CAMERON, LA (KPLC) - The state of Louisiana is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes, 16 square miles a year. The shoreline is eroding down in Cameron Parish and because of the damage Hurricane Rita caused, there is little in the way to stop it.
CITGO and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana teamed up to plant plugs of grass along the shoreline.
The third annual dune restoration event began early Saturday morning along two miles of Holly Beach.
"The beach grass we are putting in holds sand in place, captures sand that's blowing in the wind, uses its roots system to keep it in place to build dunes to keep the beach here to protect us," said Kimberly Reyher, the Executive Director of CRCL.
The mission is to restore the wildlife to the area, as well as providing protection against the receding coastline.
"Not only can we see the progress what we're doing today, but we can see the grass that we planted two years ago," said CITGO Vice President and General Manager, Tomeo Vadell. "It's a testimony-you can see for yourself, its beautiful, its growing and I believe we're making a difference so hopefully our kids can come back in the future and see our coast is still here."
160,000 plants have been planted so far—28,000 just today along 2 miles of Holly Beach.
"It's satisfaction, you can see it's a job well done and for me it's a pleasure to see how the community is responding to this program and it seems they are eager to jump and help," said Vadell.
Students from McNeese and local high schools came to help as well.
McNeese received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2015 called the Bay-Watershed Education and Training or B-WET project.
"One of the components in stewardship and one of the objectives is a project called save our shores and we're out here today fulfilling that objective by planting 5,000 plants that we purchased," said Gary Kratzer, Nature Lab Coordinator and Principle Investigator for the NOAA grant.
This event was part of CITGO's Caring for Our Coast initiative which started in 2014 to commemorate Katrina and Rita. CITGO, CRCL, and McNeese plan on continuing this effort for years to come.