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The Wetland Creation/Restoration aspect of the Louisiana Coastal Area, Louisiana – Ecosystem Restoration: Barrier Island Restoration, Marsh Creation, and River Diversion, Barataria Basin Feasibility Study, is investigating the creation and/or restoration of wetlands in the southwestern reaches of Barataria Basin in Louisiana. 

The overarching goal of the Coast 2050 Plan is to sustain a coastal ecosystem that supports and protects the environment, economy, and culture of southern Louisiana, and contributes greatly to the economy and well being of the nation.  The purpose of the Coast 2050 strategies for the Barataria Basin is to restore and/or protect the natural and human environment to create a sustainable ecosystem in the Barataria Basin within the context of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including coastal Louisiana.  This aspect of the study investigates wetland restoration/creation strategies R2-16 and R2-17 of the Coast 2050 Plan for the Barataria Basin.  The purpose of this investigation is to develop projects to restore and create wetlands in the western Barataria Basin so as to protect and sustain the ecological functions, the natural distributary ridges, and the local human infrastructure of the area.

Action Area:
The Barataria Basin is experiencing wetland loss at the rate of approximately 11 square miles per year.  Wetland loss within the Barataria Basin is attributed to the combination of natural processes of sea-level rise, subsidence, herbivory, and the human activities of levee construction, channelization, and development.  Freshwater and sediment input into the Barataria Basin was virtually eliminated by the flood protection levees constructed along the Mississippi River and the closure of Bayou Lafourche at Donaldsonville.  The only significant source of fresh water in the basin is rainfall.  There is some freshwater input into the basin by the siphons located at Naomi and at West Pointe a la Hache (each siphon has a maximum output of about 2,000 cubic feet per second).  When the Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion becomes operational in April 2001, it could potentially divert up to 10,650 cubic feet per second.  It is predicted, however, that the sediment-laden waters will collect in the ponding area about two miles from the Davis Pond structure located at U.S. Highway 90 and Lake Catouatche.  Little, if any, of this sediment would likely directly impact the proposed action area.   

The study area is located in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, and includes the marshes along the West Fork Bayou L’Ours Ridge and the marshes along Bayou Lafourche and LA Highway 1 south of Golden Meadow, as well as parts of Caminada Bay, Little Lake to the east of Golden Meadow, and Little Lake to the west of Leeville.  In addition to creating valuable habitat for waterfowl, fishes, migratory neotropical songbirds, shrimp, crabs, and other organisms, the proposed action provides other advantages: 

1.   This proposed action potentially provides a low risk and quickly implementable plan to address wetland loss in a portion of the Barataria Basin;

2.   The proposed action study area is strategically placed and could potentially yield benefits to other coastal resources within the unique Barataria Basin ecosystem, and the human infrastructure associated with transportation, oil and gas extraction, utilities, etc.; 

3.   The proposed action could also provide additional benefits in terms of protection of natural distributary ridges that function as important hydrological barriers within the Barataria Basin;

4.   The proposed action could be implemented independently of the remaining Coast 2050 Plan strategies for the Barataria Basin.

During the Coast 2050 public meetings conducted in 1998, two wetland creation strategies, Strategy R2-17 – Dedicated Dredging near Caminada Bay, and Strategy R2-16 – Dedicated Dredging Along Louisiana Highway 1, were considered as viable ecosystem restoration strategies.  Hence, these strategies will be developed into alternatives for the proposed action.  Other alternatives that will be considered include the No Action Alternative, and alternatives developed during the scoping process.  All alternative plans developed will investigate filling, terracing, and sediment introduction, or combinations thereof.  

Wetland restoration/creation design features will be evaluated to ensure compliance with current Federal and State laws and regulations.  Any adverse effects of the alternative plans will be identified and appropriate mitigation measures will be included in the plans.  However, because the proposed action is ecosystem restoration, it is not the intent to generate alternative plans that would require mitigation.  An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared during the feasibility phase because of the potential for significant direct and indirect, secondary, and cumulative impacts on the human and natural environment.

Study Milestones

Wetland Creation Scoping Report (1.93 MB)

Wetland Creation Notice of Intent - Federal Register: May 5, 2000 (text)

Wetland Creation Notice of Intent - Federal Register: May 5, 2000 (PDF 120 KB)



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