Terrebonne Barrier Islands Refuge consists of three barrier islands in the Isles Dernieres Chain located across the shoreline of Terrebonne Parish. Wine Island, Whiskey Island, and Raccoon Island were acquired in June of 1992 from Louisiana Land and Exploration Company via a 25-year free lease. The three islands comprise a total of approximately 630 acres, although the lease agreement covers several thousand acres of water.
Wine Island, on the eastern end of the chain, was successfully reestablished in 1991 by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Raccoon Island is one of the most important waterbird nesting areas on the coast. Providing and protecting habitat for nesting waterbirds is the primary management goal.
Bird activity on the islands is monitored by Coastal and Nongame Resources staff from the Atchafalaya Delta, New Iberia, and Rockefeller Refuge. Enforcement of rules and regulations is provided by personnel stationed at the Atchafalaya Delta WMA.
Raccoon Island was devastated by a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The island was reduced from 192 acres to 114 acres, and island length was reduced by 50%. The remaining island was breached in several places, making it more susceptible to future erosion.
An ambitious effort to restore the island to pre-Andrew conditions was undertaken in 1992-93 by cooperation of several agencies. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government, and Terrebonne Tidewater Management and Conservation District are involved in this project, which will have major implications for possible restoration of other barrier islands. Dire Emergency Federal funds are the primary source of funding for the project. The project has three major objectives - 1) closure of breeches, 2) beach nourishment, and 3) back marsh creation.
Currently all breeches have been repaired on Raccoon Island, and the beach face is restored. Vegetative plantings and seedings are in place to help secure the dredged material. Wine Island also received dredged spoil and a rock perimeter to restore hurricane damage.