From Big Mar to Big Marsh

Last month, a fleet of airboats flew 30 volunteers to the Big Mar Area, new land created by the Caernarvon Diversion. The site bayward of these gates, built in 1991, is one of the few places in coastal Louisiana where land is being built. With new land and fresh water brought by the diversion, this is an area that has become very suitable for cypress tree planting. With any luck, these saplings will become the dominant trees, outgrowing the willows, thus recreating the historical habitat of the area. Big Mar. In Orange is land created by Katrina distributing sediment. In green is the new delta formation built by the River. A string of 7 sites had previously been selected for potted cypress saplings. These trees were dropped off as early as last November. 250 of the medium-sized saplings were quickly planted in the wet soil by early afternoon. With the previously planted 700 saplings, a total of 1,000 cypress trees have now been planted, all temporarily protected from nutria by plastic sleeves. Andy Baker of The Lake Pontchartrain Foundation, the architect of the projects, plans to periodically monitor their progress. It’s exciting that the River and the people of Louisiana are working together to rebuild our coastal forests! Xia “Lilly” Zhou is a Water Resources Intern. Scott Eustis is GRN’s Coastal Wetland Specialist.

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