USGS Proposal: Predicting the Resilience of the Chandeleur Island Chain as a Function of Restoration Options
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, managers of the Breton NWR, seek to (1) determine the value of restoring part or all of the Breton Refuge to pre-Katrina conditions, and (2) assess whether other alternatives make better sense for habitat restoration and/or for storm protection for the marshes and inland wetland areas.
The questions that can reasonably be asked prior to planning any restoration activities are:
- Does it make sense to try to restore portions of the Chandeleur Islands/Breton Refuge? If so, which islands or parts of islands should be restored?
- Will the next storm undo all such restoration efforts, thus rendering restoration efforts useless?
- Is it possible to restore the islands to some condition where they may continue to physically rebuild themselves naturally? If so, what will it take?
- Do we have the information needed to begin to answer these and similar questions? What is required to obtain the necessary information for the FWS to make informed restoration decisions?
To answer the above questions, the USGS, in partnership with the University of New Orleans (Pontchartrain Institute of Environmental Sciences) proposes to offer science information and technical advice to the FWS that will allow FWS to reasonably and reliably answer the above questions. That science information will result from understanding geologic processes and resulting change of aerial extent of the islands, the subaerial change and trends, and the framework geology or foundation on which the islands rest.