Terrebonne Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation Project: Bayou Terrebonne Increment
The Terrebonne Basin supports about 155,000 acres of swamp and almost 574,000 acres of marsh, grading from fresh marsh inland to brackish and saline marsh near the bays and the Gulf of Mexico. This project represents a large-scale restoration strategy for the Terrebonne Basin that would rebuild ridge and intertidal marsh habitat that has degraded due, in part, to the DWH oil spill. The project would restore approximately 5,000 acres of marsh and ridge habitat and would be implemented in four increments through multiple design and construction phases (Figure 3). The increments include three ridge restoration and marsh creation projects north of Terrebonne Bay, including the Bayou Dularge Ridge, the Bayou Terrebonne Ridge, and the Point au Chien Ridge, and a large-scale marsh creation component to be located in southern Lafourche Parish, just west of Bayou Lafourche and Port Fourchon. Additional information about this project can be found in Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan.
This project is consistent with the Restore and Conserve Habitat programmatic goal and the Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitat restoration type. In addition, it would meet the evaluation criteria established by OPA because:
- the project has likely benefits to more than one resource;
- large-scale marsh creation projects result in immediate benefits to habitat and therefore would likely prevent ongoing and future injuries to the same types of habitats affected by the DWH oil spill;
- collateral injury will be avoided by addressing the potential for collateral impacts in project design and employing best management practices in project implementation;
- there is a high likelihood of success because this project is technically feasible and utilizes proven and established restoration methods used by other projects in the region;
- cost estimates are based on similar past projects, and similar projects have been constructed at a reasonable cost; and
- there would be a positive effect on public health and safety by providing natural protection against storm surge and flooding.
This project is consistent with the Coastal Master Plan. The nexus between the injury and programmatic restoration goal is clear.