Louisiana wraps up its largest ever coastal restoration project

Louisiana wraps up its largest ever coastal restoration project
Updated: Mar. 17, 2017 at 5:06 PM CDT
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(WVUE) - Louisiana has wrapped up the largest coastal restoration project in its history, the $216 million Caminada Headland project west of Grand Isle.

Next week, Gov. John Bel Edwards and other officials plan an event on the state-owned Elmer's Island to mark the occasion.

The 13-mile stretch of beach and dune runs from the Belle Pass outlet of Bayou Lafourche eastward to Caminada Pass.

For decades, coastal planners have dreamed of restoring Elmer's Island and Fourchon Beach, which provides protection against hurricanes for the giant oil services area of Port Fourchon.

The new beach covers an area the size of roughly 1,047 football fields, according to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Undertaken in multiple stages since 2013, the restoration involved a first-of-its-kind method. About 8.4 million cubic yards of sand was dredged from Ship Shoal, an ancient Mississippi River delta in the Gulf of Mexico south of Cocodrie. Material was barged 30 miles to the headland, where it was pumped onto new beach.

In a statement, CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry said the restoration was "important to the safety of Port Fouchon."

Bradberry called it, "another link in a chain of projects that define and protect our coastal perimeter."

The state cobbled together the $216 million from a variety of sources, including $30 million in state surplus money from past years and $40 million from the federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP).  However, the largest chunk of money, $145.9 million, represented some of the earliest funding from fines associated with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

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