Coastal Conservation Association’s Building Conservation Trust, in partnership with Shell Oil Company, Entergy, Lafourche Parish, Martin Ecosystems and local students from Holy Rosary Catholic School and Golden Meadow Middle School will join together to help rebuild the coastline off of Louisiana Highway 1 between Fourchon and Grand Isle. This event is held in honor of Earth Day 2015, which is April 22 each year.
On Friday, April 17th and Saturday April 18th, project volunteers and students from various schools, will build approximately 6,000 square feet of new wetland island habitat and place them in the water just north of LA 1. Each 8 by 25 foot island will hold 400 plants, and will be placed end-to-end and anchored to the water bottom. Roughly 12,000 native plants, including mangrove, seashore paspalum and smooth cord grass, will be installed. The “floating islands” technology allows these plants to take root in the water bottom while providing protection to LA 1 from the natural elements.
“Highway 1 is the only road to and from Grand Isle, and the marsh surrounding the highway has been devastated by the effects of storms and coastal erosion, leaving it very vulnerable” said Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph said. “This project will create new marsh for the area, and provide much needed protection for the highway. At the same, we will create great fish habitat that can be reached by shore-based anglers looking for redfish, trout, drum and other species”
This is the third project of this type spearheaded by CCA and Shell. The first project was Phase I of the Isle deJean Charles Project in Point Aux Chene, completed in 2011. Phase II of the Isle deJean Charles project followed in 2013. In all, nearly 12,000 square feet of new marsh was created to helping fortify marshland that had been devastated by years of erosion and storms. It was the first project to use this new technology, developed by Martin EcoSystems, in an open-water marine environment application.
“Shell considers Louisiana home and takes pride in its work to enhance our natural resources and protect the environment while striving to meet the growing demand for domestic energy,” said Dwight Johnston, Shell Deep Water’s Vice President of Health, Safety and Environment. “Shell is proud to partner with CCA’s La 1 Floating Islands Project, and the success of the first two projects proves that a holistic approach to protecting the environment where we work is possible.”
Funding for the project is provided by CCA Building Conservation Trust, Shell Oil Company, Entergy, Lafourche Parish, Martin Ecosystems and private donations by CCA members. The total project cost is expected to be approximately $200,000.
“This project is a perfect microcosm of what it’s going to take to build a more resilient coast – government, business and the community working hand in hand to implement innovative solutions that protect critical infrastructure and restore vital marshland,” said Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy’s Louisiana utilities. “We owe it to our customers, our shareholders and our employees to do everything we can to improve the resilience and sustainability of our coastal communities.”
CCA and their partners have been so pleased with past project results, they decided to undertake this new challenge between Fourchon and Grand Isle.
“The results of the first effort in Point Aux Chene have been remarkable,” said CCA Louisiana Habitat Chairman John Walther. “The islands we created there have outperformed the natural marsh, and have been more resilient to the effects of storms, two brutal winters, and continuous wave action. The opportunity to bring this same effort to the Grand Isle area was a no-brainer for CCA.”