Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration Project

Project Summary
The Trustees propose to restore beach, dune, and back-barrier marsh habitats at four barrier island locations in Louisiana. From west to east, the four locations are Caillou Lake Headlands (also known as Whiskey Island), Chenier Ronquille, Shell Island (West Lobe and portions of East Lobe), and North Breton Island. The total estimated cost to implement Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration is $318,363,000.

Background and Project Description
The goal of Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration is to restore beach, dune, and back-barrier marsh habitats in Louisiana, as well as brown pelicans, terns, skimmers, and gulls to help compensate the public for Spill-related injuries to these habitats and species. The restoration work proposed at each island involves placement of appropriately sized sediments to create beach, dune, and back-barrier marsh 5 areas; installation of sand fencing to trap and retain wind-blown sediments and foster dune development; and revegetation of appropriate native species in dune and back-barrier marsh habitat. Sediment will be pumped from appropriate borrow area locations specific to each island and conveyed to the restoration sites through temporary pipeline corridors. The restoration methods proposed here are established methods for this type of restoration activity. Restoration at Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration locations has a history of support and project development; NRDA funding is necessary, however, for construction at these locations to move forward. Construction of the Caillou Lake Headlands was the selected restoration alternative for that location in the Terrebonne Basin Barrier Shoreline Restoration (TBBSR) Integrated Feasibility Study and Final Environmental Impact Statement (USACE 2010). The Chenier Ronquille barrier island restoration was authorized in 2010 as a candidate project under the 1990 Coastal Wetland Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) and received design phase funding under CWPPRA. Plans and proposals to restore Shell Island have been developed in multiple documents since 1998 (LCWCRTF and WCRA 1998), including the Barataria Basin Barrier Shoreline Restoration Project (USACE 2012). Caillou Lake Headlands, Chenier Ronquille, and Shell Island are included in Louisiana’s Master Plan (CPRA 2012). North Breton Island, part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge (Breton NWR), is recognized as an important bird area due to the resources it provides to birds. However, erosion from storms constitutes a major and ongoing threat to the island, its habitats, and the breeding bird colonies it supports (Martinez et al. 2009; Lavoie 2009). Several alternatives to restore North Breton Island have been discussed, including those evaluated as part of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) Ecosystem Restoration Plan Final Feasibility Report (Thomson et al. 2010).

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Birds, Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitats

Restoration of beach, dune, and back-barrier marsh habitats at the Caillou Lake Headlands location will occur on Whiskey Island, a barrier island in the Isle Dernieres reach of the Terrebonne Basin barrier system. The project was federally authorized under the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 and selected as a preferred alternative in the Terrebonne Basin Barrier Shoreline Restoration (TBBSR) Integrated Feasibility Study and Final Environmental Impact Statement (USACE 2010), and included in the state’s master plan (CPRA 2012). Louisiana is the lead Trustee for the design and construction of this project, working cooperatively with NOAA and DOI.

Birds, Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitats

Chenier Ronquille is located along the Plaquemines/Barataria Bay barrier shoreline, eight miles east of Grand Isle. Chenier Ronquille serves as the western anchor of the Plaquemines/Barataria shoreline and forms the eastern boundary of Quatre Bayou Pass. NOAA is the lead Trustee for the design and construction of this project component, working cooperatively with Louisiana and DOI. The Chenier Ronquille barrier island restoration was authorized in 2010 as a candidate project under the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). This project component aims to increase island longevity by restoring beach, dune, and back-barrier marsh habitats. Restoration work will repair the breaches in the shoreline and prevent the creation of new breaches over the project component life while reestablishing dune and marsh platforms.

Birds, Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitats

Shell Island is located approximately 49 miles south-southeast of New Orleans, along the southern margin of the Barataria Basin in Plaquemines Parish and comprises a portion of the Plaquemines barrier shoreline. This project aims to increase island longevity by restoring beach, dune, and back-barrier marsh habitats on Shell Island West and the western portion of Shell Island East. Restoration work would repair breaches in the shoreline, reestablish a primary dune along the length of the shoreline, and construct a back-barrier marsh platform. Plans and proposals to restore Shell Island have been developed in multiple documents, including Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana (LCWCRTF and WCRA 1998), the Barataria Basin Barrier Shoreline Restoration Project (USACE 2012), and the state’s master plan (CPRA 2012). Louisiana is the lead Trustee for the design and construction of this project, working cooperatively with NOAA and DOI.

Birds

North Breton Island, located near the southern end of the Chandeleur Island chain in Louisiana, is part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge established in 1904 by Theodore Roosevelt. Restoration focuses on enhancing habitat for nesting brown pelicans, terns, skimmers and gulls. We anticipate dredging approximately 3.7 million cubic yards of sand, silt, and clay-sized material from one or more borrow sites within a nearby source area and placing it on the existing island platform to create the desired island configuration. Initial designs for the island suggest that this will facilitate the development of more than 300 acres of constructed barrier island habitat, including beaches, dunes, and back-barrier marsh. Sand fencing and native plants may be installed to facilitate the development of nesting habitat. DOI is the lead Trustee for the design and construction of this component, working cooperatively with Louisiana and NOAA.