CWPPRA

Did you know:

CWPPRA has protected, created, or restored approximately 96,806 acres of wetlands in Louisiana.

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act has funded coastal restoration projects for 26 years. Presently, CWPPRA has 153 total active projects, 108 completed projects, 17 active construction projects, 23 projects currently in Engineering and Design and has enhanced more than 355,647 acres of wetlands . These projects provide for the long-term conservation of wetlands and dependent fish and wildlife populations. Projects funded by CWPPRA are cost-effective ways of restoring, protecting, and enhancing coastal wetlands. CWPPRA has a proven track record of superior coastal restoration science and monitoring technique in Louisiana. The success of the CWPPRA program has been essential in providing critical ecosystem stabilization along Louisiana’s coast and has provided pioneering solutions for land loss.

Visit CWPPRA’s website for more information!

Shell Beach South Marsh Creation

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The marsh boundary separating Lake Borgne and the MRGO has undergone both interior and shoreline wetland losses due to subsidence, impacts related to construction and use of the MRGO (i.e., deep draft vessel traffic), and wind-driven waves. Although much of the project area is protected from edge erosion by shoreline protection measures, and since 2009, then MRGO has been deauthorized for deep draft navigation and maintenance, interior wetland loss due to subsidence continues to cause marsh fragmentation and pond enlargement. Wetland loss rates in the project area are estimated to be -0.60 percent a year based on USGS analysis.

The proposed project will create and nourish 634 acres of marsh using dredged sediment from Lake Borgne. Existing high shorelines along Lake Borgne, remnants of previous containment dikes and marsh edge, would be used for containment to the extent practical. Constructed containment dikes would be breached/gapped as needed to provide tidal exchange after fill materials settle and consolidate. The project would create 346 acres of marsh and nourish at least 288 acres of existing fragmented marsh. A target fill elevation of +1.2 feet is envisioned to enhance longevity of this land form. Additionally, 187 acres of vegetative planting will occur within the newly created areas. Due to the presence of existing banklines, dredged slurry overflow could potentially be discharged immediately adjacent to the project polygons, resulting in nourishment of additional areas.

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The Shell Beach South Marsh Creation project is located in Region 1, Pontchartrain Basin, South Lake Borgne Mapping Unit, St. Bernard Parish, north bank of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) in the vicinity of Shell Beach.

This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 24 and was approved for Phase I Engineering and Design in January 2015.

The Shell Beach South Marsh Creation project sponsors include:

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

 

National Estuaries Week

In honor of National Estuaries Week, this week’s Wetland Wednesday focuses on

Estuaries

An estuary is an ecosystem comprised of both the biological and physical environment, commonly located where a river meets the sea. Estuaries are known to be inhabited by an array of plant and animal species that have adapted to brackish water—a mixture between freshwater draining from inland and salt water. Estuaries have one of the highest productivity rates among ecosystems in the world; they provide an abundance of food and shelter as well as breeding and migration locations. Estuaries also provide great access for successful recreational activities such as fishing. Celebrate National Estuaries Week by aiming to keep your estuary areas clean of trash for others to enjoy as well as a healthy environment for wildlife and vegetation!

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Grand Liard Marsh and Ridge Restoration

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The Bastion Bay and Grand Liard mapping units were historically structured by a series of north south bayous and associated ridges. Over the preceding decades the majority of these bayou ridges and the marshes flanking them have disappeared. The Grand Liard ridge is the most prominent remaining ridge, and separates the open bays of the Bastian Bay and Grand Liard mapping units. Past land loss projections indicate a loss rate of -3.3%/yr; and also suggest that the remaining bayou bank wetlands would completely convert to open water by 2050 without the project.

The project is intended to restore both structural and habitat functions of Grand Liard Bayou and flanking marshes. The conceptual project design includes the creation of approximately 328 acres of marsh and nourishment of an additional 140 acres of existing marsh. The project concept also includes restoration of a ridge on the east bank of Bayou Grand Liard. Approximately 50% of the created marsh will be planted with smooth cordgrass, and the entire ridge will be planted with appropriate woody vegetation. High marsh species will be planted on the slopes of the ridge. After settlement, the containment dikes will be gapped to encourage establishment of natural marsh hydrology and fisheries-support functions.

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The project is located in Region 2, within the Barataria Basin portion of Plaquemines Parish. The project is specifically located within the Bastian Bay and Grand Liard mapping units, near the vicinity of Triumph.

The project was approved for Phase I funding, (Engineering and Design) at the January 2009 Task Force meeting and was selected for Phase II funding (Construction) at the February 2012 Task Force meeting. Construction commenced in July 2014 and was completed in August 2015. Woody vegetation is scheduled for planting in Fall 2017.

This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 18.

