Habitat Degradation of the LaBranche Wetlands and an Approach to its Restoration

by Allan B. Ensminger, Wetlands and Wildlife Management Co, DeRidder, United States,
Gretchen Binet, Wetlands and Wildlife Management Co, DeRidder, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


Considered the most productive wetlands within the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, the LaBranche Wetlands south of Lake Pontchartrain consists of over 18,000 acres of brackish to fresh marsh and forested swamp. Between 1970 and 1980, one-fourth of the LaBranche Wetlands habitat was lost to saltwater intrusion, natural subsidence, channelization, biological impacts, and shoreline erosion. In 1985, a comprehensive marsh management plan was developed for the 12,460 acres of the LaBranche Wetlands owned and managed by the St. Charles Land Syndicate. A Coastal Use Permit was obtained from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources in February 1987 and a Section 404 Permit was received from the US Army Corps of Engineers in May 1988. Structural modifications that plug or regulate water flow through man-made canals has greatly improved LaBranche's habitat for both fisheries and waterfowl production, has halted saltwater intrusion in the area and has increased the land to water ration within the entire complex.

Subject Headings: Chemical degradation | Wetlands (fresh water) | Ecological restoration | Lakes | Permits | Salt water intrusion | Wetlands (coastal) | Basins | Louisiana | United States

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