exchange between fresh and salt water along the coast is frequent. Depending on the location of the marsh, it could be classified as either freshwater, intermediate, brackish, or saltwater marsh. Marshes are categorized by the salinity, or salt content, of the water, and the location of marshes to the Gulf of Mexico often directly correlates with the salinity level. Generally following a salinity gradient, freshwater marshes are commonly situated furthest inland from the gulf with a salt content of 0 ppt (parts per thousand), intermediate marshes contain a salinity range of 0-5 ppt, brackish marshes have a range of 5-15 ppt, and saltwater marshes encompass a salt content of 15 ppt or greater. Within the marsh gradient are estuaries, where fresh and salt water mix and many wetland species spend their juvenile lives.