Work to restore two barrier islands and one barrier headland in the Terrebonne Basin is expected to begin in 2020.
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management signed an agreement recently to use sand from federal waters to restore about 1,400 acres of habitat on Trinity-East Island, Timbalier Island and the West Belle Barrier Headland.
“This project will directly restore the function of the Terrebonne Basin Barrier Islands and West Belle Barrier Headland, increasing their resiliency against damage from future storms,” said Mike Celata, regional director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Gulf of Mexico.
The bureau is an agency under the U.S. Department of Interior that coordinates the use of sediment resources with local, state and federal agencies.
CPRA project manager April Newman said those three strips of land were “the most critical right now for restoration.”
At their current width, the islands and headland are at risk of breaching, which means a gap would form through the land masses. The water allowed in would accelerate the natural erosion process.
“Once they breach, we will lose the island,” she said.
In addition to providing habitats for animals, the barrier islands and headland offer the coast, including Port Fourchon, protection against hurricanes and fluctuations in the tide.
Newman said they also “dampen” the impact on the vulnerable wetlands nearby.
The multi-million dollar project will require about 10 million cubic yards of sand to be dredged from areas along the outer continental shelf of Louisiana, including Ship Shoal, which is about 14 miles southwest of Timbalier Island.
The work will be paid for through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, using money recovered from BP due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The agencies plan to award a bid for the project in August or September and begin pre-construction work by the end of the year. According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the dredging will last about two years.
Newman said the sand is instrumental to the project to rebuild the dunes, beach and marsh habitats.
The two agencies have partnered on several projects in the past, including the Caminada Barrier Headland project. CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase said the agency has used sediment mined from federal waters to restore more than 60 miles of barrier islands, berms and shorelines.
“BOEM has been a great partner in supplying CPRA with material to restore and protect,” Haase said in a news release.
-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Halle Parker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (985) 857-2204. Follow her on Twitter, @_thehalparker.
Posted on Tue, June 11, 2019
by By Halle Parker Daily Comet Staff Writer