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 NFWF Approves Additional $144.5 Million for Louisiana Barrier Island Restoration

Construction of Caminada Beach and Dune Increment II to Begin in Summer 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2014 -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $144.5 million in funding for the second increment of the Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration project in Louisiana. This portion of the project will pump over five million cubic yards of sand from the Gulf of Mexico via pipeline, creating approximately 490 acres of beach and dune habitat and restoring approximately 7.5 additional miles of beach. Construction is expected to begin in late summer 2014.

Funding for this project comes from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which was established by NFWF in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to manage funds resulting from the settlement of federal criminal charges against BP and Transocean. In November 2013, NFWF announced its intent to obligate $67.9 million from the Fund for five projects in Louisiana, including $3 million for the engineering and design of Caminada Beach and Dune Increment II.

“This investment is a milestone for NFWF and Louisiana, one which reflects the strong partnership we have established over the last year,” said NFWF Executive Director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. “Barrier shorelines like Caminada Headlands are vital to the overall protection and restoration of Louisiana’s threatened coast, while providing critical habitat for important fish and bird species.  We look forward to continuing our support as Louisiana works to repair its fragile coastal ecosystem.”

“The Caminada Headland directly protects Port Fourchon, the nation’s most important energy port,” said Kyle Graham, executive director of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. “But this project will also complete an important component of our Coastal Master Plan as we continue to restore the protective chain of barrier islands and beach headlands forming the perimeter of the Barataria Basin.”

The State of Louisiana previously directed $30 million in surplus state funding and $40 million in Coastal Impact Assistance Program funding toward construction of Increment I of the Caminada Headland project. Increment I, which began in August of 2013, will use approximately 3.31 million cubic yards of sand to create and enhance 303 acres of beach and dune, thus reinforcing almost six miles of barrier headland habitat. Native vegetation will be planted over the entire project area before construction is completed in early 2015.

Restoring the Caminada Headland, located in Lafourche Parish, will protect sensitive landward marshes and maritime forests from erosion and saltwater influences. In addition, these beaches and dunes serve as a source of sand for nourishing islands immediately to the east and west of the project, including Grand Isle – Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island. The headland also provides storm buffering to Port Fourchon.

NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund was created early in 2013, when a U.S. district court approved two plea agreements resolving the criminal charges against BP and Transocean related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The agreements directed a total of $2.544 billion to NFWF for natural resources restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the next five years, the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund will receive approximately $1.27 billion to be used exclusively for Louisiana barrier island creation and restoration and to implement river diversion projects on the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers.

NFWF, a congressionally chartered non-profit corporation, is one of the largest conservation funders in the United States. It is subject to oversight by Congress and a board of directors that includes the heads of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as representatives from states, non-governmental organizations and industry. The board is appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

To learn more about the State of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast restoration efforts, visit http://coastal.la.gov/

To learn more about NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Louisiana, visit http://www.nfwf.org/gulf/Pages/GEBF-Louisiana.aspx