Sept. 5, 2018 - Lafourche Parish residents will have more protective coastal marsh between them and the rapidly encroaching Gulf of Mexico thanks to a partnership between Ducks Unlimited and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). As part of a slate of projects approved for funding by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Task Force, Ducks Unlimited will begin engineering and design for the North Catfish Lake Project to build more than 400 acres of marsh and nourish an additional 200 acres near Golden Meadow.
In Louisiana, CWPPRA is often called the “Breaux Act” in honor of U.S. Senator John Breaux, who helped initiate the legislation in 1990 along with U. S. Senator J. Bennett Johnson.
“Senator Breaux was a visionary who understood the national, regional and local importance of Louisiana’s rapidly disappearing coastal wetlands,” DU Director of Conservation Programs Mike Carloss said.
CWPPRA is designed to identify, prepare and fund construction of coastal wetlands restoration projects. Since its inception, CWPPRA has designated between $30 and $80 million annually for work in Louisiana.
“Ducks Unlimited has been diligently working to restore coastal wetlands in Louisiana for more than 30 years, and we are honored to team up with our long-term partners at the NRCS to deliver this project,” Carloss said.
Once engineering and design are completed, the project will be eligible for Phase 2 funding, which would include construction and implementation costs.
The CWPPRA Task Force is comprised of one member each from five federal agencies and the state of Louisiana. The federal agencies include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NRCS, National Marine Fisheries Services, Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Louisiana’s governor’s office represents the state on the Task Force.
“NRCS and DU have a mutual interest to conserve, protect and enhance Louisiana’s coastal wetland ecosystems,” said Britt Paul, assistant state conservationist for Water Resources at NRCS in Louisiana. “DU is currently designing and implementing a similar coastal restoration project adjacent to the North Catfish Lake project area that will create synergy between the two projects, which is advantageous to NRCS as well as the CWPPRA program.”
As the most imperiled and important wintering area for waterfowl on the continent, coastal Louisiana is one of Ducks Unlimited’s highest priorities. Coastal restoration has tremendous benefits for fisheries, other wildlife, and the people who live here.