As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Bird nesting habitat fades away

Effort under way to restore Cat Island; parish searches for funding

The months have not been kind to Cat Island, two small spits of land in Plaquemines Parish that have served for years as bird nesting destinations.

Cat Island is the name for two separate islands that have been eroding for years. In the past four months, the two islands have gotten smaller with much of their vegetation dying or dead.

Cat Island west was 360 acres in 1930, 40 acres in 1998 and 4 acres in 2010 before the Deepwater Horizon/BP explosion and subsequent heavy oiling.

Although in July the island could boast areas of thick black mangroves that were being used by brown pelicans, by Nov. 16, the mangroves were dead and the island had been split into two pieces.

Cat Island east was about 5 acres before the leak in 2010. In July, it was just a sand spit with some vegetation that may be 100 yards long and 30 yards wide. By November, it also was smaller and without vegetation.

However, there is an effort under way to restore the islands — if the money to do the work can be found. Plans for restoring the islands include breakwaters made of a structure that will have holes in it to allow water flow, a fish habitat and to serve as oyster foundations.

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