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YEAR 2010 - CRP Project #9002 (Gulf of Mexico)

Project #9002
Elmer’s Island Dune & Beach Community Restoration

Elmer’s Island, Louisiana

Elmers Island project location map
Elmers Island project location map

Project name:   Elmer’s Island Dune & Beach Community Restoration  
Project number:   9002  
Project status:   Cancelled  
Grant Administrator:   Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)  
Grantee:   Nicholls State University  
Project location:   Elmer’s Island, Jefferson Parish, LA  
Grant period:   Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2020  
Grant amount:   $51,912  
Land Ownership:   State of Louisiana, Department of Wildlife & Fisheries  
Lat/Long:   Western end (29°10’53.16”N, 90°03’50.57”W)
Eastern end (29°11’26.41”N, 90°02’57.84”W)
Types of Habitat:   Beach, dunes, and “back-bay” Spartina spp. and black mangrove Avicennia germinans marsh habitat  
Project leader:   Allyse Ferrara, Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
114 Gouaux Hall, Nicholls State University
Thibodaux, LA 70310

Species Benefiting From Restoration:
   • Blue crab Callinectes sapidus
   • Brown shrimp Farfantepenaeus aztecus
   • White shrimp Litopenaeus setiferus
   • Atlantic croaker Micropogonias undulates
   • Black drum Pogonias cromis
   • Bluefish Pomatomus saltatrix
   • Gulf menhaden Brevoortia patronus
   • Red drum Sciaenops ocellatus
   • Spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus
   • Southern flounder Paralichthys lethostigma
   • Striped mullet Mugil cephalus
   • Atlantic bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncates
   • Loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta
   • Leatherback sea turtles Dermochelys coriacea
   • Black mangrove Avicennia germinans
   • Smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora
   • Marshhay cordgrass Spartina patens
   • Bitter panicum Panicum amarum
   • Railroad vine Ipomoea pes-caprae
   • Gulf bluestem Schizachyrium maritimum

Acres of Habitat To be Restored:
89 acres of beach and dune directly restored; 800 acres of beach, marsh and mangrove habitat to benefit.

Project Summary:
Our project site is located on Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson Parish in southeast Louisiana, approximately 15 km northeast of Port Fourchon. The project site is located on a strip of beach that separates back bay and marsh habitat from the Gulf of Mexico. The project site is now beach habitat that was historically located further into the Gulf of Mexico (previously known as the “Caminda Spit”) but has now retreated further inland. The Elmer’s Island site has similar physical characteristics and vulnerabilities when compared to Bay Champagne/Fourchon Beach, the location of our small-scale 2008 dune restoration project that was funded by GOMF. Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge is one of the few beach habitats in southeastern Louisiana and is a popular fishing, swimming, bird watching, boating, and picnic location. The refuge is managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and is open to the public during daylight hours. Elmer’s Island is similar to Bay Champagne/Fourchon beach and is subject to over-wash during high tides and tropical storms. Based on the results of the small-scale Bay Champagne/Fourchon Beach project we are proposing to install sand fence (with and without filter tubes; in triplicate) along the eastern end of Elmer’s Island to protect unique and important beach and marsh habitats and to rebuild dunes. Following the installation of sand fencing and filter tubes, the site will be planted with native vegetation.

Project Objectives:
We propose to restore dune and beach habitat between Elmer’s Island back bay habitats on the eastern end of the refuge and the Gulf using sand fencing, bagasse-filled filter tubes, and native plant materials. For the proposed project our objectives are:

  1. To install three randomly assigned replicates each of sand fence with and without filter tubes (treatment and control) on the eastern end of Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge
  2. To monitor and compare sand accretion between the treatment (sand fence with filter tubes) and control (sand fence alone) replicates
  3. To plant the project area with native vegetation
  4. To monitor and compare plant survival between the sand fence treatment and control.

Community Involvement:
Project installation and monitoring will involve students, faculty, staff, and parents from the private primary and secondary school, L’Ecole Cabanocey, and Nicholls State University. L’Ecole Cabanocey students will participate in the project installation and monitoring. NSU undergraduate and graduate students will assist with the installation and monitoring. As with many of our previous restoration and marine debris removal projects, we will involve students and volunteers from the NSU Biology Society and NSU GREEN student organizations. Project volunteers will also include members of America’s Wetland Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps, LSU AgCenter, and local, state, and federal agency personnel. We anticipate that this project will include the involvement of approximately 100 volunteers, which will help to produce plant materials, install sand fence, and plant dunes on Elmer’s Island. All volunteers will learn about the importance of beach and dune habitats for fish, wildlife, and storm surge protection for interior marshes and human infrastructure such as roads, camps, homes, and industry. Each volunteer will be taught proper planting, sand fence, and filter tube installation techniques.

Click on plan to enlarge

Beach view of proposed installation
Beach view of proposed installation

Planting layout for proposed installation
Planting layout for proposed installation

Proposed layout for 2010 installation of sand fencing and filter tubes

Plans by Nicholls State University

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NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

L’Ecole Cabanocey

Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program


America’s Wetland Conservation Corps

NSU Biology Society

Natural Resource Conservation Society

Bayou Land RC&D

LSU AgCenter

Louisiana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society

Reef Innovations

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