Project not complete
Study Site

Louisiana's coastal wetlands value is often measured in terms such as storm protection, fisheries landings, oil and gas infrastructure protection, and recreation. Statistics however, only begin to suggest the importance of Louisiana's coastal wetland ecosystem and the extent of modern damage. To a significant segment of wildlife, migratory birds and waterfowl for example, Louisiana's coastal wetlands and barrier islands are a prodigiously productive system that is used by as much as 66% of the migratory birds that use the Mississippi Flyway. In addition, barrier islands, bay islands and other coastal environments are critically important habitats for neotropical migrants that depend on Louisiana's coastal marshes for summer breeding, winter foraging and stopover along their spring and fall migration routes. Currently, there is an accelerated initiative to restore Louisiana's barrier islands and other outer-marsh habitats. To date, most of the barrier islands have undergone some level of restoration and, to a limited extent, revegetation. Plantings following restoration, however, typically consist primarily of grass species and are resulting in monocultures with minimal wildlife value. There is little information available for the selection, propagation and establishment of woody plants applicable to highly disturbed soils. Consequently, most restored sites will continue to lack plant species diversity and, therefore, have limited wildlife habitat value.

The objectives of this project match several of the action plans identified in the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program's (BTNEP) Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan (CCMP). The two action plans most affected by this project are Preservation and Restoration of Barrier Islands (EM5) and Protection of Habitat for Migratory and Resident Birds (EM15). This project will be done through an agreement between BTNEP and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The agreement will take advantage of NRCS expertise, equipment, facilities and personnel. The Louisiana's Plant Materials Program run by NRCS is divided into two initiatives, coastal wetland restoration and delta-upland conservation. The initiatives focus on developing new information and increasing landowner conservation efforts on the land using plants and plant materials. This project would be an extension of the Plant Materials Program that includes the woody species of plants.