It's on us. Share your news here.

These projects will build 11 square miles of new Louisiana wetlands by next year

Posted on October 28, 2022

More than 5,300 football fields’ worth of wetlands will help buffer Louisiana from storm surge

Keeping two New Orleans lakes separated. Filling in the “Golden Triangle.” And the biggest marsh restoration project ever attempted by the state.

Those are among the projects under construction and on track to build nearly 11 square miles of new land by early 2023, state officials say. While only a tiny portion of the amount of land lost over the last century, it still amounts to more than 5,300 football fields’ worth of wetlands that will help buffer Louisiana from storm surge.

The projects are located in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, using sediment dredged from area lakes and bays and the Mississippi River. Barry Richard, senior engineer with the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, gave an update at a recent meeting of the agency’s board on six major projects expected to cost about $527 million.

They are separate from the state’s unprecedented $2 billion plan to divert sediment from the Mississippi River into Barataria Basin as a more permanent solution to land loss in that area. That project, called the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, is expected to create and maintain about 20 square miles of new wetlands over a half-century, though it has drawn strong opposition from commercial fishermen in the area.

CPRA chairman Chip Kline says the state’s success in rebuilding wetlands is getting lost in the debate over the diversion, which could see construction as early as next year. If that project and the similar Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion on the river’s east bank are built, they will help extend the life of the new work spotlighted in Richard’s update, state officials say.

New Orleans Landbridge

Aerial view of the area in the Lake St. Catherine area where 284 acres of brackish marsh are being created.

New Orleans Landbridge project

The $23.5 million New Orleans Landbridge Shoreline Protection and Marsh Creation project is restoring 284 acres of brackish marsh along U.S. 90 on the eastern shore of Lake Pontchartrain in the Lake St. Catherine area. The project is designed to keep the landbridge separating Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne intact.

That strip of land reduces the amount of hurricane storm surge entering Lake Pontchartrain and threating both New Orleans lakefront levees on the south shore and northshore communities, including Slidell, Mandeville and Covington. Containment berms for two of three cells that will be filled with sediment to create a platform for marsh grasses have been completed.

The project includes construction of articulated concrete mats being placed along the landbridge’s Lake Borgne shoreline to reduce erosion caused by wave energy. The project is funded by the federal Coastal Wetlands, Planning and Protection Act, with Louisiana paying about 15%.

Golden Triangle Marsh Creation
Schematic view of the $54.7 million, 700-acre Golden Triangle Marsh Creation project. Three wetland cells are being created (purple outline left) with sediment dredged from Lake Borgne (green area). (Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority)

Golden Triangle Marsh Creation

A $54.7 million plan to rebuild wetlands in the Golden Triangle area near the Lake Borgne surge barrier in that lake’s northwestern corner is one of several projects that have been delayed by a scarcity of dredges.

This project will eventually include restoration of 700 acres — just over a square mile — lost over the years in connection with the now-closed Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet shipping channel.

State officials are working with the dredge contractor to have it returned to the Golden Triangle as the other project is completed, Richard said. The project is being paid for with money resulting from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Lake Borgne Marsh Creation
Protected circles of open water are part of the Lake Borgne Marsh Creation project, designed to attract migratory waterfowl, once the surrounding marsh is restored. (Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority)

Lake Borgne Marsh Creation

The Lake Borgne Marsh Creation project will restore 2,769 acres — over 4.3 square miles — along the lake’s south shore from Shell Beach to near Lena Lagoon, with $114.6 million from BP oil spill funds. It’s the largest single project attempted by CPRA, Richard said.

The contractor actually got a head start on construction in advance of its official start time, but the dredge was reassigned by the Army Corps of Engineers to maintenance dredging in Barataria Pass. Richard said construction is expected to resume in November. READ FULL ARTICLE


It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe