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Rabbit Island bird habitat restoration project complete

Rabbit Island bird habitat restoration project complete
Rabbit Island bird habitat restoration project complete
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 10:36 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) announced the completion of the Rabbit Island restoration project by CPRA, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), and the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG).

Maintenance efforts that keeps the Calcasieu Ship Channel open are also helping preserve and boost the population of the brown pelican, Louisiana’s state bird. Using sediment dredged from the Calcasieu Ship Channel, the island’s elevation was raised, fortifying the habitats of the birds.

Brown pelicans nesting on rabbit island faced serious threats in recent years, losing 50 percent of nests to over-washing tides in the low grounds and storm surge in the last 5 years, a population that is now being restored.

“They were expecting to see about 350-some-odd nest and they have over 1,100 pelican nest this season. So, I think it’s been a great success,” Channing Hayden said.

Hayden is the director of navigation for the Port of Lake Charles and he said maintenance of the ship channel was able to help restore Rabbit Island’s 102 acres.

“It’s consistent with the port’s philosophy of trying to use dredge material whenever we can, even though we weren’t involved in it. So, we supported it,” Hayden said. “We’d like to do as much as possible to keep that species and all the other either endangered or species of concern populated here in Southwest Louisiana. So, this is a great project to do that.”

The total cost of the project is $16.4 million. It was funded by Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement fund, approved by LA TIG.

This project helped to not only restore a coastal land, but also helped to restore the wildlife that inhabits the Southwest Louisiana coast, making sure brown pelicans have a place to prosper.

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