The Biloxi Marsh Stabilization and Restoration Plan
The Biloxi Marsh estuary is a 210,000 acre network of coastal wetlands located approximately 30 miles southeast of the City of New Orleans between Chandeleur Sound and Lake Borgne.
This estuary serves as a primary wave and storm surge barrier protecting the City of New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. It is also a unique and productive ecosystem that provides day-to-day benefits for the human and natural environment, including mineral exploration.
This critical real estate has suffered significant degradation from the unintended effects of two major engineering projects: the Mississippi River levees, which prevented annual over bank flooding, and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO).
Despite these negative impacts, the Biloxi Marsh estuary is geologically stable
compared to other delta complexes, and therefore, restoration efforts focused in this region would have a positive impact over a longer period of time.
The cornerstone of this plan revolves around construction of a massive freshwater diversion project aimed at restoring historic hydrology and the natural flora that affords additional protection to the area.
The ultimate goal of this plan is to reverse the role of the root causes that changed the hydrology of this valuable ecosystem by transforming these root causes into restoration projects that will restore protection and ecological function to six (6) specific Zones within the Biloxi Marsh estuary.
• Restoration Zone 1 – Chandeleur Islands
• Restoration Zone 2 – Northeastern Outlying Islands
• Restoration Zone 3 – Lower Biloxi Marsh below Bayou LaLoutre Ridge
• Restoration Zone 4 – Marsh located below the MRGO
• Restoration Zone 5 – Upper Biloxi Marsh above Bayou LaLoutre Ridge
• Restoration Zone 6 – Bayou LaLoutre Ridge
To accomplish this goal, this plan employs a regional approach to sustainability by incorporating synergistic projects that will achieve six specific goals:
• Enhance the hurricane buffer for populated areas
• Reduce land loss
• Enhance existing habitats
• Restore deteriorated wetlands and habitats
• Create a sustainable ecosystem
• Rebuild the natural, functioning ecosystem to conditions as they existed prior to construction of the manmade engineering projects which caused their degradation.
Unlike past coastal restoration projects, this plan will not employ a piecemeal approach in its search for a solution. Individual restoration techniques such as shoreline protection, vegetative plantings, water control structures, marsh terraces, and marsh creation as well as construction costs will be addressed within the plan. Completion and maintenance of these projects is expected to rebuild a sustainable ecosystem similar to that which existed prior to the construction of levees and the MRGO as well as provide protection to New Orleans and surrounding parishes.
This plan was created through a collaborative effort by the following participants and funded solely by the Biloxi Marsh Lands Corporation and Lake Eugenie Land and Development, Inc.; owners of approximately 150,000 acres of the
Kenneth J. King, Randy C. Landry
T. Baker Smith, Inc.
George McMahon, PhD., John Ellis
Arcadis G & M, Inc.
Randy Moertle and Associates, Inc.
Shea Penland, PhD.
Director and Professor Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences
Chair and Professor Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNO
Denise J. Reed, PhD.
Professor, University of New Orleans
Adjunct, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium & LSU
William B. Rudolf
President and CEO
Biloxi Marsh Lands Corporation
Joseph N. Suhayda, PhD.
Director, Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute, LSU (retired)
Coastal Oceanographic Consultant