On December 8th and 9th, the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) hosted a volunteer event at Grand Isle State Park to implement a new dune creation project.
The project, sponsored by the Fourchon Oilman Association, consisted of deploying over 3,300 feet of slat-wood sand fencing and the planting of 7,000 native beach plants.
Due to the high wind energy associated with coastal areas, the goal of these fences is to “catch” wind-blown sand particles creating four to six feet high sand dunes. The grass planting associated with the fence helps stabilize the dune, increases its overall footprint and provides a more diversified habitat.
Volunteers from Union College, located in New York, participated in the efforts as a Community Service course credit. The BTNEP project was one of three stops on their service trip.
In conjunction with taking part in hands on projects, the students were involved in a study of the wetlands loss that Louisiana is experiencing and the causes and consequences of the land loss. Students were eager to be able to do something to aid in reducing land loss in the region.
Other volunteers taking part in the efforts consisted of Central Lafourche High School’s FFA members, Nicholls State University Biology students and other concerned citizens.
Louisiana’s barrier islands are some of the most rapidly degrading ecosystems in the world. Wave action erosion, subsidence, and sea level rise all have taken their toll on these fragile landmasses.
Barrier islands provide refuge for thousands of species of fauna, which utilize these islands every year. These islands also provide an initial buffer for the many tropical weather events which frequent Louisiana’s shores.
As with most barrier islands systems, beachheads are an invaluable area of habitat. Beach sand dunes not only provide specialized habitat for many shorebirds, but also provide protection to island interiors by creating a wave buffer zone.
Thanks to the Fourchon Oilman Association for their donation to the project. The resulting sand fence and planting will stabilize this beach for years to come.
Posted on Wed, January 30, 2013