Portions of the old Lake Pontchartrain Twin Spans have been converted to artificial reefs to provide fishery habitat, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reported today (April 12).

The four-acre reef is located between the new Interstate 10 bridge and Highway 11 at 30 degrees, 10.169 minutes latitude and 89 degrees, 50.744 minutes longitude.

The corners of the reef are marked by four yellow illuminated marker buoys.

Sixty spans were dismantled, processed and deployed as reef material. In addition to providing hard bottom habitat for bottom-dwelling organisms, the reef will create a valuable fish habitat for popular recreational species such as redfish, speckled trout, croakers, sheepshead and drum.

The creation of the artificial reef is the culmination of partnership between LDWF, Department of Transportation and Development, Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana and NOAA Office of Coast Survey.

"Increasing habitat for finfish will provide greater sportfishing opportunities on Lake Pontchartrain, which will ultimately benefit the economy in attracting people to the area," LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina said. "And we're able to do so utilizing materials that would typically be sent to a landfill."

The second phase of the bridge demolition is currently under way. Forty-two spans from the old Twin Spans will be used to create an additional four-acre reef.

Since its creation in 1986, the department's Artificial Reef Program has developed 28 reefs in Louisiana's inshore waters.