Shell donates 4K acres of wetlands for stormwater retention

(The Associated Press)

Shell Oil Co. is donating more than 4,139 acres of wetlands to Terrebonne Parish.

The land will enable the parish to make needed improvements to its flood risk reduction and community resiliency system, according to a news release from Shell.

The property in northern Terrebonne Parish, north and south of U.S. 90 and between La. 24 and and La. 311, is adjacent to 200 acres already owned by the Terrebonne Parish consolidated government. It will enable the redirection of stormwater from the most highly developed residential, retail and industrial corridor in the parish.

When fully developed as a piece of natural resiliency infrastructure, the property will have the potential to store almost 1.8 billion gallons of stormwater produced by the areas surrounding Ellendale, Bayou Cane, Gray, Schriever, Martin Luther King Boulevard and Bayou Terrebonne in the Houma area, releasing it slowly into the adjacent swamp and waterways over several days after storm events.

This slower release not only reduces flood risk for homes and businesses in the Houma area, Shell says, but also improves water quality in the adjacent wetlands by filtering stormwater naturally before releasing it back out in to the environment.

“We want to thank Shell for this donation of 4,139 acres to act as an important stormwater retention area that will greatly assist us in our present and future works to reduce flood risks to a great many of our residents and businesses,” said Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove.

Rick Tallant, Shell’s vice president of production for the Gulf of Mexico, said the property donation is “just the latest example of Shell’s commitment to the community and coast. … it is important that we do things that support keeping our community and coast a vibrant and sustainable home for our people and our business and this property donation is a great way for us to make a significant contribution to resiliency and sustainability.”

Shell has also made a long-term funding commitment to the completion of elevating La. 1 in Lafourche Parish. The company has provided $2.4 million since 1997 for the existing and current work on the roadway and is pledging an additional $4.3 million for the final completion of a more resilient connection to Port Fourchon and Grand Isle.

“We greatly appreciate Shell’s generous donation and desire to work with us to help solve a major drainage challenge for the citizens of Terrebonne Parish and we are thankful for many years of partnerships with Shell and many more to come,” Parish President Dove added.

Read the announcement.