Volunteers to install ‘floating islands’ this weekend near Grand Isle

CCA, partners scheduled to build 6,000 square feet of new wetland habitat north of Highway 1

In support of Earth Day next week, project volunteers and students from Grand Isle, Larose and Golden Meadow schools will build about 6,000 square feet of new wetland island habitat just north of Highway 1 this weekend.

According to a press release from Coastal Conservation Association Louisiana, each 8 by 25 foot island will hold 400 plants and will be placed end-to-end and anchored to the water bottom at a spot between Fourchon and Grand Isle.

About 12,000 native plants, including mangrove, seashore paspalum and smooth cord grass will be installed. The “floating islands” technology allows these plants to take root in the water bottom while providing protection to Highway 1 from the natural elements, the release states.

“Highway 1 is the only road to and from Grand Isle, and the marsh surrounding the highway has been devastated by the effects of storms and coastal erosion, leaving it very vulnerable” Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph said.  “This project will create new marsh for the area, and provide much needed protection for the highway.  At the same, we will create great fish habitat that can be reached by shore-based anglers looking for redfish, trout, drum and other species”

This is the third island project spearheaded by CCA and Shell Oil Company. The first project was Phase I of the Isle de Jean Charles Project in Point Aux Chene completed in 2011, with Phase II there following in 2013.

In all, nearly 12,000 square feet of new marsh was created to help fortify marshland that had been devastated by years of erosion and storms.  It was the first project to use new technology developed by Martin EcoSystems in an open-water marine environment application.

“The results of the first effort in Point Aux Chene have been remarkable,” said CCA Louisiana Habitat Chairman John Walther.  “The islands we created there have outperformed the natural marsh, and have been more resilient to the effects of storms, two brutal winters, and continuous wave action.

“The opportunity to bring this same effort to the Grand Isle area was a no-brainer for CCA.”

If you’re interested in helping out with the installation, contact CCA Louisiana at 225-952-9200.  Island construction will occur this Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., rain or shine. Lunch will be provided to all volunteers.

Funding for the $200,000 project was provided by the CCA Building Conservation Trust, Shell Oil Company, Entergy, Lafourche Parish, Martin Ecosystems and private donations from CCA members.

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