The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Technical Committee selected the Reggio Marsh Creation and Hydrologic Restoration (RMCHC) project as one of its Project Priority List (PPL) programs earlier this month. Meraux Foundation Coastal and Environmental Program Director Blaise Pezold helped design the $15-20 million project with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The RMCHC will create and nourish 483 acres of emergent marsh in front of the Terre aux Boeuf Ridge in Reggio.
According to the U.S. EPA, St. Bernard Parish may experience some of the highest rates of wetland loss over the next 50 years without any action being taken. It could lose an additional 237 sq. miles. To put that in perspective, that is 72 percent of the parish land area. These losses are due to a variety of factors, including subsidence, saltwater intrusion, and storm damage. Hurricane Katrina devastated the area resulting in substantial marsh loss, which has exposed much of the area to open water conditions.
In November 2019, the Meraux Foundation hosted the third annual CWPPRA Land Owners meeting for region 1 and 2 at Docville Farm, and the Reggio project was discussed. Pezold says these annual workshops “bring together a variety of stakeholders, including Federal and State partners in CWPPRA, landowners, parish officials, and Non-Governmental Organizations to review new project proposals and brainstorm about future projects.”
“In January we pitch our projects, and they are voted on that spring. The projects that advanced are given a thorough environmental review, and December is the final vote,” he said.
“Frank and open dialogue built great working relationships that lead to the Reggio Marsh Creation and Hydrologic Restoration project, and we’re so excited to see these meetings pay dividends,” said Pezold.
“The Meraux Foundation is proud to partner with other organizations, and landowners to design and advance these important projects that will help protect our communities across Southeast Louisiana,” said Meraux Foundation Board Member Bill Haines.