Louisiana: More floating mats, less erosion
CCA-Louisiana, volunteers continue Floating Islands Restoration Project
CYPREMORT POINT — Recycled plastic bottles from last year’s Jazz Fest are helping fight coastal erosion along a section of shoreline in Vermilion Bay near the mouth of Quintana Canal.
On April 12, more than 100 students from Catholic High School in New Iberia, AMI Kids and 4-H Explorer Club members from East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge parishes met at Cypremort Point State Park and worked with volunteers from Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana and Shell Oil to complete Phase II of the Floating Islands Restoration Project. The project was spearheaded by five local chapters of CCA-Louisiana, including the local Sugar Chapter, along with CCA’s National Habitat Building Program, the Building Conservation Trust.
They teamed up to plant approximately 25,000 square feet of new wetland habitat on mats from Martin Ecosystems created from recycled plastic bottles from the 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The volunteers planted three types of native plants — mangrove, seashore paspalum and smooth cord grass in the 8 foot x 20 foot BioHaven Floating Islands.
Those mats were carried to the water and towed to the east side of Vermilion Bay in The Cove south of Quintana Canal.
“The work you are doing today will help rebuild and preserve our coast for generations to come,” CCA-Louisiana president John Walther of Thibodaux told the volunteers.
“Louisiana is in a state of crisis, losing habitat across our coast at an alarming rate. By being here today, you have chosen to do something about that, and make a positive difference,” Walther said. “In addition, the new land you are building today will become great new habitat for fish and other marine life, and should become a great place to go fishing. One day, you will be on the water with your family, see these islands, and take pride in the fact you helped build them.”
New Iberian Chad Courtois, an active member of CCA-Louisiana’s Sugar Chapter, also praised the overall effort. He was on hand last May for a similar project at Cypremort Point State Park.
“It makes me so proud to be part of an organization like CCA who has become the Louisiana leader in building marine habitat. A lot of groups talk about getting things done,” Courtois said during the event, “but CCA actually follows through, as evidenced by all of the habitat we’ve built over the past few years. And there’s plenty more to come.”
The latest project was the 28th habitat project completed in recent years by CCA-Louisiana and their partners, a list that includes 23 artificial reefs and five marsh planting projects, at a cost of nearly $10 million. CCA-Louisiana’s next habitat projects will be a new artificial reef at South Marsh Island 233 to be named the “Ted Beaullieu Sr. Reef” and expansion of the “Big Jack Reef” in Calcasieu Lake.
Funding for the local project was provided by CCA’s Building Conservation Trust, Shell Oil, Entergy and Martin Ecosystems, as well as donations by CCA-Louisiana members. Youth volunteers were coordinated by the CCA-Louisiana Youth Outreach program in with the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation and the Magistro Family Foundation.
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