1,200 Acre, $151 Million Marsh Restoration Project Now Underway in Louisiana

An excavator constructs a containment dike in one of the marsh creation areas of the Upper Barataria marsh creation project. Credit: Moffatt & Nichol.

Construction recently began on the almost 1,200 acre Upper Barataria marsh creation project. NOAA is the lead implementing trustee on behalf of the Deepwater Horizon Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, and this is NOAA’s largest habitat restoration effort to date. The project will build upon previous efforts to restore wetland habitats in Louisiana. 

The project was approved by the Deepwater Horizon Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group in the Phase 2 Restoration Plan 3.3: Large-Scale Barataria Marsh Creation: Upper Barataria Component to restore habitats impacted by the 2010 oil spill. It is underway through NOAA’s strong partnership with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), who are leading Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.

This project is instrumental in restoring and creating habitat, and supporting the trustees’ goals and priorities for coastal resilience. Additionally, this project will provide more than 140 construction-related jobs, further enhancing habitat restoration’s economic benefits in the region.

Project Details

Construction, maintenance, and monitoring of the project is expected to cost up to $151 million and create up to 1,183 acres of intertidal wetlands and marsh south of The Pen in Barataria Basin. The new, healthy coastal wetland habitat will support diverse species of fish and wildlife, and help reduce impacts of future storms on other coastal resources and communities.

The construction process will fill target areas with approximately 8.4 million cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Mississippi River and pumped through pipelines over 13 miles. That’s almost enough sediment to fill two Superdome stadiums! 

Louisiana and the Barataria Basin are in the midst of a land loss crisis. The Basin has lost more than 276,000 acres of land since the 1930s. Wetlands in the Basin were the most heavily impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which accelerated a severe land loss trend threatening Louisiana’s estuaries. The oil spill and response activities also significantly increased the rate of wetland loss in the area.

The contractor, Weeks Marine, Inc., began preparing the site in late 2021. The project will have one construction phase to maximize cost effectiveness and take approximately 26 months to complete.

Stay Tuned for More Announcements

As part of a virtual launch in early summer 2022, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group will share more information and updates. In the meantime, more information on the Upper Barataria marsh creation project can be found via the Louisiana Restoration Area section of the Deepwater Horizon Trustee website. 

Information about other projects in Louisiana, can be found through the interactive Gulf Spill Restoration Projects map