Pontchartrain Basin Projects On Tap

Vanishing Paradise team brought Conservation on Tap to the Northshore to discuss lake conditions and coastal restoration projects.

Photo courtesy of LA Fishing Blog.

How is Lake Pontchartrain faring after the high river this spring and summer? What restoration projects are moving forward along the Lake? We tackled these topics at Vanishing Paradise’s Northshore Conservation on Tap in October.  

We were thrilled to spend the evening with new and old friends and share the latest updates about our coast as concerned hunters and anglers gathered at the Brass Monkey Draught Emporium in Slidell. Dr John Lopez of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation gave a presentation about the conditions in the lake after a record-breaking high river spring and summer. He explained the history of opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway, how it related to the high river event, and how the lake is rebounding following its closing. We all learned that the crab catch in the lake is HOT right now! This definitely piqued the interest of the Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne fishermen with us that night.

We decided to bring Conservation on Tap to the Northshore to not only talk about the current conditions of the lake, but to chat about the restoration projects that impact the Northshore, and help with storm surge protection. VP’s Amanda Moore presented on the New Orleans East Land Bridge and the Maurepas Swamp Restoration projects. 

New Orleans East Landbridge Restoration

The New Orleans East Landbridge restoration project in the photo above is a large-scale marsh creation project that will create and restore 33,400 acres of marsh, once fully implemented. The project will help increase protection from storm surge and waves, and improve fish and wildlife habitat. Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge is included in this project area, and is known as the largest urban wildlife refuge in the nation. The restoration of this area will help maintain such a crucial area of our “Sportsmen’s Paradise,” as many children grow up duck hunting the youth waterfowl season in Bayou Sauvage.

There is an opportunity to give public comment on a 283 acre marsh creation project on the land bridge from now through December 5.

Restoring Maurepas Swamp

Credit: Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

We also learned about a project that is up for public comment this winter that will reintroduce the Mississippi River to the Maurepas Swamp. Maurepas Swamp has historically been home to bald cypress and water tupelo trees. However, once the levees were constructed, the swamp was left isolated from fresh water, sediments and nutrients that the river once brought into the area. In addition to the levees, the MRGO once brought salt water into the area causing a rapid decline in tree death and a lack of new tree growth. By reintroducing the river to the swamp, the once popular duck hunting area will be restored to its original hydrology and promote new habitat and growth for our favorite swamp creatures to thrive in. This project aims to benefit over 45,000 acres of habitat! Public comment for this project starts in mid-December.

If you would like more information on either project, or would like to know more about submitting public comments, please contact Erin Willhoft at willhofte@nwf.org. 

Thank you to the Brass Monkey Draught Emporium and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation for helping make it a great evening. Stay tuned for future Conservation on Tap events!