Federal Dollars at Work

Breaux Act: History

Funding at Work

Timbalier Island

Timbalier Island is a barrier island in the southern extent of Terrebonne bay in Terrebonne parish. It is an important economic resource for the marine fishing industry of Louisiana. Its back marshes provide habitat for countless mollusks, shellfish, and fish species. The waters around Timbalier island are particularly noted for the speckled trout and it is said that they are the most productive in all of the Gulf, compared to all other places combined (jerrylabella.com, 2003)!


East Timbalier


Timbalier in relation to LA



The Breaux Act task force has been granted funding for four restoration projects focused on Timbalier Island since 1991. Aside from one project which focused solely on marsh grass plantings and sand dune fences they have all been projects that involve the deposit of dredged sediment in the hopes that land would be created and stabilized between the East and West halves of Timbalier. The first project (TE-18), was a demonstrative planting and sand fence construction. Because of several hurricanes, tropical storms and severe weather events that disturbed the project it was deemed unsuccessful by the monitoring committee in their final progress report. They cited their opinion, "the only way to maintain a vegetated dune on Louisiana's barrier islands is through the maintenance of a beach wide enough to dissipate wave energies" (Clark et. al, 2000). The second and third projects on Timbalier Island (TE-25 & TE-30) were both completed in 2000 and were both phases in a large dredging and sediment pumping operation. Aside from a combined use of 2.8 million cubic yards of material phase one and phase two of the joint project involved at least one more restoration strategy, plantings and sand fence and an offshore rubble mound to serve as breakwaters respectively. These two projects are both being called successful.
Another dredging project on Timbalier Island (TE-40), is also shaping up to be a large successes as a result of positive criticism and experience from the previous projects. It involves the creation of more land, between the two halves and behind (on the bay side) the island in the form of marsh. Along with the production of beaches and marsh land through the addition of three million more cubic yards of sand the project also allows for more plantings and more dune fencing. Approved in 2000, TE-40 was delayed by a single land owner who objected to the construction, and again in 2001 by several hurricanes. Eventually the project proceeded and was recently completed in January of 2005. Reportedly it was a great success by creating some eleven-thousand feet of shoreline at a width of around 1500 feet. Although there will be no official evaluation of the projects ability to meet objectives until 2007, USEPA and LADNR officials are “almost giddy” (Wold, 2005).


Isles Dernieres

Isle Dernieres was once a single barrier island, in 1856 a hurricane changed all that and made the land mass change into five smaller islands, East, Trinity, Whiskey, Raccoon, and Wine (LACoast, 1998). Because of its relative size there has been no priority projects proposed to date focusing on Wine Island and the bulk of the projects focus on Whisky Island and Raccoon Island. Whisky Island is already considered a wildlife refuge and bird sanctuary by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (Dunne, 1998), probably for its large population of brown pelicans. The Louisiana state bird that is now on the rebound from near extinction.

Brown Pelican


Isles Derneires


Early on, in 1997 engineers completed a project on Raccoon Island (TE-29). They created breakwater structures in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Raccoon Island, or as I like to think of it, they created barrier islands for the barrier islands. These breakwaters were successful in trapping sediment and creating land (Progress Report 1, 1999). However, to much causation was put on the breakwaters and when barrier island expert Orrin Pilkey visited he concluded that there were complex external factors responsible for the land creation stating, "it would be a terrible mistake to say these things are working. You need more study" (Dunne, 1999).

Raccoon Island before Raccoon Island after


Before and after pictures of Raccoon island and the constructed breakwaters.


Following the assessment of the breakwaters project and the successes of the Timbalier Island dredging projects it was determined that another land creation operation should take place on Racoon Island (TE-48). This project will involve dredged material depositing, planting of native marsh grass and the construction of dune fencing, it is currently in construction.  

Whiskey Island



There has been recent focus on Whiskey Islands and recently there have been two projects approved that are still in the engineering and design phases (TE-47 & TE-50). The single project that has been completed on Whisky island (TE-27) was a joint dredging, planting, dune fence project and there are no publicly available progress reports on it to date. This projects dredged material was deposited in the back bay marsh portion of the island and not on the frontal beach section. There was a portion of the frontal area where they deposited sand and that is where the gulf had breached the island and had penetrated to the back bay. It would be nice to see if further study shows this to be a worthwhile restoration strategy.


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