Community members, project sponsors and Ducks Unlimited (DU) volunteers gathered at the 40 Arpent Wetlands Observatory to celebrate the completion of the 40 Arpent Canal Wetlands Enhancement Terracing Project. This project will enhance fish and wildlife habitat while also providing coastal resiliency.


Project work includes constructing and planting approximately 30,500 linear feet of earthen terraces near Bayou Bienvenue in the Central Wetlands Unit of St. Bernard Parish.

Marsh restoration and enhancement projects like this provide diverse habitat for fish and wildlife that rely on coastal wetlands to meet their habitat needs. The terraces help reduce wind and wave action, improving nursery habitat for fisheries and reducing erosion of adjacent marshes. Projects like this also help protect coastal communities by adding an extra line of defense that buffers impacts from tropical weather events.

“Terraces help restore emergent marsh and protect existing marsh and infrastructure,” said Cassidy Lejeune, DU director of conservation programs in South Louisiana. “This project will improve nearly 200 acres of marsh near the coastal community of Chalmette and enhance important habitat for a variety of coastal birds, including waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, colonial seabirds and secretive marsh birds.”

The earthen terrace feature of the project is adjacent to St. Bernard Parish’s Forty Arpent Wetlands Observatory, which has limited public access for bird watching and wildlife viewing.

"Through our partnership with DU and other esteemed organizations, the Meraux Foundation proudly takes a significant step forward in the restoration of our central wetlands, safeguarding our environment and our community,” said Meraux Foundation President Rita Gue “This terracing project exemplifies the profound impact of collaboration, demonstrating that even in the face of monumental challenges like coastal wetland loss, when we work together, we can achieve remarkable results. Our commitment to this initiative complements the nearby levee bike path, the 40 Arpent Wetland Observatory, Park Cheniere, and numerous other projects we have supported by contributing land, expertise, and resources. Together, we are building a sustainable and resilient future for St. Bernard Parish."

The terraces will help restore emergent marsh and help protect existing natural marsh adjacent to the terraces. The terraces are aligned to decrease erosion by reducing wave energy and turbidity, which increases sediment deposition and creates conditions that promote the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation.

The second component of the project was the dredging of the Forty Arpent Canal near the Caernarvon Diversion. This dredging will increase the flow of freshwater and sediment from Caernarvon to enhance and nourish the marshes north of Lake Lery. This project will benefit 1,766 acres.

"It's amazing that we transformed a shallow man-made lake into a productive ecosystem for wildlife with a small investment,” said Blaise Pezold, coastal and environmental program manager for the Meraux Foundation. “This terracing project works with the new levee bike path and the two pieces of property the Meraux Foundation donated for the 40 Arpent Wetland Observatory and the Park Cheniere,”

The enhancement and protection of marsh via these two project features will provide enhanced habitat conditions for wildlife and fishery resources.

This project is supported by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, St. Bernard Parish Government, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, Delacroix Corporation, Ducks Unlimited, EMR, First Horizon Foundation, Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Taurus Properties, The James M. Cox Foundation, The Meraux Foundation, Valero, Yamaha Right Waters, Zyne Family Foundation and other Gulf Coast Initiative sponsors.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing wetlands, grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 16 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU’s projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent capital campaign. Learn more at


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Emily Austin