HOUMA, La. (WGNO) — It’s one of the last lines of defense against hurricane storm surge, but it is rapidly disappearing.
Now, an initiative from state, local, and federal organizations along with oil companies are partnering with non-profit Ducks Unlimited to save Louisiana coastal wetlands.
A few miles from the grounds of the Conoco Phillips Coast Restoration Office is a huge effort to save the coast from decades of erosion.
“I can actually say we’re winning the fight now on coastal restoration,” Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove announced on Tuesday.
That declaration from President Dove was in reference to the work being done by a coalition of federal, state, and local partners to the industry in helping rebuild the parish’s coastline. The parish faced its share of damage from Hurricane Ida just a year ago.
“There’s so much that this habitat has to offer,” John Harrington with Conoco Phillips Coast Restoration told WGNO’s LBJ. “It’s motivating even with some of the environmental impacts from storms and others, and to keep moving on there’s no other option.”
Moving on for this coalition means building terraces in East Raccourci Bay, designed to break waves and protect coastlines from erosion.
“On the left side you can see a few waves and then on the right side, it’s a lot calmer,” Ducks Unlimited project engineer William Cenac explained. “This is a two-year project and we’re about 6 to 9 months in.”
Along each of the terraces, grass is then planted to help with stabilizing the berms – a herculean effort that can’t happen without partnerships.
“These coastal projects, they take lots of effort and time and work,” said Chevron Corporate Affairs Manager Leah Brown. “I’m sure you’ve heard the term many hands make light work. We couldn’t do this without Ducks Unlimited, without CPRA, and without our other industry partners, Conoco Phillips, Shell. It really takes all of us working together for a common goal.”
Ducks Unlimited, the conservation non-profit is the driving force behind this effort in a state with the highest coastal wetlands loss in the country.
“With activities like this and restoration efforts, we’re fighting back against that. Instead of losing more ground, we’re starting to gain ground,” explained Karen Waldrop with Ducks Unlimited.