The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has approved the Final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #5: Living Coastal and Marine Resources – Marine Mammals and Oysters (PDF, 243 pages).
We released the draft restoration plan in March 2020 and accepted public comment through April 20, 2020. This final plan will replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources (specifically, oysters and marine mammals) in the Louisiana Restoration Area. One project approved in the plan will focus on increasing capacity to respond to marine mammal strandings, and the other three will focus on oyster restoration in the Louisiana Restoration Area.
Marine Mammal Project
The marine mammal project will increase capacity and expand partnerships along the Louisiana coastline for marine mammal stranding response.
- Increased capacity will lead to improved rapid response to injured and dead dolphins and whales, and a better understanding of the causes of injury and/or death.
- A Louisiana-based stranding coordinator will build partnerships and conduct outreach for the project.
- Finally, the project will provide infrastructure, equipment, and supplies needed for stranding and rehabilitation.
- Estimated cost of this project is $3,095,628.
This project will be led by NOAA in partnership with other federal and state trustees and stakeholders.
A network of oyster reefs will be constructed to increase spawning oyster populations.
- This project will be done in two phases, the first includes construction of two reefs in the Lake Machais/Mozambique Point area and two in the Petit Pass/Bay Boudreaux area, each up to 10 acres in size and 1.2 m from bottom.
- The second phase will identify and construct additional spawning stock reefs in areas of Louisiana public oyster grounds with suitable conditions for oyster propagation but larval supplies are low.
- All constructed reefs from this project would be closed to harvest, but located near harvesting areas to promote habitat connectivity.
- Estimated cost of this project is $9,701,447.
Oyster reefs will be created through placement of limestone cultch material.
- Material will be placed in two locations, the first is a 200-acre site in the Grand Banks area of Mississippi Sound.
- The second location is at an 200-acre site in Caillou Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation.
- We’ll also identify and construct additional reefs in areas of Louisiana public oyster grounds with suitable conditions for oyster propagation but lack sufficient substrate for oyster populations to expand.
- Harvest at these sites will be closed until performance criteria are met.
- Estimated cost of this project is $10,070,000.
The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group will provide funding to support operations at the Michael C. Voisin Oyster Hatchery in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
- Project activities include production, deployment, and monitoring of hatchery-produced oysters onto established reefs within Louisiana’s public oyster areas that are low-producing or in need of rehabilitation.
- The hatchery estimates production of at least 500 million oyster larvae per year.
- A minimum of 25 percent of the oyster larvae produced would be dedicated for oyster restoration activities in protected areas.
- Estimated cost of this project is $5,850,000.
All three oyster projects will be led by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries in partnership with federal and state trustees and private contractors. The total $25,621,447 funding proposed for implementation of oyster restoration under the trustees' preferred alternatives represents a commitment of all remaining available funding for oyster restoration in the Louisiana Restoration Area.