The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (Louisiana TIG) has released the Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #1.1: Restoration of Queen Bess Island. The draft plan proposes activities for restoring natural resources and services in Louisiana that were injured or lost as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This project would help restore habitat for birds by providing suitable colonial waterbird nesting and brood-rearing habitat on Queen Bess Island. Queen Bess Island has less than 5 acres of suitable nesting and brood-rearing bird habitat. Despite its limited size, the island supports the third largest and most productive brown pelican rookery in Louisiana and provides critical nesting and brood-rearing habitat for other colonial nesting species.
The plan evaluates two alternatives for restoration of bird habitat, plus a no action alternative. The preferred alternative would create 30 acres of brown pelican habitat and 7 acres of tern and skimmer habitat. This would be accomplished by filling the southern cell (Cell 3) with river sand to 4-5 feet above sea level, and gradually sloping fill material downward through Cell 2 from southwest to northeast. Cell 1 would receive the least sand fill material, leaving this cell immediately available for colonial waterbird nesting and brood-rearing habitat following construction.
The estimated cost of the preferred alternative is $16.7 million. Comments from the public will be accepted through January 22. Mail comments to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 49567, Atlanta, Georgia 30345. After the public comment period ends, the LA TIG will review, consider and address public comments before releasing the final plan and environmental assessment.
More information on the project can be found here.