To correct the historic loss of marsh and cypress swamp in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, our parent company, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock (GLDD) and Restoration Systems (RS), an environmental mitigation and wetland restoration company, collaborated to construct Louisiana’s first privately financed river-dredged marsh Mitigation Bank.
The key process in this project is dredging. For nearly a century, the federal levee system along the banks of the Mississippi River has prevented sediments from building new land in Louisiana’s Deltaic Plain. According to Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan, the most ecologically appropriate and sustainable process for land building in this region is dredging existing deposits of sediment located within the river and placing it in strategic locations that have converted to from marsh to “open water”.
The teams met these criteria and were recognized in favorable television, print and radio coverage in recent months. The project is a 318-acre former marsh and cypress-tupelo swamp which was converted to open water and is located outside both the Mississippi River levee and the newly constructed federal hurricane protection levee system. Through GLDD and RS’ 2015-2016 efforts, 247.7 acres have been enhanced and restored into healthy, fresh-to-intermediate marsh and an existing 43-acre cypress swamp, which is home to an active Bald Eagle nest and a major roost for anhinga and blue herons, is further protected from erosion and restored to its natural condition.
The restoration process consisted of converting the 3’ foot deep open water site into freshwater marsh utilizing sediments from the Mississippi River. Through dredging, 1.32 million cubic yards of material was excavated from 45’ to 90’ below the Mississippi River surface and transported five miles to the fill site. Once deposited on site, the sediments were graded to the proper elevation to achieve strict regulatory standards. Over 200,000 individual plugs of native marsh grass were planted once final grading was complete.
The Jesuit Bend Mitigation Bank will provide compensatory mitigation credits for unavoidable fresh-intermediate marsh impacts across the Deltaic Plain of Coastal Louisiana.
The Jesuit Bend timeline will span to 2024 and beyond. In 2016, Phase One – Construction Process was completed. By 2018 and 2023, year three and seven monitoring will be completed. From 2024 and beyond, the bank will be carefully watched by a long-term steward. A Conservation Servitude held by the Mississippi River Trust will permanently protect the bank in perpetuity.
To restore your local water bodies, get in touch with us to learn more about dredging.