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The team is collecting elevation and geophysical data to quantify storm-related barrier island sediment redistribution in Breton National Wildlife Refuge.

A long barrier island, mainly sandy with some vegetation, has a sediment berm placed along the shoreface.
Sediment berm placement in the shoreface of northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana. This berm was placed in 2010 during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to prevent oil from reaching the island and the mainland of Louisiana in this area of the coast. Learn about the Coastal Sediment Availability and Flux Project.

Louisiana’s protective barrier islands and marshes often erode and shift landward due to extreme storms, as was the case with Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta, and Ida in 2020-2021. These effects complicate the recovery efforts of community and public land managers responsible for protection, planning, and development of these coastal areas. The Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 117-43), enacted on September 30, 2021, included $26.3 million in supplemental funding for the USGS to support direct recovery and rebuilding decisions in areas affected by hurricanes and floods in 2020 and 2021. This funding is being used to update data and analyses in Louisiana to support accurate forecasts of flooding and erosion hazards, improve future storm-response operations, and address resilience, including areas with environmental justice concerns. (from

Data collected during this field effort will help scientists quantify storm impacts and changes in coastal resilience in Louisiana resulting from the 2020-2021 hurricane seasons, including both a topo-bathymetric assessment of changes in subaerial and seafloor elevations and an assessment of sedimentologic changes in barrier environments at Breton National Wildlife Refuge (BNWR). Sediment sampling was previously completed in March 2023; this survey is the second of two trips (June and July 2023) to collect bathymetric and geophysical data in the study area. This builds on previous USGS sampling efforts that have occurred in the area since 2007. In addition to supporting hurricane storm impact and recovery assessments, the results are expected to provide updated post-storm, pre-restoration baseline conditions to inform an upcoming coastal restoration project in BNWR.

The team includes SPCMSC USGS scientists Jen Miselis, Julie Bernier, Nancy DeWitt, Ben Galbraith, Andy Farmer, Sabrina Levinson, Erin Lyons (Cherokee Nation Systems Solutions), Max Reynolds, BJ Reynolds, and Chelsea Stalk.

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