Major Restoration Project Complete in Louisiana

The $18.7 million Queen Bess Island restoration project is now officially complete – making the Brown Pelican habitat ready for the 2020 nesting season.

Image source: CPRA

Standing on the shore of a remote island in Louisiana’s Barataria Basin, Gov. John Bel Edwards yesterday declared the newly-restored island officially reopened for nesting.

Before we started this restoration last August, only five of the island’s 36 acres were usable for nesting. Now all 36 acres are available, and we have plans to keep it that way for years to come,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards, touring newly-rebuilt land on Queen Bess Island.

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) oversaw the engineering, design, and construction of the project.

The project was funded with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damages settlement administered by Louisiana’s Trustee Implementation Group.

The restoration of Queen Bess Island involved enhancing an existing rock ring around the island to serve as containment and protection for the sand fill material placed to increase the island’s elevation. On the southwestern side of the island, a set of rock breakwaters just offshore create a lagoon-style nursery feature for the young birds to learn how to swim, preen, and feed.

In order to increase the island to 37 acres, sediment was dredged from the Mississippi River near Belle Chase and then barged to the site.

Queen Bess Island is located northeast of Grand Isle in Jefferson Parish. It is the fourth-largest Brown Pelican rookery in Louisiana, supporting 15-20 percent of the state’s total pelican nesting activity. It is also a nesting habitat for at least eight other species of nesting colonial water birds such as Tri-colored Herons, Great Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, and Royal Terns.