Trosclair featured in magazine

By Fritz Esker, Acadiana Profile

When Phillip “Scooter” Trosclair was growing up in Grand Chenier, he loved bass fishing. He was so passionate about his hobby that at age 16, he approached Guthrie Perry of the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to ask if he could help tag bass to track their movements. Perry said yes, and the very next day Trosclair returned to tell him he had used all 100 tags. An impressed Perry then gave Trosclair 1,000 tags and would soon offer Trosclair a student job at Rockefeller. Now at age 48, Trosclair is a program manager at Rockefeller and is on the front lines of efforts to rescue and restore Louisiana’s precious coastlines.

Shortly after he began his work at Rockefeller, Trosclair’s bosses asked him to help spot alligator nests from a helicopter. Seeing the land from above gave Trosclair his first real sense of the challenges Louisiana’s coastal lands face and how the extent of those challenges can vary from area to area. Those challenges have only intensified since Trosclair began his work.

Trosclair said as Louisiana loses land from its coastline, the tides change and saltwater intrusion increases. Some of the vegetation is unable to transition to becoming a saltwater marsh and it dies. The losses also affect shrimp, fish and crabs in the area. These losses then affect locals who depend on the seafood industry for their livelihoods. The coastlines provide the region a vital buffer zone for hurricanes, and the devastating hurricanes of 2020 emphasized the need for coastal restoration.
“Our coastline is our first line of defense,” Trosclair said. “Once we start to lose that, everything is affected.”

Some parts of the coastline are losing more land than others, and Trosclair said the goal is to focus on minimizing land loss in specific areas. The challenge is finding money for the work, which is expensive.

Recently, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act has provided funding.

One project Trosclair worked on was the Rockefeller Refuge Gulf Shoreline Stabilization Project, which placed rocks along the shoreline that protected it from gulf waves and allowed the marshes behind the rocks to rebuild.

When asked what he loves the most about Acadiana, Trosclair points to the people he has met and worked with as part of his job at Rockefeller. The sense of community he feels informs his fight to save Louisiana’s coastal areas.

“We’re all in this together,” Trosclair said.