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Louisiana Coastal Protection Agency Has Begun Dredging for New Marsh Project

Tue December 07, 2021 - Southeast Edition
CEG


Work has begun on containment dikes that will hold about 2.36 million cu. yds. of sand in a $32 million effort to restore more than 300 acres of marsh in Cameron Parish and construct 2.8 mi. of terracing. (Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority photo)
Work has begun on containment dikes that will hold about 2.36 million cu. yds. of sand in a $32 million effort to restore more than 300 acres of marsh in Cameron Parish and construct 2.8 mi. of terracing. (Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority photo)

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) announced Dec. 2 that it had started dredging activities on the Cameron Meadows Marsh Creation and Terracing Project.

The restoration work will take place northwest of Holly Beach in Cameron Parish and see the addition of 308 acres of marsh by pumping in 1.9 million cu. yds. of sediment from the Gulf of Mexico.

The agency aims to address the loss of a large area of marsh because of subsidence, saltwater surge from Hurricane Rita and other storms, excessive drought, and saltwater retention due to silted-in canals which prohibited adequate drainage, according to a news release from CPRA.

"Large scale marsh creation plays an integral role in our state's multiple lines of defense strategy," CPRA Chairman Chip Kline said in the statement. "The Cameron Meadows project will fortify the natural buffer that protects southwest Louisiana from storm surge while restoring hundreds of acres of coastal marsh habitat lost due to hurricanes and other factors."

The $32 million project is funded by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) and is a joint effort by CPRA and the federal sponsor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"We are excited to get dredging started on another project in southwest Louisiana," noted CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase. "The project will restore critical habitat for fish, wildlife, and the people and communities who depend on those resources."

The project's first phase, involving the construction of earthen terraces 12,150 ft. in length, was completed in June, according to CPRA. The terraces serve to reduce wave erosion and allow sediment deposition for land building.

The collaboration between local, state and federal entities in bringing the project to construction was greeted as welcome news by Laurie Cormier, coastal zone manager of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.

"After the four federal declared disasters of the 2020-2021 season, the Cameron Meadows Marsh Creation and Terracing Project is some much-needed good news for the people of Cameron Parish and of Calcasieu Parish," she explained. "When you protect Cameron Parish, you protect Calcasieu Parish and the Chenier Plain area of Coastal Louisiana."

She added that the construction of the earthen terraces and the dredging represents "a coastal win for the Chenier Plain."

Carrie Selberg Robinson, director of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation, highlighted the importance of improving coastal resilience through habitat restoration.

"Through CWPPRA, NOAA supports habitat restoration efforts that help restore vulnerable Louisiana coastline and rebuild the resilience of coastal communities," she explained. "We are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with CPRA [and] supporting projects that make a real difference for the people of Louisiana."

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock was awarded the competitively bid contract for construction, which is anticipated to be complete in January, the CPRA noted in its press release.




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