On July 6, NOAA, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and other partners released 21 baby terrapins on Chenier Ronquille barrier island. We restored the island using early restoration funding received after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The restoration at Chenier Ronquille was part of a larger effort to restore four barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana. Construction began in February 2016. That summer, our contractor discovered terrapin nests on the island. We worked with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and volunteers to carefully move the nests. The terrapins hatched in August 2016 and have been growing stronger ever since—finally, they were ready to go back home.
Diamondback terrapins are a “species of greatest conservation need” in Louisiana. They were released into the marsh, where they are able to swim, eat, and hide from predators. The 21 terrapins released today will reach maturity in another few years. We marked the turtles and will track their progress as they grow, breed, and move to other barrier islands.
As part of the restoration, we created more than 400 acres of habitat by dredging sediment from the Gulf of Mexico. Barrier islands like Chenier Ronquille provide habitat for terrapins, birds, and other wildlife. They also serve as the coast’s first line of protection against storms.