Representatives from Shell oil company presented the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program with the money at its management conference meeting Wednesday in Thibodaux.
The islands are unnamed spits of land in Barataria Bay east of East Grand Terre island. Richard DeMay, a scientist with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, tells The Courier ( http://bit.ly/sS3nBh they are as small as 3 to 6 acres apiece.
But small as they are, the islands are home to thousands of birds during nesting season, including brown pelicans, gulls, egrets and roseate spoonbills, which pack in beak to beak to roost and raise their young in the spring and summer.
The islands are too small to support predators, which makes them more appealing to birds.
At one time, the islands were as big as 200 acres each. But shoreline erosion from waves and storms has caused them to nearly disappear, DeMay said.
"We should begin this now. These islands are in real jeopardy," said DeMay.
The plan is to build a shield of rocks around the islands to protect them from waves and erosion and then fill in the islands with dredged material to beef them up.
Similar projects have been done on Wine Island in Terrebonne Parish and Queen Bess Island near Grand Isle, DeMay said.
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com