“There is no one single solution to addressing the problems we have. This project is a prime example of what can happen when innovative ideas are put into practice.”, said Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Chip Kline.
The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) has brought together public and private partners to create the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) Shoreline Stabilization and Restoration Project in Lafourche Parish, LA. Using an innovative green product developed by Baton Rouge based Martin Ecosystems, America’s WETLAND Foundation will protect 1 mile of the GIWW in Phase I of the project, where the embankment has been eroded and tidal surges threaten fragile freshwater marshes with saltwater intrusion. The completed project will involve a total of 4 miles of protection. (Phase 2 will begin in 2016) “We are proud to tackle an important impediment to coastal restoration-shoreline creep along the GIWW,” Sidney Coffee, senior advisor of the America’s WETLAND Foundation, said. “This canal has become a virtual line of demarcation between freshwater marshes and saltwater intrusion. By embedding native vegetation for protection of the levee in recycled permeable PET plastics at a fraction the time and costs of other methods, this could be a game changer and could be replicated all along the waterway.”
The America’s WETLAND Foundation has brought together public and private partners with a variety of interest in coastal restoration efforts including Ducks Unlimited, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the State of Louisiana, and private landowners. Private landowners are always looking for cost effective solutions to protect their land from erosion. “It is our hope that this project can be replicated all along the canal through Louisiana and Texas. It is far more affordable and increases the interest of landowners to get involved.” Ted Falgout, a private landowner partner on the project said.
The innovative technology utilized is recycled plastic material called Vegetated EcoShield™ manufactured by Martin Ecosystems. “EcoShield is a matrix material manufactured using recycled PET plastic drinking bottles. By providing a protective medium for vegetation to establish, grow and spread, it enhances the natural processes of the system by creating a vegetative shoreline and important coastal habitats,” Ted Martin, owner of Martin Ecosystems, said.
Phase 1 will be completed in January 2016 with the initial funding provided by AWF, Ducks Unlimited, CITGO, Shell ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Community Coffee. Additionally, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) recently awarded $250,000.00 to the Ducks Unlimited/AWF partnership for the project’s next phase. It is anticipated that Phase II will install and additional 3 miles of EcoShield.