Louisiana Announces $160 Million Project to Restore Two Barrier Islands

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced a $160 million project to restore and nourish two barrier islands and one headland on the southern perimeter of the Terrebonne Basin in Louisiana.

Weeks Marine, with a branch headquarters in Covington, won the construction bid. Dredging is expected to begin in early 2020 and is projected to take approximately two years to complete.

Approximately 9.2 million cubic yards of sand will be dredged from the Gulf of Mexico to create 1,110 acres of beach, dune and marsh habitat on portions of Trinity-East Island, Timbalier Island and the West Belle Pass Headland.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is fully funding the project. As part of plea agreements approved by a U.S. District Court, NFWF is charged with administering more than $2.5 billion from BP and Transocean to fund projects benefiting the natural resources of the Gulf Coast impacted by the spill.

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Restoration of the Terrebonne Basin barrier shoreline will provide a buffer to reduce the full force and effects of wave action, provide marsh to capture sediment washing over the islands, and reduce saltwater intrusion, storm surge and tidal currents on adjacent estuaries and wetlands. Endangered and threatened species will also benefit from habitat restoration.

The West Belle Pass Headland project extends and replenishes approximately 500 acres of beach, dune and marsh, while extending a sand spit from an earlier project. This headland will help protect Port Fourchon and the vital Highway 1 roadway.

The Timbalier Island restoration extends along the eastern portion of the island and includes the construction of beach and marsh components for a total of approximately 400 acres.

The restoration of Trinity-East Island includes a 1,000-foot wide beach on the west end of the island, which will be fronted by existing dune habitat. Older manmade canals in the central portion of the island will be filled in to prevent breaches threatening to split the island. Approximately 200 acres of beach habitat will be restored.