THIBODAUX, La. — Conoco-Phillips has awarded $50,000 to the Nicholls State University Department of Biological Sciences to assist in coastal restoration research and coastal plant production.
The university will use the grant to help rebuild a bridge on the Nicholls Farm. This will provide access to land that will be used to grow species of coastal plants and trees to be transferred to our coast.
Dr. Quenton Fontenot, biology department head and professor, said the university already has several native Louisiana irises ready to plant once they have access to ponds on the other side of the bridge. Through a collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, will also be planted on land accessible by the bridge for seed harvest production.
Native to the Bayou Region and sustainable in our coastal habitats, these plants are crucial to maintaining coastal wetlands and barrier islands.
“We are thankful to Conoco-Phillips because this grant has allowed us to make significant progress toward our goal of replacing the bridge,” Dr. Fontenot said. “Eventually, these plants will support local and state coastal restoration efforts.”
Located just down La. 1 from the main campus, the Nicholls Farm is an integral part of the university’s plans to become the center for coastal restoration research and implementation in Louisiana. In recent years, Nicholls Biology has harvested more than 30,000 black mangroves at the Nicholls Farm, which were planted along coastal beaches. A Nicholls Farm master plan lays out plans for expanded available land for research, classroom space and areas where coastal restoration projects can be tested.
The total estimated cost of the project is $300,000.