LAFAYETTE, La. – May 29, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited and partners recently received a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant for coastal marsh restoration efforts in Louisiana. The nearly $1 million grant will be combined with partner contributions of more than $2 million to improve more than 16,000 acres of coastal wetlands, including a long-awaited project on Liner's Canal in Terrebonne Parish.
"Terrebonne Parish has some of the most dramatic rates of wetland loss on the Louisiana coast," said Bob Dew, DU manager of conservation programs. "DU is pleased to work with our many partners from the public and private sectors to see the Liner's Canal project finally come to fruition."
The Liner's Canal restoration has been on the parish's desired projects list for several years, but a lack of funding has kept it from being completed. It will benefit hundreds of acres of fresh and intermediate marsh by increasing freshwater flow into an area severely threatened by saltwater intrusion.
"We respect Duck Unlimited's stewardship of wetland habitats in southeast Louisiana and we have witnessed – firsthand – the organization's commitment and professionalism in developing and managing restoration projects," said Michel Claudet, president of Terrebonne Parish.
Specifically, Ducks Unlimited will build a multi-bay water control structure to increase the freshwater flow through Liner's Canal by about three times. The structure will also prevent salt water from accessing freshwater marshes upstream.
While the structure and impacted marsh are privately owned by Apache Corporation, there are substantial public benefits of increased healthy marsh, including waterfowl, wildlife and fisheries habitat, storm protection and water quality improvement.
"We are grateful to Ducks Unlimited for being the catalyst to get the project moving forward," said Tim Allen, general manager at Apache. "This project fits in exceptionally well with the other stewardship initiatives we implement on Apache property."
Additional grant projects include:
- Permanent protection of nearly 6,000 acres of fresh to intermediate marsh habitat
- Restoration of more than 3,700 acres of coastal wetlands in west-central Lafourche Parish
- Restoration of approximately 6,000 acres of private lands across the coastal zone through the Louisiana Waterfowl Project program, which provides technical and cost-share assistance to landowners wanting to improve their property for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife
The projects included in this grant all address the changes in salt- and freshwater flows, which impact marsh vegetation and soil stability. By restoring freshwater inputs and installing water control structures to manage salinity and water levels within coastal marshes, land managers can increase the overall health and function of coastal marshes.
"The Gulf Coast is the continent's single most important wintering area for waterfowl, and it's being lost at a staggering rate," Dew said. "As such, protecting and restoring coastal marsh and prairie habitat is a top priority for Ducks Unlimited."
Coastal restoration isn't solely about ecosystems and wildlife, either. Economic benefits of coastal restoration include creating and retaining jobs, increasing recreational opportunities such as bird watching and boating and increasing fishing and hunting opportunities.
In addition to Ducks Unlimited, Apache Corporation and Terrebonne Parish, partners on the NAWCA grant include the Moore-Odom Wildlife Foundation, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.