These priority restoration projects are grouped within five distinct areas across Louisiana’s coast, addressing a range of restoration priorities that complement and enhance each other.
Don’t know where each basin is? Take a look at the map below to find out more.
What’s a watershed basin?
Basins are the areas and paths where water is funneled on its way to a body of water – usually lakes, seas or oceans. In Louisiana, water in these basins ultimately flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Basins are important and they show how water gets from one place to the next.
Why should I care about basins?
Basins show how restoration projects are related and how they affect each other. Projects work in tandem to restore and maintain resiliency.
Located immediately west and south of New Orleans, the Barataria Basin is well-known destination for hunting and fishing because it is one of the nation’s most productive estuaries.
However, levees built along the Mississippi River have starved this area of sediment and fresh water. Habitats throughout the estuary are collapsing and barrier islands are rapidly eroding.
The projects chosen for this basin would support the critical need for an infusion of fresh water, sediment and nutrients to build new land and sustain and protect existing wetlands. They include:
- Mid-Barataria Diversion
- Lower Barataria Diversion
- Barataria Marsh Restoration via Sediment Conveyance Pipeline West
- Barataria Pass to Sandy Point Barrier Island Restoration
- Belle Pass to Caminada Pass Barrier Island Restoration
The Breton-Chandeleur Basin is a large open sound bordered by Mississippi River levees on the west and remnants of a barrier island chain on the east. Man-made structures have starved this area of sediment-carrying water for almost a century and the marsh edges are regularly eaten away by wave-induced erosion.
Some of the following projects for this basin would slow the rate of land loss by building new land and strengthening soils. Other projects will prolong the life of the marshes and provide habitat for fish and birds by reducing wave and tidal energy.
- Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion
- Lower Breton Sediment Diversion
- Bayou la Loutre Ridge Restoration
- Biloxi Marsh Oyster Reef Restoration
This basin, located along the coast of southwestern Louisiana, features a series of beach ridges (cheniers) that give the area structural stability. While relatively stable, this area has been significantly harmed by oil, gas and navigation canals. Those canals funnel salt water from the Gulf into freshwater marshes, leading to widespread land loss.
The following projects can increase the sustainability of the basin by reducing interior salinity levels and improving shoreline protection.
- Calcasieu Ship Channel Hydrological Modification
- Freshwater Bayou to Southwest Pass Shoreline Protection
Located north and east of New Orleans, this basin is dominated by three large lakes connected by tidal passes. The priority projects chosen for this basin would restore freshwater flows into the upper basin swamps (West Maurepas) and lower basin marshes (Central Wetlands Diversion).
These projects will also restore two critical landscape features. The first is a marsh landbridge that separates Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, preventing them from becoming a single arm of the Gulf of Mexico. The second is marshland that will help buffer the new surge barrier on the east side of Lake Borgne (Golden Triangle).
- West Maurepas Freshwater Diversion
- Central Wetlands Diversion
- Golden Triangle Marsh Creation
- New Orleans East Landbridge Restoration
The Terrebonne-Atchafalaya Basin is bordered to the east by Bayou LaFourche and to the west by the growing deltas of the Atchafalaya River. On the eastern side of the basin, wetlands are collapsing and becoming open water as the sediment-starved land sinks and salt water takes over, damaging freshwater wetlands.
The projects identified for this area focus on stabilizing the barrier island system and re-establishing a better balance of fresh and salt water, as well as sediment and nutrient distribution.
- Convey Atchafalaya River Water via the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
- Isles Dernieres Barrier Island Restoration
- Timbalier Islands Barrier Island Restoration
- Houma Navigation Canal Hydrological Modification