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One Year In, Upper Barataria Marsh Creation Project is On Track for 2023 Completion

March 28, 2023

With more than 1,070 acres of the massive project complete, the marsh creation project is well ahead of schedule.

Wetlands Louisiana marshlands. Credit: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

NOAA’s largest wetland restoration project ever is ahead of schedule, and is on track to be completed months earlier than anticipated. When finished, the Upper Barataria Marsh Creation project in coastal Louisiana will create habitat, reduce erosion, and protect communities. 

The project design includes five marsh creation areas, each of which has a unique shape and size. The construction of all marsh creation areas is expected to be completed well ahead of schedule due to better-than-expected replenishment of sediment dredged from the Mississippi River. To date, 1,070 acres of marsh have been restored. The project has a budget of up to $181 million. 

an aerial view of a marshland under construction, mostly of open water.
Three months after construction began, a major marsh creation area is just an outline. Photo: Patrick Quigley/Gulf Coast Air Photo
an aerial view of a marshland under construction, mostly filled in.
By March 2023, the same area of the Upper Barataria project was largely filled in. Photo: Patrick Quigley/Gulf Coast Air Photo

In addition to the restoration of coastal and marine resources, the marsh creation project provides a number of additional benefits including:

  • Creation of more than 140 construction-related jobs, effectively strengthening the economy 

  • Fortification of coastal wetlands, which will enhance resiliency and reduce impacts of future storms on coastal resources and communities 

  • Support and improve the health of diverse species of fish, wildlife, marsh plants, and coastal habitat—some of them endangered—by creating an intertidal marsh platform 

  • Support the local fishing economy by protecting important species such as brown and white shrimp, blue crabs, and redfish

Construction of the project is slated to be completed by July 2023.


WATCH: Explore the benefits of the Upper Barataria Marsh Creation Project, and follow along in a video that showcases the construction of the massive project. 

A Mosaic of Marshes

The coastal marshland of Louisiana has suffered degradation and erosion from salt water intrusion, and damage due to storm surge from hurricanes. Wetlands in the Barataria Basin were the most heavily impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which accelerated a severe land-loss trend threatening Louisiana’s estuaries.

To combat and correct this, restoration began in 2009 as part of a decades-long effort to restore the Barataria Landbridge. The first project was the Bayou Dupont Sediment Delivery System—a Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act project. It built a sediment pipeline corridor from the Mississippi River, below a railroad and a major highway, and into the Barataria Basin.

a graphic with a map of lower Louisiana and colored areas displaying marsh creation areas.
This graphic depicts the Upper Barataria Marsh Creation project alongside other marsh creation areas, near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southern Louisiana. Graphic: Moffatt & Nichols

Since then, partners have constructed 1,015 acres of wetlands in the area. After the Upper Barataria Marsh Creation project is complete, the wetland will form a restored land bridge. It will stretch from the hurricane protection levee in Plaquemines Parish to the Barataria Waterway in Jefferson Parish.

Stay Tuned for More Updates

Learn more about the Upper Barataria Marsh Creation Project.  

Information about other projects in Louisiana can be found through the interactive Gulf Spill Restoration Projects map.

Last updated by Office of Habitat Conservation on March 28, 2023