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Title: Use of Segmented Breakwaters to Control Erosion and Prolong the Benefits Of Existing And Future Restoration Projects in Coastal Louisiana
Resolution #: 05B, 2010
Date Proposed: 2/28/2010
WHEREAS, with hundreds of miles of coastline and thousands of square miles of fragile low lying coastal wetlands that are important to both the state and nation’s economy, Louisiana is more at-risk to the effects of rising sea levels, erosion, violent tropical storms, etc. than most other states, and

WHEREAS, Louisiana’s barrier islands and headlands are the frontline of defense to often extreme wave action and have been greatly reduced in size and elevation over time due to such erosive forces, and

WHEREAS, fragile coastal wetlands depend on these headlands and barrier islands for protection, and

WHEREAS, significant economic benefits of Louisiana’s at-risk low lying coastal wetlands are derived from the productivity of fish and wildlife habitats and the commercial and recreational use of their dependent natural resources, and

WHEREAS, it has been demonstrated that segmented breakwaters on a barrier island (Raccoon Island) and headland (Holly Beach) have reduced erosion, and on Raccoon Island have actually promoted the accumulation of sediment gulfward, and

WHEREAS, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on barrier island restoration using material that is dredged from borrow sources and hydraulically pumped to the restoration site, yet much of this material has since been lost to the system due to normal erosive process and the increasing number of storms in recent years; additional measures such as segmented breakwaters would increase the longevity and therefore benefits of these projects by reducing erosion, and

WHEREAS, modeling efforts using such models as the IWR, as in the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA)-authorized Terrebonne Basin Barrier Shoreline Project, do not rank breakwaters high in cost effectiveness primarily due to the inability to adequately quantify the benefits of these structures over time, and

WHEREAS, breakwaters are beneficial for many marine fisheries species in that they provide artificial reef habitat as well as have the ability to protect and prolong the existence of valuable colonial waterbird nesting areas, and

WHEREAS, there is some resistance to the use of hard structures in coastal Louisiana due to the possibility that they may become future navigation hazards when and if land erodes around them, and

WHEREAS, should breakwaters be stranded due to persistent erosion landward, thus presenting navigation hazards, the rocks could be removed and used elsewhere as needed or material could simply be pumped behind them to restore the island, and the breakwaters once again would provide erosion control.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) commends the state of Louisiana, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and Governor Bobby Jindal for their dedication to coastal restoration.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the LWF, for the intended purpose of reducing Louisiana’s coastal land loss and providing additional protection and longevity to vital areas, does hereby urge and request the CPRA to establish specific goals for inclusion of breakwaters as a feasible and justifiable restoration tool and that Governor Jindal consider issuing an executive order directing such action.

Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in convention assembled, February 28, 2010 at Cypress Bend Resort, Many, Louisiana.

Submitted By: Louisiana Association of Professional Biologists and Rapides Wildlife Association
LWF Committee: Habitat Conservation and Management

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