THIBODAUX, La. – Nov. 30, 2015 – Lafourche Parish residents will soon have improved wildlife habitat and storm protection thanks to a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to Ducks Unlimited. The Bayou Monnaie project will restore more than 7,300 acres of degraded coastal marsh and beach habitat along the Gulf Coast in southeast Louisiana.
"Approximately 75 percent of the marsh vegetation in the Bayou Monnaie area has died," said Mike Carloss, DU manager of conservation programs. "That loss has turned this area into open, salty water of little value to migratory birds and of no value in storm surge protection for coastal communities. This project will restore the area's protective wetlands and increase waterfowl and fisheries habitat."
Specifically, the project will create beach habitat along 7.4 miles of the Gulf of Mexico, construct marsh terraces on 541 acres and restore the hydrologic integrity of 6,000 acres of coastal marsh across southern Louisiana. The project will restore areas on Elmer's Island Refuge and private lands owned by funding partner ConocoPhillips.
"The public benefit from the restoration of wetland functions and values along the Gulf Coast is immeasurable, and with most of the coast in private ownership, it's important that we work with willing landowners to the benefit of everyone. This work is another step forward in making Louisiana's coastal wetlands a sustainable ecosystem once again," Carloss said.
"These wetlands provide financially valuable and ecologically significant goods and services to people across the state and the country," said Phil Precht of ConocoPhillips. "We expect to see substantial improvements to water quality, flood and storm surge protection and a host of wildlife habitat-related aspects, all of which benefit the general public."
NAWCA grants require a minimum 1:1 non-federal to federal match for every dollar. Partners on the Bayou Monnaie grant are contributing $2.3 million in matching funds for the $1 million grant. These partners include ConocoPhillips subsidiary Louisiana Land and Exploration Company LLC, Ducks Unlimited, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the Lafourche Parish Government and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
NAWCA is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. To date, NAWCA funds have advanced conservation of more than 30 million acres of wetland habitats and their wildlife in all 50 states, engaging more than 5,400 partners in more than 2,500 projects.
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.