LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Five federal agencies in the state of Louisiana have been working together for more than 25 years to help preserve our Louisiana coastline.
On Oct. 10, those agencies gathered at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to celebrate six new protection projects in southwest Louisiana.
For more than 100 years, Louisiana officials have known that our coastline has been deteriorating.
"Some of the highest rates of coastal erosion in the state has been right here in southwest Louisiana," U.S Department of Fish and Wildlife and Rockerfeller Refuge program manager Scooter Trosclair said.
That's why the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act task force was founded in 1990.
Since its inception, Congress has allocated more than $1.8 billion to preservation and restoration projects.
Together, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority bring different assets to the project.
"Evaluating what the problems are, its unique combination of salinity control, erosion control, freshwater management that every situation is different,” CWPPRA chairman and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Michael Clancy said. “That’s where the planning comes in."
Through planning, CWPPRA has been able to protect six different areas in southwest Louisiana this year; four in Cameron Parish, and one in Vermillion and Iberia Parishes. The Rockefeller Refuge Gulf Shoreline Stabilization project is a vital project in Cameron parish.
"We have surveyed and monitored within nine months over 233 feet of complete land loss," Trosclair said.
With all of the shells and debris washed ashore by the gulf, the marsh along the coast dies pushing the coastline inward.
“Marsh that we can maintain that’s gonna reduce storm surges,” Trosclair said. “If the shoreline continues to retreat inland other areas further north may not be enough for people to evacuate. So, it’s really important that we can maintain what we have”
By placing huge rocks along the shoreline, it will prevent the debris from washing ashore.
"We will also begin to see vegetation recover and begin working its way down to the rock project," Trosclair said.
The stabilization project will protect more than 450 acres of coastal wetlands in Cameron parish, and is expected to be finished in December.
Officials expect to see debris buildup and vegetative growth within six months of the project’s completion.