Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards with Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority yesterday announced an award of $161.4 million from The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) to fund Louisiana projects that support restoration of the Terrebonne Basin barrier island system: West Belle Headland, Timbalier Island and Trinity Island.
“This is another significant project to help restore damages incurred by the BP oil spill,” said Edwards. “Investing in Louisiana’s critical barrier island chain will also help protect citizens living in the vicinity of Terrebonne and Timbalier Bays.”
The projects were developed in consultation with state and federal resource agencies and are designed to remedy harm and reduce the risk of future harm to natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The sustainable restoration of beach, dune, and marsh habitat in a highly eroded area of the Louisiana coast will bolster the comprehensive efforts to protect this fragile landscape.
The West Belle Headland portion of the project will implement designs developed under a prior GEBF-funded project. Additionally, this proposal includes funding to enhance plans for the long term sustainability of the entire length of Louisiana barrier islands.
These islands/headland represent integral components of the Louisiana shoreline system.
The barrier system separates the Terrebonne and Timbalier Bay estuarine and coastal marshes and forested wetlands from direct assault by waves from the open waters of the Gulf, allowing them to continue to function as productive nursery areas for numerous species of commercially- and recreationally-important fish and invertebrates.
Trinity and Timbalier islands are currently at a critical minimum width in some areas and as time passes, the potential for breaching increases.
Timbalier Island has already experienced minor overwash and gapping in some areas. Therefore, the timing is critical to nourish these islands to avoid major breaching and associated accelerated land loss.
Without this project, the Terrebonne Basin Barrier Shoreline System will continue to degrade, with ever-widening breaches and storm overwash leading to loss of adjacent estuarine wetlands and reduction of environmental and commercial benefits, NFWF reports.