CRCL is working to develop an approach to scoring Louisiana’s implementation of restoration. The Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority (CPRA) of Louisiana has formulated a Master Plan for flood protection and restoration of coastal Louisiana. The first version was published in 2007, with revisions every 5 years since. With 109 projects in the current addition (2012), it is paramount to monitor the success of not only the projects being built, but also the actual implementation of these restoration projects. Are projects moving forward at a pace that will lead to the goal of no net land loss? To try and assess this, CRCL is developing a metric for scoring the state of Louisiana in meeting its commitments to implementing restoration, including those in the 2017 Master Plan.

Barrier island creation

In conjunction with CRCL’s Habitat Restoration Program, the Science Program is establishing monitoring plots for all of CRCL’s marsh, swamp, and dune plantings. CRCL leads roughly 10 plantings throughout the year along the coast of Louisiana in a variety of habitats, from Cameron beach dune plantings to Caernarvon swamp tree plantings. By monitoring the survival rate of the plants together with environmental variables such as elevation, water level, salinity, and soil strength, we will increase the success of our plantings. Because of the extensive number of plantings we conduct in a variety of habitats, the results of this large dataset can be used to inform planting restoration strategies by other organizations in coastal environments.

In addition to our plantings, CRCL will also monitor the newly established oyster reef that has been placed in St. Bernard parish this fall. We will collect data on shoreline erosion rates, wave energy, turbidity, and species’ habitat utilization to quantify the benefits of building living shorelines along the Louisiana coast.

Big Branch marsh after a CRCL lead planting.
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