By: America's WETLAND Foundation |
NEW ORLEANS - Phase One of the America's WETLAND Foundation (AWF) Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) Shoreline Stabilization and Restoration Project is complete; one mile of Vegetated EcoShield™ has been installed and planted to create habitat and to provide protection from storm surge for the community of Larose and for critical energy infrastructure.
Phase One of the project stabilizes the Gulf-facing side of the GIWW where embankments are continuously lost to tidal surge, threatening freshwater marshes with saltwater intrusion and taking with it private lands bordering the canal.
The final strips of marsh grass begin to take root along the GIWW shoreline.
The project is a clear path for private investment that makes good business sense, protecting environmental, community and economic assets at an affordable cost. In past years, the private landowner has had to rebuild the embankment numerous times due to continuous erosion caused by tidal surge and other forces.
Both traditional and innovative technology were used in the form of low cost bucket dredges and the vegetated, recycled plastic matrix material called Vegetated EcoShield™, produced from recycled, post-consumer plastic, which protects shorelines and stabilizes banks while promoting vegetative growth. By providing a protective medium for vegetation to establish, grow and spread, it enhances the natural processes of the system by creating vegetative shorelines and important coastal habitats.
"The first phase of the project is in the ground before a freeze and now nature can do its job," Val Marmillion, AWF managing director, said, noting that planting in the fall allows the stalks of Roseau Cane to take root. "The plants are sprouting and the matrix is holding to the berm and protecting it." In April, AWF will replace any plants lost to the winter and will add some additional Roseau if sparse, adding grasses to the top embankments. "If observations prove good in April, we are on our way to completing Phase One of the project with a record time performance and for a fraction of the price usually associated with wetland recovery," Marmillion said.
The entire project involves a four-mile section of the GIWW shoreline, with Phase Two to begin in 2016 on the north-facing side. When complete, the restoration effort will help protect energy assets, secure seafood and recreational waterways and, at the same time, provide habitat for wildlife and waterfowl, while increasing protection from storm surge for nearby communities.
The project is supported with private funding through the National Fish & WildlifeFoundation (NFWF),CITGO, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Community Coffee, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the State of Louisiana, the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association and private landowners.
For more information about the GIWW Shoreline Stabilization and Restoration Project, visit the Reports and Resources page on the America's WETLAND Foundation website, and view the project overview and project narrative.
To see the latest news covering the project, click here.
The America's WETLAND Foundation manages the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in Louisiana's history, raising public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The America's Energy Coast initiative works to sustain the environmental and economic assets of the Gulf Coast region. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth. For more information, visit www.americaswetland.com or www.futureofthegulfcoast.org.