Terracing Project at 40 arpent canal

An innovative terracing project is helping turn the tide for wildlife habitat in St. Bernard Parish, just outside of New Orleans. Well-known for its abundance of fish and migratory waterfowl, the area attracts hunters and anglers from near and far, as evidenced by the sportsmen traffic at multiple boat launches, bait shops and sporting goods stores along Hwy 47, aka Paris Road.

This area was heavily hit by Hurricane Katrina and still deals with impacts from the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), which affected more than one million acres of coastal habitat across the Greater New Orleans area. The region is also on the front lines of Louisiana’s ongoing land loss crisis, losing critical fish and wildlife habitat rapidly.

Fortunately, an innovative project in the Central Wetlands is helping to make a difference for wildlife habitat in St. Bernard so future generations can hunt, fish and ignite their passion for the outdoors.

Led by Ducks Unlimited, the 40 Arpent Canal Wetlands Enhancement Terracing Project will improve and enhance nearly 200 acres of degraded waterfowl habitat near the Forty Arpent Wetlands Observatory. The National Wildlife Federation is proud to partner with DU and many others* on this project, which will help protect the existing natural vegetation from erosion by knocking down wave energy while at the same time capturing sediment to sustain future land growth. This method was also used with great success in a similar terracing project at Bay Denesse – also the result of a partnership of DU, NWF and others.

In conjunction with volunteer plantings, the 40-Arpent Canal Wetlands Enhancement Terracing Project is already seeing some expected beneficial new growth to wildlife habitat, but continued restoration efforts are needed to ensure the longevity of the Central Wetlands so they may continue to support the countless waterfowl that rely on this area as wintering and stopover grounds.

“The Central Wetlands terraces are a great example of organizations partnering together to achieve real restoration where it’s desperately needed,” said Amanda Moore, senior director of NWF’s Gulf program. “This once-thriving waterfowl habitat that was ravaged by the MRGO can now support an array of birds and fish – all part of what makes this area Sportsman’s Paradise.”

Partners include Ducks Unlimited, the National Wildlife Federation, North American Wetlands Conservation Act, St. Bernard Parish Government, Meraux Foundation, James M. Cox Foundation, Yamaha Marine, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Valero. Photo courtesy of Ducks Unlimited.