About 1,000 new Cypress saplings are taking root in the Bonnet Carré spillway. The project coordinated by America’s Wetland Foundation is taking advantage of the Mississippi River silt diverted during last spring’s high water levels.
About 50 volunteers from the New Orleans Hornets organization teamed with Common Ground Relief to enhance the wetlands protecting the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. James Stram is the wetlands coordinator for Common Ground. He says the area was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina’s salt water storm surge.
“That used to be all land. As far as you can see where there are stumps was all land. And if you look close to where the water is hitting the shore, you’ll see how fast erosion is. I mean, there’s living roots that are just -- there’s no soil in them. You can see how the shape of the land – is just, it’s totally based on the wave impact.”
Volunteers fanned out in two groups to carefully plant the saplings in muddy patches about eight feet apart. Buddy Boe is project manager for America’s Wetland. He says restoration projects are under way well beyond the Gulf Coast.
“There are coastal wetlands. There’s inner wetlands. There are swamps and wetlands all over the United States – 90 percent of which are in south Louisiana. But all of them provide some form of flood protection or coastal protection – whether it’s from tidal flooding for a community or coastal flooding from an oncoming storm they all serve their own purpose. They’re all vital to protecting our communities and cultures.”
America’s Wetland Foundation is continuing its Blue Ribbon Forums throughout the Gulf Coast. Its final meeting will be at the end of May in New Orleans.