Jan 10, 2019

Louisiana Completes $36 Million Wetland Restoration Project

The project restored 30,000 ln ft of earthen terraces covering 22 acres of wetlands

Wetland restoration project completed in Louisiana
Wetland restoration project completed in Louisiana

On Jan. 4, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the completion of the Lost Lake marsh creation and hydrologic restoration project. The $36 million project restored and nourished wetlands on the northern edges of Lost Lake in Terrebonne Parish.

According to The New Orleans Times Picayune, contractor Weeks Marine Inc. used sediment from the lake interior to build new wetlands in some open water location, construct wetland terraces that block waves and collect sediment, and spray sediment on wetlands for nourishment. Additionally, the project included construction of five water control structures, benefiting 1,158 acres in the south central area of the parish.

“Form the time I took office, coastal protection and restoration has been a priority for my administration, and this is what progress looks like,” Edwards said in a news release. “We’re looking forward to several coastal restoration projects that are slated to get underway this year, all of which will benefit our communities and our people in both the long and short terms.”

Overall, 30,000 ln ft of earthen terraces cover 22 acres north of Bayou DeCade and are specifically designed to break waves and minimize erosion. The restored wetlands also provide habitat for fish and wildlife.

“Lake Pagie and Bayou Decade were essentially merging and indistinguishable because of marsh loss,” said CPRA Project Manager Kenneth Bahlinger in the news release. “Also, northeast of Lost Lake, the marsh had deteriorated into large areas of open water where wind and wave energy were causing even more marsh breakup. Add to that the damage caused by higher salinity water held in these areas during storm events. It was imperative we take action to regulate proper seasonal balances of fresh and saltwater.”

The project was made possible under the federal-state Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act program, requiring the state to fund 15% of the cost in the form of services, rather than money. Additionally, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources provided $1.8 million and the Louisiana Oil Spill Control Office added $972,000 from revenue collected as mitigation for oil spills, as reported by The New Orleans Times Picayune.