CCA completes work on artificial reef

The Coastal Conservation Association and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have installed six mooring buoys at the new Independence Island Reef near Grand Isle.

The buoy installation, completed Tuesday, represents the final step in the construction of what is believed to be the largest limestone inshore artificial reef project ever in Louisiana.

The buoys are spread across the reef and allow boats to tie up when fishing over it. The buoys are secured by 400-pound concrete anchors that were provided by Century Group of Sulphur. BEF Marine in Belle Chase assisted with transport and deployment of the buoys.

“This project is the result of nearly two years of hard work and dedication by CCA volunteers, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and NOAA,” said David Cresson, CCA Louisiana Executive Director. “We are so appreciative of all of them for their incredible commitment to this important project. Anglers and their families will enjoy the benefits of this reef for generations. It will be exciting to watch and record how this new reef develops over time so that we can learn how to do these projects even better in the future.”

Last month nearly 8,000 tons of limestone were dropped from barges onto four acres about three miles Northeast of Grand Isle where Independence Island was once located. The total site is more than 50 acres. The center of the reef is located at 29° 18’ 26.98" N, -89° 56’ 01.01"W.

The $500,000 project was announced in December with a $250,000 donation from CCA’s Building Conservation Habitat Program. Cresson said a number of additional partners helped make the project possible, including Shell Oil Company, The Paul Candies Family, Vulcan Materials and Bertucci Contractors.

Shell Oil Company made a lead gift to CCA’s Building Conservation Program and additional funding for the project was also made available through LDWF’s Artificial Reef Development Fund.

CCA Conservation Committee Chairman John Walther encouraged anglers to try out the reef during the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo that kicks off Thursday.

“Reefs we have built in the past have proven to provide great habitat for our favorite species, like speckled trout and red-fish,” Walther said. “I expect that the structure should start holding fish this summer. The Tarpon Rodeo is a great chance to take advantage of this great new resource.”

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