Organization: Common Ground Relief
The organization fosters environmental and community stewardship in Southeast Louisiana, so that residents can survive and thrive, now and in the future.
Location: Grand Bayou Indian Village, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
Country: United States
Other Organizations Involved: Coastal Re-Vegetation Program of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, First Peoples’ Conservation Council (FPCC) of Louisiana.
© Sam Van Pyrkeren
In the past several decades, Grand Bayou Indian Village (“Grand Bayou”), where many Atakapa-Ishak/Chawasha tribal members live, has lost a significant amount of land due to a combination of manmade interventions, low elevation, land subsidence, and climate change. These disasters have stripped the community of essential defenses against storm surge and flooding, as well as vital economic, cultural, and social resources.
Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast (“Coastal Master Plan”) guides the actions needed to sustain the coastal ecosystem, safeguard coastal populations, and protect Louisiana’s economic and cultural resources, in the face of threats to Louisiana’s coastal communities. The 2017 Master Coastal Plan essentially ignores Grand Bayou – offering no protection or solutions. Because Grand Bayou is outside the protection of the state’s levee systems, there are no resources or a long-term vision to help the community remain an intact village as the surrounding wetlands continue to erode. Nor are there any recommendations for relocation, which may be the only option for the Grand Bayou community. Because the Atakapa-Ishak/Chawasha tribal community lacks federal recognition, members were not included in planning discussions for the 2017 Coastal Master Plan. As a result, they do not have access to resources that enable the community to become resilient to the effects of climate change, subsistent, and sustainable for future generations.
Grand Bayou faces multiple obstacles in its fight for ecological survival and environmental justice. Marsh Restoration at Grand Bayou Indian Village will support the Atakapa-Ishak/Chawasha tribal members in their efforts to mitigate the impacts of coastal land loss and climate change.
Marsh Restoration at Grand Bayou Indian Village will combine Common Ground Relief’s resources – native grasses, volunteer labor, programmatic coordination, and relationships with relevant state entities – with Grand Bayou’s expertise and knowledge to: