Afternoon on the Bayou, Seeing Restoration Firsthand

By Matthew Phillips, Outreach Assistant, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition, National Wildlife Federation

Last Thursday, the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition team traveled south to Plaquemines Parish to tour some of Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands. Andy Buchsbaum, National Wildlife Federation’s Vice President of Conservation Action, was in town to see our work firsthand. We packed the cars and drove to Buras, La to meet Ryan Lambert, owner of Cajun Fishing Adventures. We piled into two bay boats and set off through the marshes of Fort St. Philip. He explained how this natural opening on the east side of the Mississippi River was loading sediment into the marshes, building ground for plants to grow on. He has seen how rich and diverse the vegetation has become, and how wildlife has returned in droves in the last few years.


The team sets out for our tour through the marshes near Buras, LA. Credit: kdwNWF


The new sediment is rich in nutrients, allowing small trees to grow. Trees provide habitat for birds and help stabilize the soil at the bottom of the wetland. Credit:kdwNWF


Ryan Lambert, of Cajun Fishing Adventures, navigates through the submerged aquatic vegetation, explaining its importance as habitat for small fish and insects. Credit:kdwNWF


NWF Staff Scientist Alisha Renfro and Senior Coastal Louisiana Restoration Program Manager Maura Wood discuss a sample of sediment. The sediment in this shallow, open-water area was mostly mud, the same sediment found in nearby marsh soils. Credit:kdwNWF













At the end of the day the team gathered at Woodland Plantation for happy hour and an amazing meal. Everyone agreed that seeing the coast we are fighting to restore is a crucial part of our work. Our supporters in Plaquemines Parish, ground zero for Louisiana Coastal Restoration, are some of the most fervent advocates of restoration. Having passionate people explaining what the coast means to them while immersed in the environment they love was invigorating. We returned to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Washington, D.C., with a renewed sense of commitment to the Louisiana coast.

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