THERIOT, La. – Nov. 11, 2015 – Nearly fifty people gathered to celebrate completion of three coastal restoration projects yesterday at the Falgout Canal Marina in Theriot.
Ducks Unlimited, ConocoPhillips, Apache Louisiana Minerals LLC, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council restored more than 2,500 coastal acres through the Liner Canal, Carencro Bayou and Lost Lake projects.
"The Gulf Coast is the continent's single most important wintering area for waterfowl, and it's being lost at a staggering rate," DU Coastal Restoration Specialist Leslie Suazo said. "Protecting and restoring coastal marsh and prairie habitat is a top priority for Ducks Unlimited. Our Gulf Coast Initiative addresses the need for coastal restoration through direct habitat delivery and advocacy, guided by the best available science."
The Liner Canal project was on the parish's desired list for several years, but a lack of funding delayed implementation efforts. The project will benefit hundreds of acres of fresh and intermediate marsh by increasing freshwater flow into an area severely threatened by saltwater intrusion. Ducks Unlimited built a multi-bay water control structure to increase the freshwater flow through Liner Canal by about three times. The structure will also prevent salt water from accessing freshwater marshes upstream.
"Terrebonne Parish has some of the most dramatic rates of wetland loss on the Louisiana coast," Suazo said. "Ducks Unlimited is pleased to work with our many partners from the public and private sectors to see these projects finally come to fruition."
The Lost Lake project created a living shoreline using wave attenuation devices (WADs) designed by Living Shoreline Solutions and fabricated by Lowland Construction Company. The WADs create a shoreline protection feature that can be moved and reused once the eroding coastal marsh stabilizes and fills in behind the structure. Placement of the 423 concrete structures was completed this summer. This erosion control project is part of Ducks Unlimited's ongoing effort to conserve coastal marsh for mottled ducks and migrating waterfowl.
Funded by grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, ConocoPhillips and the state of Louisiana, the Carencro Bayou freshwater introduction project restored freshwater and sediment inputs to more than 1,500 acres of coastal marsh in Terrebonne Parish. A water control structure was installed to control salinity and maximize the flow of fresh water from the Atchafalaya River and Bayou Penchant.
"Fresh water introduction projects like this can dramatically improve waterfowl foraging habitat," Suazo said. "More importantly, they restore the system processes that can maintain and grow coastal marsh to provide lasting benefits."
The positive benefits of coastal restoration reach well beyond ecosystems and wildlife. Economic benefits of coastal restoration include job creation and retention, increased recreational opportunities such as bird watching and boating, and increased fishing and hunting opportunities.
In addition to Ducks Unlimited's Gulf Coast Initiative sponsors, ConocoPhillips, Apache Louisiana Minerals LLC, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, NOAA and NAWCC, partners on the projects included Terrebonne Parish, the Moore-Odom Wildlife Foundation and the 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.