The Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA Grand Bayou Unit project was completed in November 2011, designated as Louisiana's 75th Anniversary Project and dedicated to Ron and Jackie Bartels
, passionate DU volunteers and Benefactors.
Pointe-aux-Chenes staff report that salinity levels are already decreasing and they are seeing more abundant submerged aquatic vegetation than ever.
In 2005, Hurricane Rita damaged the levees at Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area beyond the repair capabilities of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Without these levees, WMA management noted significant habitat deterioration and reduced wildlife use due to increased salinity and excessive tidal fluctuations.
Ducks Unlimited and its partners installed two water-control structures and repaired and refurbished existing storm-damaged levees to protect against salinity intrusion and restore management capabilities to 3,075 acres of coastal marsh within Pointe-aux-Chenes's Grand Bayou Unit.
Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA provides migration and wintering habitat for more than 15 species of waterfowl, including high-priority species such as the northern pintail, greater and lesser scaup, mottled duck, mallard, American wigeon, canvasback and ring-necked duck. Many other species of wetland-dependent birds, including several species of herons, egrets, rails, ibis and shorebirds, will benefit from this restoration of coastal marsh and prairie habitats. Marshes throughout the project area also provide extensive nursery habitat for estuarine-dependent species such as brown and white shrimp, blue crabs, Gulf menhaden, Atlantic croaker, striped mullet, spotted sea trout, red drum, black drum and southern flounder.
Pointe-aux-Chenes is also among the most heavily trafficked Louisiana WMAs, providing a great area for fishing, camping, hunting and wildlife watching. The Grand Bayou Unit project site lies on the front lines between the Gulf of Mexico and the coastal marshes protecting nearby cities such as Houma.
This project was funded in part by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant.
Partners: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, North American Wetlands Conservation Council, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, Abita Brewing Company, Irene W. & C.B. Pennington Foundation, Go-Devil Manufacturers of Louisiana – Warren Coco, TransCanada, ExxonMobil Foundation, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation, Matthew Hagen, Dr. Ted Price, Pierre Olivier, Trapp Cadillac/Chevrolet, Inc. – Heinke Trapp, Songy's Sporting Goods – Barry Songy, Bobby & Linda Burguieres, the Jerry Neil Family and Ducks Unlimited