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USFWS, USGS and Partners Honored for Restoring Refuge

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oblique airphoto of Breton Island taken in October 1993

oblique airphoto of Breton Island taken in August 1999
Breton Island images: (top) taken in October 1993 before Hurricane Georges and (bottom) taken in August 1999 after restoration.
The Coastal America Partnership Award was recently bestowed upon a number of partner agencies in recognition of their work to restore Breton Island, part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge off the coast of southeastern Louisiana. Agencies honored included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USGS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Louisiana Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Wildlife and Fisheries. Coastal America is a partnership of national, regional and local teams dealing with critical coastal environmental problems.

USFWS employees working on the restoration were James Harris and Pon Dickson of Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges, headquartered in Slidell, and Darryl Clark and David Walther of the Lafayette Field Office. USGS employees involved in the work were James B. Johnston, William Jones, and Art Calix, all of the National Wetlands Research Center, headquartered in Lafayette. The USGS provided high-resolution photographs with groundtruthed verification on wetlands and sea grasses as well as habitat analysis. The USGS also provided maps that located breaches where restoration could take place.

Established in 1904, the Breton National Wildlife Refuge is the second oldest refuge in the nation and a key component of the Chandeleur Barrier Island Chain. The chain serves as the first line of defense for New Orleans during storms, is economically important for recreational and commercial fishing and shellfish and is a major bird habitat. The island chain was damaged during Hurricane Georges in 1998, when Breton Island lost 55 of its 180 acres.

Most of the material eroded from Breton Island was deposited in the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and impeded safe navigation. The Coastal America Partnership devised a plan for dredging the channel and used the material to return about 1.2 million cubic yards of sediment and sand back to Breton Island to repair beaches and dunes. Dredged material was placed on the gulf side of the island to restore about 26 acres and protect another 620 acres of shallow waters that provide essential wildlife habitat. The Corps estimated that the island would have been lost within 10 years without the restoration.

Related Web Sites
Breton National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
National Wetlands Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Hurricane Georges—Chandeleur Islands Aerial Photography
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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St. Pete Open House

Cub Scouts

JC Students Visit St. Pete

Teachers Learn About Rocks

Chesapeake Bay—Dartmouth College

Meetings Seafloor Mapping

Leadership in Scientific Research

British Antarctic Survey

Awards FWS, USGS Honored for Restoring Refuge

Student Achievement Awards

ECO Photo Contest

ESRI 2000 Conference

Staff & Center News Expert Witnesses at Environmental Trial

Two Long-Time Geologists Retire

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