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Case Study

Restoring barrier island coast enhances ecosystem resilience

Every Challenge Has a Backstory

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, significant erosion occurred at barrier islands off the central Gulf of Mexico coast, including the Breton National Wildlife Refuge barrier island chain. These barrier islands, located in the Breton Sound 30 miles off the southeast coast of Louisiana, serve as a natural breakwater protecting mainland environments. As a result of the storm and subsequent erosion, habitat acreage on the islands was significantly reduced.

An interagency team led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service looked to OBG to help restore one of the chain’s islands, North Breton Island. 

OBG’s Focus on Solutions

In the first project of its kind for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 450 acres of habitat will be created at North Breton Island. The $75 million project involves the restoration of beach, dune, and back barrier marsh habitats to support breeding birds. The new habitats will be created by pumping approximately 5.5 million cubic yards of sediment from a borrow area in the Gulf located approximately four miles from the island. 

OBG is leading investigation, modeling, and design services to facilitate restoration and rebuild the island.

Results that Matter

By helping to restore islands like North Breton Island, the project will help to enhance ecosystem resilience to environmental change along t­he coast, while preserving needed nesting areas for birds.