Wetland Vegetation

Wetland ecologists often refer to wetland vegetation as the foundation of coastal restoration. Native plants and vegetative plantings both provide significant benefits to wetlands. Wetland plants build and stabilize soil, create habitat, purify water, and shield infrastructure. These plants tend to accumulate the thick mud of marshes which prevents the soil from washing away. Animals that live in wetlands depend on plants or plant-eating animals for their food supply. Without wetland vegetation, the supply chain would self-destruct. By absorbing nutrients and chemicals from the water and sediment, plants reduce toxins and groundwater contamination. Wetland vegetation is key to preventing shoreline erosion and reducing storm surge which affects the coastal infrastructure.

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act funds a variety of wetland enhancement projects, such as vegetative planting. Vegetative planting is the process of planting by hand or aerial seeding to shore up eroding banks and jump-start plant colonization.

You can read more about CWPPRA Projects that use the vegetative planting restoration technique by clicking here.

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Cheniere Ronquille Barrier Island Restoration

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This area is undergoing shoreline erosion, interior wetland
loss, overwash, and breakup. The Gulf shoreline erosion rate
has doubled from 1988 to 2006. Project area marshes also
are being eroded at -11.8 ft/yr between 2003 to 2006 as well
as being converted to open water from internal breakup.

Restoration would expand the Gulf shoreline structural
integrity and associated protection by tying into two recently
constructed projects to the east and address one of the
remaining reaches of the Barataria/Plaquemines shoreline.
The design includes fill for a beach and dune plus 20-years
of advanced maintenance fill, as well as fill for marsh
creation/nourishment. The location of the type and amount
of sediment needed to construct this project already has been
identified under the East Grand Terre Project that is presently
under construction. Approximately 127 acres of beach/dune
fill would be constructed and approximately 259 acres of
marsh creation/nourishment would be constructed. Intensive
dune plantings would be conducted by seeding and installing
approved nursery stock. About half of the
marsh platform would be planted with cordgrass and
portions of the dune, swale, and marsh would be planted
with appropriate woody species. Containment dikes would
be breached no later than year three to allow tidal exchange
with the created marsh.

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The project is located in Region 2, within the Barataria Basin
portion of Plaquemines Parish.

This project is on Project Priority List (PPL) 19.

The Cheniere Ronquille Barrier Island Restoration project sponsors include:

Keep up with this project and other CWPPRA projects on the project page.

 

Bayou Bonfouca Marsh Creation

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The marsh in this area was fairly stable prior to Hurricane
Katrina in August 2005. There was extensive damage to the
marsh along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and
especially localized in the marshes near Bayou Bonfouca
when the storm surge removed many acres of marsh. Marsh
loss rates should increase in the marsh surrounding these
newly created open water areas due to an increase in wind
driven fetch. Within the project area, the Lake Pontchartrain
shoreline erosion rates seem to be very low. Currently, there
is one large breach and several smaller ones in the Lake
Pontchartrain shoreline, with many more breaches seemingly
imminent. These breaches provide direct connection between
the fresher interior marshes and higher saline waters of Lake
Pontchartrain. The breaches in the bankline should be filled
before they grow to become a major exchange point causing
an increase in interior loss rates.

The primary goal of the project is to create 533 acres and
nourish 42 acres of low salinity brackish marsh in open
water areas adjacent to Bayou Bonfouca with sediment
pumped from Lake Pontchartrain.
This project would consist of placing sediment, hydraulically
dredged from Lake Pontchartrain, in open water sites to a
height of +1.2 NAVD 88 to create 458 acres and nourish
approximately 133 acres of marsh. Several historic marsh
ponds have been identified and would be restored. Tidal
creeks are also proposed to connect these ponds to facilitate
water exchange and fisheries access. Containment dikes
would be sufficiently gapped or degraded to allow for
fisheries access no later than three years post construction.

The project would result in approximately 424 net acres of
intermediate marsh over the 20-year project life.

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This project is located in Region 1, Pontchartrain Basin, St.
Tammany Parish. Parts of the project are located within Big
Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge adjacent to Bayou
Bonfouca.

This project is on Project Priority List (PPL) 20.

The Bayou Bonfouca Marsh Creation project sponsors include:

Keep up with this project and other CWPPRA projects on the project page.

CWPPRA Project Construction

Did you know:

CWPPRA projects are constructed within 5-7 years from initiating engineering and design.

CWPPRA projects are built in a series of phases. The first in the series of phases is Phase Zero which includes conceptual project development. Once a project is approved through the CWPPRA selection process, the project undergoes two subsequent phases to completion. Following the initial phase is Phase One where a combination of pre-construction data collection and engineering and design is incorporated. Lastly, Phase Two encompasses construction, project management, construction supervision and inspection,  and operations, maintenance, and monitoring or OM&M. CWPPRA serves as the foundation for the development of restoration science and identification of project needs that have become the platform for other restoration funding programs. Over 25 years, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act has authorized 210 projects, benefiting approximately 100,000 acres.

South White Lake Shoreline Protection

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The south shoreline of White Lake has been retreating at an estimated average rate of 15 feet per year as a result of wind-induced wave energy. If the shoreline would have continued eroding in the project area, low marsh management levees likely would have been breached, which would have increased interior marsh loss rates in the project area.

This project included constructing segmented breakwaters to protect approximately 61,500 linear feet of shoreline to protect 687 acres of shoreline and interior marsh over twenty years. The breakwaters were constructed with gaps to allow aquatic organisms and water to move freely. An estimated 270,000 tons of stone was placed on geotextile fabric. Material dredged to create a flotation channel was placed beneficially behind the breakwaters to create approximately 172 acres of marsh substrate.

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The project is located along the southern shoreline of White Lake from Will’s Point to the western shore of Bear Lake in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana.

Project construction was successfully completed in August 2006.

This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 12.

The South White Lake Shoreline Protection project sponsors include:

Keep up with this project and other CWPPRA projects on the project page.

Managing Agencies

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.

Wild Things Festival 2016

On October 15, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosted the 19th Annual Wild Things Festival at the Southeast Louisiana Refuge Headquarters in Lacombe, La. This exciting family-friendly event gives the community an opportunity to engage in outdoor activities while celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week. This free public event included canoe and pontoon boat tours, hayrides, live animals, wildflower walks, kids activities, bird house building, live music, and a youth wildlife art competition.

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act Public Outreach staff was among the 40 exhibitors providing hands-on activities to encourage knowledge of the Louisiana outdoors. In order to accurately portray the importance of aquatic, coastal regions, the CWPPRA staff utilized an ocean character, Sid the Restoration Squid, whose six unique legs each represented a different restoration method.  The six restoration methods include barrier island restorations, marsh creations, shoreline protection, hydrologic restoration, freshwater and sediment diversions, and terracing.  Each leg consisted of a distinct craft material that would correspond with a restoration method, in which children would assemble and personalize their own squid.  Each child’s personal squid was accompanied by an explanation guide of CWPPRA’s efforts to restore, protect, and/or create Louisiana’s wetlands.