(WGNO) – On September 25, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. announced that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is considering providing a nearly $6 million grant to install shoreline protection and reforestation measures near Delacroix.
“This project is needed to help restore Louisiana’s natural buffers to hurricanes and protect coastal communities from the threat of storm surge,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I urge the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to swiftly approve this project and deliver St. Bernard Parish the critical protection it requires.”
St. Bernard Parish Government will lead the project, which is officially titled the Bayou Terre aux Boeufs Ridge Restoration project. Shoreline protection and Cypress and Tupelo forest will be placed along the Bayou Terre aux Boeufs ridge and other intersecting bayous.
The goal of the project is to protect the remaining ridge through strategic armoring and reforestation. St. Bernard Parish Government has included the proposal as a tier one priority in multiple duplications of its Coastal Strategy Document, and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority incorporated the project in its 2017 State Master Plan.
The surrounding area relies on the Bayou Terre aux Boeufs ridge for fish and wildlife habitat and storm surge protection. Only 1-5 percent of such forests have survived statewide, and the remaining natural levee forests near Delacroix are fragmented and under constant threat due to relative sea-level rise and coastal erosion.
Historically, Bayou Terre aux Boeufs was an extensive distributary channel of the Mississippi River, and Native American tribes such as the Chaoucha and Choctaw originally inhabited the area in the 17th century.