On November 27, 2019, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) announced the completion of the Cameron Creole Watershed Grand Bayou Marsh Creation project.
CPRA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) shared in the $12.4 million construction cost to restore over 700 acres of degraded marsh on the eastern shore of Calcasieu Lake in Cameron Parish.
“Anytime we have the ability to contribute to a worthwhile project, we do it, because we are all in this restoration fight together,” said LDNR Secretary Thomas Harris. “Our supplemental funding from our Mitigation and Beneficial Use programs enabled the creation of 60 extra acres of marsh and the nourishment of 100 acres or more.”
The project was primarily funded through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA), a federal/state partnership. The LDNR provided additional funding which enabled the expansion of the project and the creation of additional acreage.
“We are thrilled to announce the completion of another coastal restoration project in Southwest Louisiana,” said CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline. “Cooperation on the federal, state, and local level is essential; and this project is another example of the cooperative spirit that has been a hallmark of our coastal progress.”
In addition to the Cameron-Creole Watershed Grand Bayou Marsh Creation project, this calendar year has seen the completion of two other projects in Southwest Louisiana with a total value of approximately $56 million, both funded largely by CWPPRA and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Oyster Bayou Marsh Creation and Terracing in Cameron Parish restored and nourished approximately 960 acres, while Cole’s Bayou Marsh Restoration in Vermilion Parish created and nourished more than 400 acres and installed nine water control structures to improve the flow of fresh water and sediment within the interior wetlands.
Construction is ongoing on the Cameron-Creole Freshwater Introduction project, a $26 million CWPPRA-funded partnership with CPRA and the NRCS. The project will add fresh water to control salinity levels in more than 22,000 acres of marsh on the east side of Lake Calcasieu.
Additionally, the Cameron Meadows Marsh Creation and Terracing project, a CWPPRA-funded partnership with CPRA and NMFS, will go out to bid in the coming weeks. The project will use dredged material to restore approximately 400 acres of coastal marsh habitat and will construct more than 12,000 linear feet of earthen terraces on the west side of Calcasieu Lake.
CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase says there is more to come. “Over the past year, we’ve had four restoration projects under construction in Cameron and Vermilion Parishes, restoring approximately 1,350 acres, and we’re advancing an additional 13 projects through design that will benefit about 12,000 acres of wetlands in this region,” Haase said. “Once complete, these projects will represent a collective investment of over $500 million in coastal restoration for Southwest Louisiana.”
All photos courtesy of CPRA.