Protecting the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

CPPJ project aimed at protecting the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is working on a project to help protect the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from erosion.

It's not news that the Louisiana coast is disappearing, but the CPPJ is lending a hand to slow down the damage through a rock barrier project.

"We're installing rock dike to prevent waves from the tug boats from eroding the marsh area on the north side of the intracoastal waterway," said Nathan Dondis with B&J Incorporated.

B&J Inc. is the company the CPPJ contracted with to do the project. Dondis said the project is using Kentucky Limestone which is a fairly dense and durable stone. He also said it's cost effective.

"Not only do they create an ecosystem for the environment, but as well they protect the areas north of them from hurricane surges and flood waters," Dondis said.

He said 19 barges were filled with rock for the project which will complete a 3,400-foot-long rock barrier along the intracoastal waterway. That's a little more than half a mile of rock barrier.

Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Dennis Scott said the project is funded through federal grant money at about $1.5 million. One third of that cost is the rock alone, but the coastal restoration projects don't stop here.

"We have basically 20 years of projects being planned and with the way the master plan was put out, Calcasieu Parish, all of Southwest Louisiana, stands to gain about $20 billion in projects, so you know this is a very long process, so every little rock counts," Scott said.

"The more of these projects along the waterway, the more significant of the land where we're covering," Scott continued.

Dondis said this area is about 500 acres of natural marsh and vegetated land that will continue to erode and eventually become a lake with no benefit to the environment unless it's protected.

According to the Clear Marais Bank Protection Fact Sheet from October 2002, each year, this area loses about 16 feet due to erosion, and with the rock barrier project, the area is expected to gain about 5 feet of land each year. 

The project began April 1 and is planned to be completed on May 5. 

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