|HRP Completes 17th Successful Planting Season
By Kacie Wright, Habitat Restoration Coordinator
CRCL’s muddiest, and most hands-on, program has been working hard this year to get plants in the ground to restore the critical habitats of coastal Louisiana. The Habitat Restoration Program recruited 318 volunteers working across the entire coast of Louisiana to restore the wetland environments that armor our communities against the Gulf of Mexico.
We started the planting season in October with coastal forest restoration in Lake Maurepas and Braithwaite, Louisiana. This is part of an initiative that began three years ago in partnership with Restore the Earth Foundation. To date, CRCL volunteers have planted more than 17,000 native trees. We had over 200 volunteers this year who planted 2,800 bald cypress, black gum, red swamp maple, and water tupelo saplings. These new saplings are equipped with Nutria Exclusion Devices and geotags from Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to help ensure their survival and allow us to monitor their progress in the coming years.
The Habitat Restoration Program then trekked through Southwest Louisiana to restore the fragmented marsh of Freshwater Bayou in Pecan Island, LA. Over 80 volunteers came out to practice their alligator crawl, bathe in the mud, and plant 46,000 plugs of marsh grass. The dense root systems of these grasses will fill in shallow open water systems and protect the coast against wave and storm energy.
And what’s summer without the beach? Our culminating project for the 2016-2017 planting season was along the Cameron Shore. CRCL and 30 dedicated volunteers planted 7,600 plugs of native dune grass along a one mile stretch of beach in Cameron Parish. The dune grass will catch blowing sand to help build dunes. The roots will help hold sand in place providing a natural barrier to storm surge and wave energy.
CRCL’s Habit Restoration Program had a tremendous planting season in 2016-2017. We truly want to thank everyone who gave of their time to help restore our coast. In all, you planted 53,600 plugs of native marsh and dune grass and 2,800 native trees. We have another great season starting in September.
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