Courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife and Sabine National Wildlife Refuge

Just northwest of Holly Beach, the once lush marsh of Cameron Meadows has been severely degraded over the past two decades by the combined forces of oil and gas exploration and hurricanes. Now work has begun on a $32 million effort to restore 319 acres of the marsh. Louisiana expects the Houston-based Great Lakes Dredging & Docks to pump about 2.36 million cubic yards of sand, dredged from the Gulf of Mexico, into the site. Along with the restoration, the state will build about 2¾ miles of terracing to the east to knock down waves and allow more sediment to settle in the future.

Hit by both Hurricanes Laura and Delta in back to back storms this summer, the once marsh is now open water. This project will strengthen the offshore border of Louisiana in the Lake Charles area, again hit badly by the hurricanes. Chip Kline, chairman of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority stated:

“These large marsh creation projects not only increase protection for the parishes immediately along the coast, but they add acreage between the land and the sea, pushing it further away from heavily populated areas further inland such as Lake Charles,” Kline said. “And the 2020 hurricane season further cemented this goal and our sense of urgency to increase protection for residents across Southwest Louisiana.”

It was not just Laura and Delta that caused the damage as the area was also hit by Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 which caused sever damage as well. Oil and gas exploration and withdrawal have caused the land to sink making the situation worse.

Laurie Cormier, a planner and coastal zone manager in Calcasieu Parish, likened Cameron Parish to a barrier island for Lake Charles. “This project will … strengthen and protect us from future storms,” said Cormier, who also is a member of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. “Anytime we create marsh and add terracing projects in Cameron Parish, we create additional protection for Calcasieu Parish residents.”

In a broader sense, this topic goes back the Rep Scalise OP Ed and the Bob Marshall response. Which way is Louisiana to go?

More Than 300 acres of Louisiana Marsh to Be Rebuilt
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