The most significant environmental problem affecting the
marshes in this area is deterioration and conversion to open
water. Marsh loss has and continues to occur as a result
of salt water intrusion and sediment export (erosion). The
construction of the Calcasieu Ship Channel and the Gulf
Intracoastal Waterway greatly increased the efficiency
of water exchange through Calcasieu Pass. Freshwater
retention was consequently reduced and salt water is able
to enter interior marshes and penetrate further north and
west. Project-area marshes are connected to the navigation
channels through a network of canals and bayous including
Kelso Bayou and Alkali Ditch. Unvegetated substrate
is vulnerable to increased tidal exchange and immense
quantities of organic substrate are being exported.
Recent marsh loss and scouring at the mouth of Kelso
Bayou from impacts related to Hurricanes Rita and Ike allow
increased salt water intrusion, tidal exchange, and storm
The goal of this project is to restore and protect
approximately 319 acres of critically important marsh
and the numerous functions provided by those areas. The
proposed project will restore a portion of the historic
meandering channel of Kelso Bayou and provide direct
protection to Louisiana State Highway 27, the region’s only
northward hurricane evacuation route. Project features
include creating/nourishing 319 acres of marsh, 3,200 linear
feet of shoreline protection, and rock armor at the mouth of
Kelso Bayou to prevent additional tidal scour.
This project is located in Region 4, Calcasieu-Sabine Basin,
Cameron Parish. The project features are located in an area
south of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and just west of the
Calcasieu Ship Channel.
This project is on Project Priority List (PPL) 20.
The Kelso Bayou Marsh Creation project sponsors include:
Keep up with this project and other CWPPRA projects on the project page.
For 25 years, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act has provided the only joint Federal/State coastal restoration effort with a predictable and recurring funding stream designed to restore the vanishing wetlands of coastal Louisiana. The CWPPRA program continues to pursue a full slate of coastal restoration activities, and its progress and experience provide the foundation for restoration supported by one-time funding from various other sources. CWPPRA represents a collaborative effort and is managed by a Task Force comprised of five federal agencies and the State of Louisiana. CWPPRA’s Managing Agencies include:
U.S. Department of the Army – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 6
U.S. Department of Interior – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resource Conservation Service
U.S. Department of Commerce – NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
State of Louisiana – Governor’s Office
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is the local cost-share partner that matches 15% of CWPPRA’s federal funding.
Did you know:
Freshwater habitats make up only 1% of the planet’s surface but are host to 1/3 of all known vertebrates and nearly 10% of all known animal species.
Usually located in close proximity to an intermediate marsh, freshwater marshes commonly occur adjacent to coastal bays. Freshwater marshes are of the most productive freshwater habitats and are essential to the survival of many wildlife populations ranging from important nursery needs to supporting large numbers of wintering waterfowl. Freshwater marshes have the greatest plant diversity and highest organic matter content of any marsh type. The heavy demand for freshwater has become outweighed by its availability due to salt water intrusion. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act aims to restore the natural conditions of water quality by implementing hydrologic restoration projects to combat saltwater intrusion.
Marshes within Hog Bayou Watershed mapping unit are stressed due to limited freshwater input and seasonal salinity spikes exacerbated by construction of the Mermentau Ship Channel. Other contributors to land loss in the area are subsidence, compaction, and erosion of organic soils. Currently, the project area is characterized as large, open water with degraded areas of wetland vegetation and low organic production. The dredging of the Mermentau Ship Channel increased tidal amplitude and salt water intrusion into the watershed.
The goal of the project is to create new wetland habitat, restore dredged marsh, and reduce wave erosion of organic soils. the project would promote the expansion of emergent marsh and submerged aquatic vegetation throughout the project area. Material dredged from the Gulf of Mexico will be used to create and nourish approximately 420 acres of marsh. Smooth cordgrass will be planted throughout the area. To help facilitate estuarine fisheries access, constructed retention levees will be degraded and approximately 11,756 linear feet of tidal creeks will be constructed.
The project is located in planning Region 4, Mermentau Basin in Cameron Parish within the Hog Bayou Watershed Coast 2050 mapping Unit. The mapping unit is bordered by Lower Mud lake to the west, the Gulf of Mexico to the south, Rockefeller Refuge to the east, and Louisiana Highway 82 to the north.
This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 23. This project is currently in the Engineering and Design Phase.
The South Grand Chenier Marsh Creation – Baker Tract project’s sponsors include:
- Federal Sponsor: Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Local Sponsor: Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
Learn more about this project (ME-32) and others on CWPPRA’s project page.