Introduction To Restoration Plans

The Lake Fields/Lake Long Preserve (Preserve) ecosystem was significantly altered by marsh reclamation projects in the early 1900s and a upper Bayou Folse drainage improvement project by the U. S. Soil Conservation Service in the late 1960s. The original Lake Fields restoration plan by the Lafourche Parish Game and Fish Commission's (Commission) provides a more detailed perspective on the decline of Lake Fields and recommendations to restore the Lake. The orignal plan involved two independent but complimentary components: redirection of Bayou Folse water into Company Canal rather than through the Lake, and creation of terraces around the Lake Fields shoreline.

The North Lafourche Levee District recently completed a mitigation project in Lake Fields and lower Bayou Folse that was largely based upon the Commission's original restoration plan. The Levee District was required to undergo mitigation for wetland alterations associated with dredging of Company Canal east of Bayou Lafourche. The Levee District selected Lake Fields as a mitigation site for the Company Canal project and future hurricane protection activities in central and north Lafourche Parish which result in wetland alterations. For several reasons, the Levee District selected Lake Fields as a mitigation site:
  • the property is publicly owned
  • the Commission already had a written restoration plan
  • there was easy water access
  • dredging equipment used by the Levee District was being used nearby
Although the Levee District contributed a high percentage of the total funds,the Commission contributed $50,000 to the project. This cooperative agreement was mutually beneficial to both organizations because it incorporated some elements of the Commission’s restoration plan while allowing the Levee District to obtain mitigation credits for marsh creation using shoreline terraces. Dredging of lower Bayou Folse to create shoreline terraces will facilitate the flow of degraded upper Bayou Folse water into Company Canal rather than through Lake Fields while the Lake Fields terraces will reduce shoreline erosion.

The Commission will work with the Levee District on future mitigation projects within the Preserve. Additionally, the Commission is also committed to securing other funds to complete the original Lake Fields and Lake Long restoration plans. Grant proposals will be submitted as appropriate funds from governmental agencies or conservation organizations are identified.
Several updated restoration project proposals for Lake Fields and Lake Long are currently available: Within each of these project proposals, there are numerous options that would qualify as an stand-alone project. Among all combined options, the following projects are given the highest priority to improve water quality and protect the fragile interior marshes of the Preserve:
  • Lake Fields: reduction of openings into the lake from Bayou Dumar and lower Bayou Folse
  • Lake Long: reduction of Company Canal opening with terraces
  • Lake Fields: terrace construction along the historic southeast shoreline
The Commission recognizes that these three priority projects may not be optimum for “mitigation credit” type projects to create marsh; for projects with a mitigation credit mandate, the Commission recommends shoreline terraces along portions of the current lake shorelines.