Collaborating On Restoration (CORE)

Collaborating On Restoration (CORE)

Grade Level:

High School/Middle School


Small-Scale Restoration and Stewardship


Two Years/Schools


New Orleans

CORE: Youth & Community-Driven Stewardship


CORE is an EPA Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program and NFWF Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration funded project that trains youth in best practices for small scale wetland restoration to help manage stormwater within their communities. CORE centers community members in the process of habitat restoration and stormwater management. The objective is to create visible natural areas that enhance the urban tree canopy, restore local wetland habitat, and aid in stormwater management. The projects develop accessible wetland habitats while increasing biodiversity in the restored areas.

Community partners for this project include Abramson Sci Academy, Living School, CSED, The Water Collaborative, Common Ground Relief, Sprout New Orleans, The Meraux Foundation, Louisiana Green Corps, Greater New Orleans Iris Society, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and Audubon Nature Institute.

 Activities Include:

  • Hiking and kayaking at Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, which serves as a reference site. Explore the CORE Bayou Sauvage Biodiversity Survey here.
  • Small-scale restoration planning for up to 2 acres of land that will support native wetland plants
  • Design feedback from CORE mentors on proposed restoration plans 
  • Planting native plants such as Bald Cypress, Louisiana Iris, Eastern Gamagrass, Bulrush, Green Ash, and more
  • On-going monitoring for plant growth/mortality, biodiversity, and other chosen parameters

Outcomes Include:

  • Increased student knowledge of small-scale restoration
  • Increased ability to think critically about environmental issues
  • Increased confidence in designing and participating in stewardship projects
  • Increased biodiversity, water retention, and water quality in restored site

Location Overview:

History of the Location:

New Orleans East is a diverse area within New Orleans with a population of 85,000. It includes neighborhoods such as Village de L’Est which was populated predominantly by African Americans until the 1970s and then welcomed an influx of Vietnamese immigrants (source). Prior to development, the area consisted of freshwater wetlands. With the disappearance of these wetlands, the low-lying communities of New Orleans East, which are in the Bayou Sauvage watershed and nestled between Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Borgne, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, are prone to flooding from rain events. With its low elevation and poor stormwater management infrastructure, it remains one of the most vulnerable local areas to stormwater flooding. The area was heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina and has not recovered as quickly as other parts of New Orleans due to lack of investment and urban decay (source). 

In New Orleans East, easy access to restored natural habitat is limited to the Audubon Nature Center. In addition, green infrastructure projects, a key climate resilience strategy, are rare. As the effects of climate change increase the likelihood of extreme rain events, storage of stormwater, with projects like CORE, will reduce the strain on the City’s pumps and reduce the intensity of local flooding due to stormwater.