THE RIGHT TIME AT THE RIGHT PLACE
The Jesuit Bend Mitigation Bank (JBMB) is an RS-owned, 338-acre former freshwater marsh and cypress-tupelo swamp that has converted to open water over the last century. RS has proposed a Phase One project that will restore 242 acres from open water to fresh water marsh and 45 acres to fully functioning Cypress Swamp. When approved in January, 2013, the Plaquemines Parish bank will provide mitigation credits for wetland impacts across the entire Deltaic Plain of Coastal Louisiana.
In order to restore the open water to marsh and swamp the project will utilize sediments from the Mississippi River, just as nature was once able to do before the river was tamed by levees.
1.8 million cubic yards of material will be dredged 70 feet below river surface, pumped to the shore, and pumped again nearly five miles to the open water project footprint. After exiting the dredge pipe the rich river sediments will be manipulated by heavy equipment to achieve the precise elevations required by regulatory agencies to ensure project success.
If the material removed from the river were stacked on a football field — it would be taller than any building on earth. But the result will be much flatter. When planted with marsh species and native cypress, the verdant new land will be over a half-mile square.
PROTECTING PEOPLE FROM STORMS BY RESTORING WETLANDS
The Jesuit Bend project provides greater “Ecosystem Services” to local communities than any other restoration opportunity Restoration Systems has encountered. The open water areas we are restoring to marsh are at the “toe” of a 11 foot high protective flood levee. Directly on the other side of the levee — below sea level — are homes. By restoring marsh on the “flood side” of the levee, we are providing the natural wave attenuation the levees were originally designed for. Our restored wetlands are “speed bumps” for waves when the next Katrina hits.
According to our Publicly Noticed federal Prospectus the JBMB the project will achieve multiple objectives:
- Marsh & Wetland restoration – reversing the cause of the site’s long-term degradation to restore wetlands functions.
- Physical – greater flood protection/ storage and extension of the Barataria land bridge by introducing new sediment.
- Biotec – restoration and substantial enhancement of marsh/ swamp habitat and fishery functions (red drum, white and brown shrimp, gulf menhaden, Atlantic croaker and blue crab). Also of avian and wetland mammal species’ habitats.
- Biogeochemistry – restore biogeochemical processes through rebuilding marsh/ swamp habitats that increase levels of plant and invertebrate detritus.
- Soils – rebuild an organic soil profile through reintroducing organic material to the system via restoration of site topography and vegetation.
- Hydrologic – restore hydrologic processes by ensuring a connection to offsite waters through restored site topography and incorporation of the fishery channel.
- Social - protect local Plaquemines residents from storms and waves through careful planting of the right vegetation to form a natural barrier at the toe of the parish levee.
The habitat restoration will be bonded and monitored over a 15 year period and protected forever.