CRCL Project in LaBranche Wetlands Receives Matching Funds from State of Louisiana

10.21.2011 | In Restoration Projects

This story was originally posted on the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s Coast Currents blog.

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) is proud to announce that our proposed project to enhance and revitalize the LaBranche Wetlands has been selected by the state of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) for a partnership grant award.

CPRA’s Conservation and Restoration Partnership Fund provides matching funds for small to mid-sized restoration projects that are consistent with the State of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. CRCL’s LaBranche Wetlands Hydrologic Restoration project is one of three projects to receive funding this year. The Conservation and Restoration Partnership Fund will provide $350,000 to CRCL for the LaBranche project, matching $330,000 already secured by CRCL and its partners.

The LaBranche Wetlands Hydrologic Restoration project centers on the installation of a tide gate in the Pipeline Canal of the LaBranche Wetlands. The gate will reduce saltwater intrusion into an area of more than 6,000 adjacent acres, improving the quality of freshwater in the area. The result is an environment which is healthier for fish and wildlife as well as more resistant to storm surge.

“CRCL is certainly pleased that our LaBranche project was selected,” said Steven Peyronnin, executive director of CRCL. “The Conservation and Restoration Partnership Fund excels at addressing localized needs, and encourages conservation groups to take the initiative in creating restoration projects grounded in good science. It is an effective and efficient way to encourage partnership and get worthy restoration projects from the drawing board to the field.”

The LaBranche Wetlands consists of 16,000 acres of intermediate marsh, cypress forests, and open shallow water bodies south of Lake Pontchartrain. The LaBranche wetlands have experienced more than 6,000 acres of wetland loss over the past 50 years as a result of the construction of Interstate 10 as well as the digging of access canals from the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain. Brackish lake water infiltrates these access canals, endangering freshwater habitats and causing wetlands loss.

In addition to CRCL, support for this project will be provided by the St. Charles Land Syndicate, Ducks Unlimited, St. Charles Parish Government, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Restore America’s Estuaries.