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BTNEP and Nature Conservancy to host barrier island volunteer event

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) in partnership with the Nature Conservancy will be hosting a volunteer event in Grand Isle, La. on Saturday, August 18 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The goal of the event is to cut the vines of invasive air potato that are plaguing the valued forest of Grand Isle.

Volunteers will be walking through the woods and clipping the vast number of vines that climb up the trees, shading out the sun, and producing hundreds of potato-like fruit that allow the vines to spread rapidly. When the vines are clipped, they are disconnected from its root, which causes them to die and no longer spread the fruit.

The event will take place at Post Lane in Grand Isle. The forest is located behind Sureway Supermarket. Volunteers will be provided gloves and pruning shears, water, bug spray, and sunscreen. Lunch will also be provided.

Grand Isle is Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island and is a valued piece of the culture and history.

There are trees in the maritime forest on Grand Isle that are hundreds years old and have endured dozens of tropical storms and hurricanes. The partnering organizations need the help of volunteers to save and preserve these historical trees.

So why should you volunteer?

Volunteers are one of the most important resources BTNEP has. The ability of people to work willingly together in order to protect the land that so many live and rely on is a valuable asset. Volunteers are given the opportunity to make a direct impact on the coastal land loss our area is facing. A volunteer’s commitment, time, and labor constitutes a major contribution towards preserving land that is such a valuable resource not only to the coast, but also to others around the country.

About BTNEP’s Volunteer Program.

Coastal Louisiana is of immense importance to our nation’s economy and it should be restored and protected.

The Barataria and Terrebonne Basins are vital to coastal Louisiana’s seafood production and habitats for migratory birds, but due to coastal land loss, these resources are being depleted. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) encourages people to volunteer to help restore the habitats in the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuarine System.

Since the 1990’s, BTNEP has worked to educate the public about issues concerning coastal Louisiana and in getting the public involved in restoration efforts. A major aspect of the current volunteer program is propagating and planting native species in areas heavily affected by sea level rise and subsidence. Mostly made up of salt, brackish, and freshwater marshes, these affected areas are increasingly transitioning from healthy marsh to shallow open water. In an effort to counter these effects, BTNEP utilizes volunteers for plantings of native marshes species to help stabilize soil and accumulate sediment. Volunteers are also utilized in cleaning efforts of the marshes and beach areas in order to keep these habitats clean and safe.

In addition to marsh restoration, BTNEP is on the forefront of ridge restoration growing out native trees to help stabilize ridges. Annually, BTNEP coordinates 500-800 volunteers to participate in native vegetation plantings as well as coastal and inland debris cleanups. BTNEP volunteers come from all across the nation to help restore the areas affected by coastal land loss as well as learn about the ecological and economical importance of coastal Louisiana. BTNEP hosts 25 to 30 volunteer events a years in communication with BTNEP’s Native Plant Program and Education Program.

For more information about BTNEP’s Volunteer program, visit our website at, email Seth Moncrief, BTNEP Volunteer Coordinator at or call the office at 985-447-0868.

Contributed by BTNEP