The Land Trust for Louisiana is working with private landowners in Lake St. Catherine to secure and restore key marshlands across the New Orleans Land Bridge (NOLB), an important hurricane evacuation route. These wetlands provide important habitat for many fish and wildlife species, including the endangered Gulf sturgeon and manatee. They also serve as a critical barrier to storm surge that enters Lake Pontchartrain during hurricanes and other storm events.
Without the New Orleans Land Bridge, communities around Lake Pontchartrain are increasingly vulnerable to flooding and property loss. Our goal is to secure permanent protection on private lands across the land bridge and to work collaboratively with the community and public partners to restore marsh on interior ponds that have been created by storm events in the past decades. NOLB wetlands exist on a fairly stable platform and are experiencing a lower rate of erosion than many coastal wetlands in Louisiana. But tropical storms and hurricanes including Hurricane Katrina which passed 8 miles to the east of the project footprint, have converted approximately 70 acres of interior marsh to open water on NOLB.
Recognized as a critical piece of the state’s restoration puzzle, the NOLB has been the focus of many planning and coastal restoration efforts. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Authority recently recognized the NOLB as a high priority for funding (PO 169). LTL and the Lake Catherine Civic Association worked closely with USFWS and CPRA, co-leads on this project, to ensure that our properties are restored with this funding. During implementation, a small dredge operation will be employed to restore 16 acres that have opened up on land we hold in easement. Interior ponds are ubiquitous around Lake Catherine, growing, and increasing the area’s vulnerability. Using a small dredge to fill these isolated areas is a less costly and more efficient complement to larger scale marsh restoration projects currently being designed by our state and federal partners