Volunteers preserve land protecting Port Fourchon - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Volunteers preserve land protecting Port Fourchon

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A volunteer plants mangroves near Port Fourchon A volunteer plants mangroves near Port Fourchon

Port Fourchon, La .- Just a short boat ride from Port Fourchon sits a strip of land that used to be open water. ConocoPhillips filled in this canal years ago and now, they want to be sure the land doesn't disappear.

The company teamed up with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.

Volunteers will plant more than 7,000 mangroves on the land in two days. The plants thrive in warm, coastal areas and their roots spread out underground, preventing erosion.

"By coming in and adding plants, you get the roots if these plants to hold it all in place and keep it from eroding away," says Hillary Collis with the CRCL.

The mangroves will be fully grown in about five years but the benefits will be felt much sooner. Even the young plants provide a habitat for wildlife.

"On some of the barrier islands, pelicans use these to nest and if you go out there at certain times, there's little babies," says Regina Bledsoe, one of the volunteers. "It's beautiful."

Bledsoe is an environmental biology major at Nicholls State but that's only one reason why she volunteered.

"I was raised in Dularge and we moved to Thibodaux partially because it floods in Dularge now where we used to live," she says. "I guess that's why I think it's so important now to plant on these areas that are so close to the coast because that the first thing that storms hit."

University of New Orleans student Savanna Ganucheau says she has a new appreciation for the coastline's value and vulnerability.

"I hear about it all the time and I've never really looked at it," says Ganucheau. "It's really beautiful and even though I live in New Orleans, just seeing this and seeing all the birds and the wildlife here it's so nice to know that maybe we helped make it stay here."

It's a small effort that will have a big impact on the future of Port Fourchon.

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