LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Rutherford Beach’s shoreline is lost every year because of coastal erosion.
A timelapse on Google Earth shows the difference between 2004 and now.
Waves and wind remove sediment over time, so the breakwater project was completed to preserve what’s left of Cameron Parish’s coastline.
“This project was specifically done for residences,” project manager Nicholas Gaspard said. “We had people that used to have some beachfront property and they were losing land into the Gulf of Mexico.”
A six-foot-tall structure of rocks acts as a natural barrier, breaking the waves and force of it.
“So, if you just slow down the waves, you get em to break on the rocks then you don’t have the waves coming in, grabbing sand and coming out with the currents, ”Cameron Parish Police Jury Administrator Katie Armentor said.
Visitors can see the project from the shoreline, but that wasn’t the case over a decade ago when it would have been further away.
“We are placing those breakwaters on what beach was in 2004," Armentor said. "Everyone that enjoyed our beaches in 2004, that’s where our rocks are placed right now. that’s how much shoreline is being eroded every year.”
Project manager Nicholas Gaspard said he was worried when Hurricane Laura hit. The project was 80% completed at the time.
“It doesn’t look like [the rocks] moved at all," Gaspard said, which is promising. "Not only will we stop the erosion now but hopefully in the next ten years we’ll have some land gained.”
Cameron’s sandbars coated in armor.
“It acts as just our natural barrier," Armentor said. “Belize for example, they have natural barrier reefs that protect their shores. Ours are sandbars, we’re just gonna have to armor the sandbars and keep them in place.”
Breakwater projects are underway for Rockefeller, Long Beach and sections of Little Florida.