Historic barrier island to be restored this weekend

Historic barrier island to be restored this weekend

POSTED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 7:00am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 7:04am

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) and Abita Beer will be organizing more than 300 volunteers over two days to restore more than one mile of beach on historic Grand Terre Island, March 1 and 2.

This massive volunteer restoration project is part of CRCL and Abita’s “Save Our Shores: Volunteer for the Coast” program, which creates events focusing on restoration, education, and celebrating Louisiana’s coast and culture.

The project goal for this two-day event is to construct one mile of dune fence and plant thousands of dune grasses on the beach of Grand Terre Island, just to the east of Grand Isle. Grand Terre is a barrier island that provides habitat for wildlife and critical protection from storm surge and wave erosion for Barataria Bay. An additional goal of the event is to celebrate our coastal volunteers with a Volunteer Appreciation Party following the conclusion of each day of the project.

Grand Terre, like many barrier islands in the Barataria coastal area, has suffered severe erosion, particularly in the last three years, after Hurricane Isaac in 2012, Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 and the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. Volunteers will help stabilize the beach on Grand Terre by encouraging dune formation and planting grasses to anchor sand and soil in place. This will make for a more erosion-resilient island, and a more effective shield for our wetlands and coastal communities.

In addition to its important natural role, Grand Terre is a location rich with Louisiana history. The island was the former base of operations in Barataria for the pirate Jean Lafitte in the early 19th century. It is also the location of the ruins of Fort Livingston, the ill-fated coastal fortress abandoned by the U.S. government in 1889. Fort Livingston’s hurricane-battered remains are still prominent on the island, and the site is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. In 1955, the Louisiana Legislature designated Grand Terre as a state wildlife and fisheries reservation.

On each day following the work on Grand Terre, CRCL and Abita will throw a special Volunteer Appreciation Party on Grand Isle to say thanks for the effort shown by our coastal volunteers, and to celebrate the spirit of our coastal wetlands. Each party will feature live music, games, seafood and bbq, as well as free Abita products for volunteers. It’s our way of saying thanks to those who make a difference on the coast and to enjoy all our coast has to offer, in one of Louisiana’s most unique places.

Funding for this project is provided by Abita Beer, which donates a portion of its sales of SOS – A Charitable Pilsner to coastal restoration efforts. Abita began brewing this special beer in response to the Deepwater Horizon Disaster in 2010. To learn more about Abita Beer’s response to our coastal crisis, and its partnership with CRCL, visit sos.abita.com.

“Abita Beer is proud to be a supporter of CRCL and their efforts to restore the Louisiana coastline. With the help of our customers, SOS - A Charitable Pilsner, has raised over $450,000 to save our shore and to fund this event,” said David Blossman, President of Abita Beer. “Whether you've volunteered or raised a glass of SOS, we thank you for your continued efforts to help Save Our Shore.”

This event is the second “Save Our Shore: Volunteer for the Coast” project teaming CRCL and Abita Beer. The first project engaged more than 100 volunteers to place plants and dune fencing at Grand Isle State Park in September, 2012.

“This project is a great example of a Louisiana business stepping forward to address the issue of coastal land loss. Through Save Our Shores, Abita is creating restoration opportunities that reflect their longstanding commitment to preserving and promoting Louisiana’s coastal culture. We can’t thank Abita Beer enough for their leadership and vision in creating the Save Our Shores initiative, which is a model for businesses that value coastal stewardship and improving our quality of life on the coast,” said CRCL Executive Director Steven Peyronnin.

Volunteer opportunities are still available for those who wish to sign up for the Friday, March 1 excursion to restore Grand Terre. To sign up to volunteer, visit CRCL’s website. All volunteers MUST register before arriving on site.

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