Seeing is Believing When it Comes to Restoring Coastal Louisiana

2018 Coastal Connections marsh tour. Photo by Jacques Hebert.

Sportsmen understand the important role habitat plays in providing areas for hunting and fishing, and while coastal Louisiana continues to disappear at the rate of one football field every 100 minutes, there is hope that we can turn the tide and rebuild land.

One such effort is happening Plaquemines Parish, where state and local organizations, like Vanishing Paradise and our partners at Restore the Mississippi River Delta, as well as the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) are bringing together residents, restoration experts, and others to talk about the importance of sediment diversions to rebuilding Louisiana’s coast for people, wildlife and the economy.

This month’s “Coastal Connections” event was hosted by VP Sporting Council member Ryan Lambert in Buras, La and brought together more than a 100 people – including Plaquemines Parish residents, sportsmen, state officials and business leaders – to learn about the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.

The event featured a presentation on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, a cornerstone of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan by CPRA diversions lead Brad Barth, followed by a boat tour of nearby Bay Denesse, where a terracing project has successfully built 2,060 acres of new land, creating highly productive habitat ranging from emergent marsh to mud flats and more. Bay Denesse mimics natural processes and is sometimes referred to as a “natural working diversion,” due to the way fresh water and sediment are delivered to the ecosystem there.

Capt. Lambert supports sediment diversions as a vital tool in the suite of restoration solutions needed to build new land in coastal Louisiana. He hosted the event at his guide business, Cajun Fishing Adventures, because he wanted to share what he sees every day: The benefits that occur when fresh water and sediment from the river nourish our wetlands to build and sustain land.

“When you actually go and see a diversion that’s working 24/7, it opens your eyes to the wildlife, bird life, and fisheries that you don’t get from just reading about it,” Lambert said at the event. “When you see it for yourself, you become a believer. I really wanted to get folks out there to see for themselves what this project has been able to do as far as building new land here in Plaquemines Parish.”

Captain Ryan Lambert

Aerial view of river water entering Bay Denesse. Photo by Jacques Hebert

Vanishing Paradise and Restore the Mississippi River Delta are hoping to plan more informational sessions like this one in the future to connect community members with CPRA to learn more about Coastal Master Plan projects and see firsthand the areas that will benefit from moving those projects forward. Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities!