A Milestone for Sportsman’s Paradise

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will create more wildlife habitat than any other single project in U.S. history.

By Matthew Waguespack
Sportsman Outreach Coordinator

Recently, our Sportsman’s Paradise made history by breaking ground on the single largest habitat restoration project in US history. The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will reconnect the Mississippi River with its wetlands and build up to 27 square miles of habitat in Barataria Basin – a place losing land faster than almost anywhere on the planet.

For generations, hunters and anglers have watched the Barataria Basin wither away right before our eyes. Sadly, though it’s one of the greatest estuaries on earth, this area suffers from one of the fastest rates of land loss on the planet. After decades of world-class science and research, stakeholder engagement and feedback and comprehensive review, sediment starved wetlands will soon benefit from the power of the river itself, as the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion begins to deliver sediment to the basin.

National Wildlife Federation staff at the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion groundbreaking ceremony.

Louisiana’s significant land loss over the last century has been alarming for sportsmen.  Louisiana’s duck hunters have long advocated for more productive hunting locations as we see in the Wax Lake, Atchafalaya, and Birdfoot Deltas. Now, that dream will become more of a reality for many hunters in the area of the Barataria Basin. 

Here at Vanishing Paradise, to say we are thrilled about construction starting on Mid-Barataria is an understatement. Just like we see in the other deltas, reconnecting the Mississippi River to its wetlands will help bring food sources and build critical wintering, nesting and stopover habitat for migratory waterfowl in our Sportsman’s Paradise. Soon, hunters in the Barataria Basin could be able to shoot their limit of ducks, catch a limit of bass, shoot a limit of rabbits, and possibly even catch a few redfish all on the same trip! These are some of the benefits I plan on seeing (and taking part in) as a result of reconnecting the Mississippi River to the surrounding wetlands of the Barataria Basin. 

Sportsmen understand the importance of large-scale conservation and restoration efforts and the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project is a testament to Louisiana’s commitment to protecting and enhancing its natural resources, ecosystem, and outdoor opportunities. Many of you, our Vanishing Paradise supporters, helped get this project to this milestone. By engaging during the public comment periods, attending public meetings, and vocalizing your support, we banded together in the name of habitat restoration. We are so grateful for your support of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, and we cannot wait to see what it accomplishes by using Mother Nature herself to restore the Mississippi River Delta for generations to come.