The Grand Liard Marsh and Ridge Restoration project sponsors include:

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

 

Plants of the Wetlands

smooth cordgrassFound at the interfaces of land formations and water, smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) is an herbaceous, native grass that densely inhabits shorelines. Compact, vegetative smooth cordgrass colonies grow along shorelines and inter-tidal flats of coastal wetlands such as canal banks, levees, marshes, barrier islands, and other regions of soil-water interface. This grass is highly adaptable to a variation of water depths and salinity levels making it a resilient species heavily used for coastal restoration. With an extensive rhizome system, smooth cordgrass is also highly effective as a soil stabilizer for loose soils, contributing to anchorage of the plants and sediment, as well as decrease of erosion effects. Smooth cordgrass acts as a natural buffer which dissipates energy of storm surge and wind impact to interior lands.

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act frequently uses smooth cordgrass plugs during vegetative plantings due to the plant’s insensitivity to water and salinity levels, and its success in significant erosion protection to shorelines.

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North Catfish Lake Marsh Creation

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Isolated from the riverine influences of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers, Eastern Terrebonne Basin has experienced some of the highest rates of land loss in Louisiana. The northern shoreline of the Catfish Lake has experienced an average erosion rate of approximately 9.8 ft per year with some areas losing as much as 40 ft per year. Interior marsh loss along the lake rim has also formed a large pond on the east side of the lake shoreline that has breached and threatens to greatly accelerate wetland loss in the area.

The goal of the project is to create marsh habitat and reestablish the northern shoreline of Catfish Lake. Sediment dredged from Catfish Lake will be used to strategically create marsh along the northern shoreline. Smooth cordgrass will be planted along the lake shore-face to help stabilize the shoreline and reestablish a healthy lake rim marsh community. Sediments will be hydraulically dredged from Catfish Lake and pumped via pipeline to create approximately 415 acres of marsh habitat and nourish an additional 251 acres of marsh habitat.

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The North Catfish Lake Marsh Creation project is located in Region 3, Terrebonne Basin, Lafourche Parish, Northern Shoreline of Catfish Lake.

This project is on Priority Project List (PPL) 22. In 2013, TE-112 was approved for Phase I Engineering and Design.

The North Catfish Lake Marsh Creation project sponsors include:

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

 

Marsh Maneuvers

Marsh Maneuvers is an education program focused on increasing the interests and knowledge of the younger generation toward coastal ecology and the biology of the coastal area. The program is a four week series camp in which each week, four parishes send high-school 4-H students to participate in a four-day camp. LSU AgCenter, in cooperation with the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, are sponsors of the Marsh Maneuvers program held at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Grand Chenier, LA. The 64 students experience activities such as airboat tours of natural marsh ecosystems, trolling for aquatic life, learning about both native and invasive vegetation and wildlife, and understanding biological processes on the coast.

On July 19 and 26, the CWPPRA Public Outreach staff gave a presentation and distributed a multitude of published materials to the attendees of the 2016 Marsh Maneuver camps. The presentation focused on CWPPRA’s selection process, projects in southwest Louisiana, and various methods used for restoration. While the majority of coastal erosion occurs in Louisiana, the entire country falls victim to its effects. CWPPRA believes that it is imperative to be aware of the natural and anthropogenic impacts to coastal regions and educate the youth to be ambassadors for restoration of the coast.

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Freshwater Wetlands

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.

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Invasive Species of Wetlands

Invasive Species

Wetlands are natural ecosystems that provide an abundance of wealth to not only it’s inhabitants, but also to surrounding communities. Wetlands provide benefits ranging from water filtration to storm surge protection; however, wetlands have become vulnerable to invasive species. Invasive species are plants, animals, or pathogens that are non-native to the ecosystem and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause damage. Known as major contributors to wetland and coastal habitat loss, invasive species also threaten native species, as well as endangered species who rely exclusively on the wetlands for survival.

The foreign animals that have been recognized as invasive to coastal wetlands include Asian carp, wild boar, island applesnails, and nutria. The invasive plant species include Chinese tallow, common reed, and purple loosestrife. Invasive animal and plant species have altered the health of wetlands in some way; CWPPRA strives to protect the wetlands by constructing methods to diminish the invasive threat and restore native species dominance and health within the wetlands.


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Diversity in Wetlands

Did you know:

Louisiana ranks 18th in species diversity within the United States with 3,495 species.

Species diversity includes the number of different native species in a community—also known as species richness—and the abundance of the species, referred to as species evenness. Species diversity gives a general measure of biological wealth to a given community. Louisiana harbors much of its diversity along the coast from prairies, swamps, marshes, and barrier islands. Many of our nation’s industries rely on the functionality of and species that reside within the wetlands. Furthermore, the wetlands of Louisiana are critical to protected species of lesser abundance, such as the whooping crane, piping plover, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, and our nation’s symbol—the bald eagle.

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