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Gov. Edwards outlines project to restore barrier islands

Posted at 4:05 PM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 17:05:20-04

Governor Edwards outlined today the details of a $160 million project to restore and nourish two barrier islands and one headland on the southern perimeter of the Terrebonne Basin.

Weeks Marine won the construction bid; the company is headquartered in Covington. Dredging is expected to begin in early 2020 and is projected to take approximately two years to complete.

9.2 million cubic yards of sand will be dredged from the Gulf 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 is fully funding the project.

Gov. Edwards explained why this project is so important: "Sustaining our barrier islands is a vital component of coastal protection. They protect interior wetland systems. They stand in front of our protection systems. And they are positioned in front of our communities. Each of these layers must work together to provide holistic storm protection...the communities of Terrebonne and Lafourche have dedicated themselves to building a protection system, so we are ensuring that this larger network of restoration and protection can work together synergistically."

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 the surrounding 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. This headland will help protect Port Fourchon and the vital Highway 1 roadway.

Approximately 200 acres of beach habitat will be restored.