New hope for islands nearly lost to erosion - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

New hope for islands nearly lost to erosion

Updated:
Plaquemines Parish Coastal Director P.J. Hahn surveys the remains of Cat Island in Barataria Bay Plaquemines Parish Coastal Director P.J. Hahn surveys the remains of Cat Island in Barataria Bay

Barataria Bay, La. — Plaquemines Parish officials expect to win a state permit next week, allowing them to rebuild two rapidly eroding islands in Barataria Bay.

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources could award the required permit as early as Monday, according to P.J. Hahn, the parish coastal zone management director.

The larger of the two islands, nicknamed "Cat Island" by locals, lost virtually all its remaining vegetation during Hurricane Isaac.

Hahn insists the island can be saved.  "We still have time. Not much, but we still have some time," Hahn said.

The permit will allow the parish to construct a rock barrier around the island.

Plaquemines Parish has cobbled together roughly $3 million from a variety of sources, including state coastal funds, to pay for the first phase of the reconstruction.

Kenny Ferachi, an engineer with Manchac Consulting Group, said the "strategically placed barrier" would break the wave action while not completely encircling the island.  The design would allow "waves to deposit sediment behind the barrier so it slowly builds on its own," Ferachi said.

A later phase would involve pumping dredge material to build back the island.

Although the parish has not secured the money for the dredging, Hahn said parish officials have talked with dredge companies about donating work.

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