Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program
Barge DM932 Fuel Oil Spill
United States of America
Habitat Enhancement; Recreation
Affected DOI Resources:
The Woodlands Acquisition, Management, and Recreational Enhancement Project involves the acquisition of approximately 650 acres in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, along with management and recreational enhancements on the property. The property is located southeast of New Orleans, just south of English Turn and southeast of Algiers. The property encompasses contiguous bottomland hardwood (BLH) forest and swamp connected to public land owned by the federal government and adjacent to the City of New Orleans Wilderness Park. Per the final Consent Decree, the Responsible Party purchased and donated the property from Plaquemines Parish to Woodlands Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust organization. The property will be preserved and protected under a series of ordinances and Cooperative Endeavor Agreements.
Woodlands Conservancy has managed this property for over a decade, conducting ongoing assessment and restoration activities, engaging schools and interest groups in hands-on service learning, and conducting bird banding research. The land provides essential habitat for wildlife as well as resident and neotropical migratory birds. The BLH forest and swamp provide habitat for eighteen SGCN species listed in Louisiana’s Wildlife Action Plan and nine species of continental importance according to Partners in Flight. It serves as one of the first resting and staging areas for over 100 species of migratory birds prior to their migration across the Gulf. The project also presents a rare opportunity: large coastal forested wetland restoration projects are rare within the hydrologic basin in which the Incident occurred. This area comprises some of the last remaining forested wetlands in Southeastern Louisiana. Habitat on the property acts as a wind barrier for New Orleans and nearby communities and the wetlands on the site serve as a filtering ground for pollution and act as a natural sponge for absorbing storm water runoff. Case settlement funds would be used for habitat and recreational enhancements, such as invasive species management and revegetation of native species, trail enhancements, and creation of new or enhancement of existing signage and/or kiosks that provide interpretive information for public use. Restoring the forest habitat within the subject property is anticipated to provide similar or complimentary ecological services to the injured trust resources (shoreline habitat, birds, and recreational use). Resource management and recreational enhancement would improve habitat services over time and increase passive recreational opportunities.
Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office; US Fish and Wildlife Service
Fish and Wildlife Service
Woodlands Acquisition, Management, and Recreational Enhancement Project parcel, Plaquemines Parish, LA.
Louisana Ecological Services Field Office
Lafayette, LA | (337) 291-3100 | http://www.fws.gov/lafayette/