Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is hoping to get approval to use some BP cash to rebuild the brown pelican habitat on Queen Bess Island.
Its home to the site of the first effort to reintroduce pelicans to the Pelican State in 1968. Coastal Resource Scientist Manager Todd Baker says the crucial habitat has taken a beating over the last 50 years.
“It was ground zero for bringing the bird back and that island has undergone a lot of erosion and subsidence over the years. So, a lot of the nesting habitat for those birds is marginal at best.”
The state received 148 million dollars after the 2010 BP Oil spill to bolster coastal rookeries.
Baker says the degradation of coastal habitats for the birds is been linked to difficulties in keeping them in state. This means once the birds grow up, they might not stick around our bayou.
“It’s where those guys call home, so as those nests continue to erode, that habitat continues to decline, so does the nesting success of those birds.”
Once the engineering plans are finalized, and if approved by the Louisiana Restoration Area Trustee Implementation Group, they’ll set to work building up the island so that at least two thirds of it are above the tidal range.
“By building the island up, those nests will be less susceptible to drowning and inundation. Basically, building some elevation, and plant the right bushes out there, some mangroves.”
If approved Baker says the projects could be ready to start in 2019.