BTNEP prepares Shell volunteers to plant 400 trees on the Fourchon Maritime Ridge.
BTNEP prepares Shell volunteers to plant 400 trees on the Fourchon Maritime Ridge.

On April 21, 2017, 16 volunteers from Shell Oil Company (Shell) joined Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) to take part in a wetlands planting project on the Fourchon Maritime Ridge and Marsh north of Port Fourchon.  The goal of the project is to create sustainable ridge and marsh habitat located along the Bayou Cochon area.  The group planted 400 native woody species and herbaceous plants to help make the area more resilient to storms and flooding and create habitat for birds that migrate between the Gulf Coast and South America.

"These ridges are like islands in a sea of salt marsh providing critical habitat for the Neotropical migratory birds on their long journeys each spring and fall," said Matt Benoit, BTNEP Habitat Restoration Coordinator.  “In Louisiana’s 2017 Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Master Plan for Coastal Restoration project types such as ridge restoration and marsh creation play a critical part in not only creating new land but in providing another line of defense protecting local communities from waves and storms.”

For decades, Port Fourchon and Southeast Louisiana have played important roles in Shell’s Deep Water Gulf of Mexico heartland. This symbiotic relationship took center stage for all who helped with the project. In addition to providing sweat equity to the project, volunteers were shown a presentation about the upcoming Port Fourchon-Mars Pipeline Wetlands Project, and given a tour of existing port facilities and activities.

On April 21, 2017, 16 volunteers from Shell Oil Company (Shell) joined Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) to take part in a wetlands planting project on the Fourchon Maritime Ridge and Marsh north of Port Fourchon.  The goal of the project is to create sustainable ridge and marsh habitat located along the Bayou Cochon area.  The group planted 400 native woody species and herbaceous plants to help make the area more resilient to storms and flooding and create habitat for birds that migrate between the Gulf Coast and South America.

"These ridges are like islands in a sea of salt marsh providing critical habitat for the Neotropical migratory birds on their long journeys each spring and fall," said Matt Benoit, BTNEP Habitat Restoration Coordinator.  “In Louisiana’s 2017 Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Master Plan for Coastal Restoration project types such as ridge restoration and marsh creation play a critical part in not only creating new land but in providing another line of defense protecting local communities from waves and storms.”

For decades, Port Fourchon and Southeast Louisiana have played important roles in Shell’s Deep Water Gulf of Mexico heartland. This symbiotic relationship took center stage for all who helped with the project. In addition to providing sweat equity to the project, volunteers were shown a presentation about the upcoming Port Fourchon-Mars Pipeline Wetlands Project, and given a tour of existing port facilities and activities.

In 2016, Shell and BTNEP came together to form the SMART program to benefit the Barataria-Terrebonne estuarine complex that encompasses 4.2 million acres of coastal wetlands, lands and communities between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Basins in southeast Louisiana. Funded by a contribution from Shell, the SMART program plants native trees and herbaceous plants grown at Nicholls State University Farm in Thibodaux, LA, on newly created ridges and surrounding marshes in lower Lafourche and Plaquemines Parishes. SMART also creates local and national volunteer opportunities to the public.

The BTNEP SMART program aligns with Shell’s conservation strategy, partnering locally to preserve and protect the environment in Louisiana. Our support will help sustain and enhance the ecological and economic resilience of the “working coast of Louisiana. It will also help protect the livelihoods of coastal communities and preserve cultural heritage where Shell staff live and work.

To learn more about BTNEP, please visit this link

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