Rock barrier Tangipahoa's first layer of hurricane protection - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Rock barrier provides Tangipahoa's first layer of hurricane protection

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Rocks are dropped in place to build a jetty along the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline in Tangipahoa Parish Rocks are dropped in place to build a jetty along the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline in Tangipahoa Parish

Manchac, La. -- Along Lake Pontchartrain's northwest shoreline, workers are laying a nearly-two-mile barrier of rock, Tangipahoa Parish's first significant effort to restore its shrinking coastline.

The jetties will cut down on wave action that chews at the coast.

"That's going to alleviate our coastal erosion," explained Parish President Gordon Burgess.

The $5.6 million project, paid for through the federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program, will install 9,000 feet of jetties roughly 100 yards offshore.

About a quarter-mile of the coastline has eroded along the northwest corner of Lake Pontchartrain, much of it in only the last decade.

"This is the first time that we've been able to get funding of this magnitude," Burgess said.

The jetties, six to eight feet high, will make only so much difference.  

For now, they extend from the mouth of Tangipahoa River toward the west.  The parish hopes to secure funding to fill in a 7,000 feet gap, stretching the rocks all the way to North Pass near Manchac.

The hope is those waves doing so much damage may now become an ally of sorts, depositing soil that will build up over time.

"When those jetties are in place, you're going to see some buildup of the coastline," Burgess said.

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