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YEAR 2002 - CRP Project #1002 (Gulf of Mexico)

Project #1002
Beach Stabilization & Vegetative Restoration
on Breton Island NWR

Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana

Project name:#1002 Beach Stabilization and Vegetative Restoration on Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge
Project status: Complete
Grant Administrator: Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)
Grantee: US Fish & Wildlife Service
Project location: Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana
Grant period: June 1, 2021 - May 30, 2021 (extended to Aug 31, 2021)
Grant amount: $30,130
Project leaders: Elizabeth Souheaver and Nancy Walters
                          USFWS Southeast Louisiana Refuges
                          61389 Hwy 434
                          Lancombe, LA 70445
                          (985) 882-2000 phone
                          (985) 882-9133 fax

Project site map - click to enlarge
Project site map (Breton Island) - click to enlarge

Habitat: The dominant vegetation on Breton NWR consists of shrubs such as black mangrove, groundsel bush and wax myrtle. Succulent species such as glasswort are found on the sandy flats, while the back barrier marshes comprise mostly wire grass and oyster grass. Shallow bay waters around the islands support beds of manatee grass, shoal grass, turtle grass, and widgeon grass.

Species Benefiting from Restoration: Breton NWR provides habitat for colonies of nesting wading birds and seabirds, as well as wintering shorebirds and waterfowl. Twenty-three species of seabirds and shorebirds frequently use the refuge, and 13 species nest on the various islands. The most abundant nesters are brown pelicans, black skimmers, laughing gulls, and royal, Caspian and sandwich terns. Waterfowl winter near the refuge islands and use the adjacent shallows, marshes and sounds for feeding and for protection during inclement weather. Redheads and lesser scaup account for the majority of waterfowl use. Other wildlife species found on the refuge include nutria, rabbits, raccoons, and loggerhead sea turtles.

Acreage Restored: 2.8 acres of beach and marsh on Breton Island.

Rationale for Project: Breton Island is the second oldest National Wildlife Refuge, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. The objectives of the refuge are to 1) provide sanctuary for nesting and wintering seabirds; 2) protect and preserve the wilderness character of the island; and 3) provide sandy beach habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Not only does this project contribute to those objectives, but also is an important measure ensuring the existence and health of the refuge for future generations. In addition to the refuge objectives, restoration of barrier islands was outlined in the Louisiana Coast 2050 Plan as a priority measure ensuring the health and vitality of the Louisiana coastal marshes.

Project Objectives:

  1. Stabilize existing beach and create sand dunes using sand fencing
  2. Restore beach vegetation on existing and recently created beach and sand dunes
  3. Accrete and stabilize back marshes and subtidal zones through sediment trapping by planting salt marsh vegetation
  4. Educate and provide factual and scientific information on barrier island ecology and restoration

Breton Island in 1999, before hurricane damage.

Breton Island in 2001, after hurricane damage.

Click on photo to enlarge



March 2004, sand fences on Breton Island - click to enlarge
March 2004 - Eight months after construction of over 2,000 sand fences on Breton Island, vegetation planted by volunteers flourishes in deep sand dunes.

Sept 2004, Post Hurricane Ivan - click to enlarge
September 2004 - Due to Hurricane Ivan, much of Breton Island was swept away. Project leaders are in the process of evaluating damage to fences and plantings. Photo: Rusty Gaude

Volunteer work on sand fence - click to enlarge
4-H volunteer puts finishing touches on sand fence.

Volunteers transplant plants - click to enlarge
Volunteers transplant sea oats
near sand fences on island.

Project leader Nancy Walters uses a laser level to conduct elevation surveys to determine accretion or subsidence of sand as a result of fences installed.

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NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

US Fish & Wildlife Breton NWR

National Wildlife Refuge System

GulfBase: Breton Island project

Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free - (361) 882-3939 phone - (361) 882-1262 fax
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