Restoration of the Barataria Basin Barrier Islands

Steven Thomas Kent

Abstract


Barataria Bay is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, immediately south of New Orleans,
LA. The southern half of the basin consists of approximately 1,900km2 of marshland and 600km2 of
swampland. These wetlands are all connected to a large bay system, which is protected from the ocean
via a system of four barrier islands. The basin has been experiencing significant losses of wetland
habitat. Monitored loss from 1974 to 1990 is estimated at roughly 25km2 a year. These losses have
been traced to two main contributing factors. The construction of flood water dykes along the
Mississippi River has almost eliminated fresh water input into the wetlands, depriving the ecosystem of
vital sediments, nutrients, and hydrologic influence. The other factor is the natural erosion of the
barrier islands in the bay, as well as rising sea levels. This is resulting in an increase of salinity in the
southern region of the basin. Following an ecological assessment and feasibility study in 2011, the
government of Louisiana set a project in motion to restore and reinforce the integrity of the barrier
islands in Barataria Bay. This paper will highlight the necessity of the project as well as the social and
economic advantages. It shall also provide a description of the project, which involves the creation of
protective ridges to resist natural erosion and the expansion of the diminished island areas. Such work
has already been carried out on several of the barrier islands, with plans to complete similar projects
within the basin. With the new barrier system intact it is hoped that the salinity of the wetlands can be
maintained, and that the marsh ecosystem can be protected.

Keywords


Coastal Engineering, ENGI 8751

Full Text:

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References


References

Ivor Ll. Van Heerden and Karl DeRouen.

“Implementing a Barrier Island and Barrier Shoreline Restoration Program: The State of

Louisiana’s Perspective”

Journal of Coastal Research, Volume 13, No. 3 (Summer 1997), pp 679-685.

The Barataria Basin

CWPPRA (Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act)

http://lacoast.gov/new/about/basin_data/ba/default.aspx (Accessed March 2013)

Dianne M. Lindstedt

“Renewable Resources at Stake: Barataria-Terrebonne Estuarine System in Southeast Louisiana”

Journal of Coastal Research, special issue NO. 44. Saving Americas Wetland: Strategies for

Restoration of Louisiana's Coastal Wetlands and Barrier Islands (SPRING 2005), pp. 162-175

Bill Good, Gerry Bodin, Paul Coreil, Beverly Ethridge et al.

“Coastal 2050: Towards a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana”

Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Task Force (1998)

“Louisiana Coastal Area Barataria Basin Barrier Shoreline Restoration Final Construction

Report ad Final Environmental Impact Statement: Engineering Appendix A”

United States Army Corp of Engineers (2012)

“Louisiana Coastal Area Barataria Basin Barrier Shoreline Restoration Final Construction

Report ad Final Environmental Impact Statement: Economics Appendix B”

United States Army Corp of Engineers (2012)


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