Building up the dunes on the Cameron coast - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Building up the dunes on the Cameron coast

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It's a small effort with a huge impact. Fifty volunteers from all over met at Long Beach in western Cameron Parish this weekend to help protect the disappearing coast.

"We've lost about 1,800 square miles of wetlands, so an area about the size of Delaware since the 1930s," Hilary Collis said. 

Collis is the Restoration Program Director for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. She said the goal is to create larger dunes on the beach to protect the inlands.

"It will create wildlife habitats and overall just help improve the coast of southern Louisiana," Collis said.

Volunteers focused on two miles of the beach along the dune fences.

The dune fences were built last year to help build up the dunes. Now, the plants will help them get even bigger.

Close to 10,000 of these plants, called bitter panicum, will now live along the sand fences.

"What these plants do is they help capture sand as it washes ashore and help build up sand dunes. They grow really long roots that grow to the bottom of the sand dune and will keep growing as more sand buries them," Collis said.

And it's something the volunteers care about.

"I think the sand fences helped last year when they put up the sand fence, I think it helped. You could see the sand building up around the fence and I think the vegetation will help as well," said Suzie Tweedel of Port Arthur, Texas.

"You always got to make the effort," said David Pellegrin, of Houma. "Millions of people live in this area and we gotta do everything we can to try to help."

"We've been through a lot of hurricanes and we need to do everything we can to save what we've got and hopefully we gain a little bit," said Steve DeVillier, of Lake Charles.

And to Collis, anything helps when it comes to protection during storm season.

"So everything that we can do to kind of help rebuild what little we can of what's been lost, we'll just have that much more protection to our communities," Collis said.

For more information, you can visit the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana website here or call 225-767-4181.

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