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Contact: Kim Philippi
Entergy and Shell Oil Company Support “Floating Islands” Project
Innovative Habitat Created in Vermilion Bay
LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – (May 25, 2018) – On Friday, May 18, 2018, volunteers and local students teamed up to rebuild the coastline in Vermilion Bay near Cypremort Point. Funding for this project was made possible through grants from Entergy and Shell Oil Company. Other funding partners include Coastal Conservation Association Louisiana (CCA Louisiana) and CCA’s National Habitat Program, the Building Conservation Trust (BCT).
“We are so grateful for such generous partners like Entergy and Shell,” said Sean Stone, executive director of Building Conservation Trust. “They have both funded past phases of the Floating Islands project, and we would not be able to continue these large-scale, impactful projects without their support.”
Initially, constructed wetlands were developed to improve the natural sustainability and life expectancy of plants. Research soon revealed their benefits for fish habitats. With just slivers of marsh remaining in some areas along the coast, the Floating Islands Installation project uses constructed wetlands created by Martin Ecosystems to plant native species and allow them to grow a root system. The islands create land where erosion has taken place and form habitats for spawning. They also protect existing land against eroding wave action, as well as build new land in shallow open waters.
“BCT and CCA Louisiana were the first to use floating islands technology in an open-water application in the marine environment,” said David Cresson, executive director of CCA Louisiana. “One of the most innovative habitat technologies we’ve seen, the floating islands are made of 100% recycled drinking grade plastic that is safe for marine life and Coast Guard-approved marine foam for buoyancy, all held in place on a PVC pipe frame.”
Last week, more than 100 local high school students from AMIkids and middle school students from Catholic High of New Iberia built approximately 4,000 square feet of new wetland island habitat at Cypremort Point State Park and placed them in the water just south of Quintana Canal. Placed end-to-end and anchored to the water bottom, each 8 x 15 foot “island” holds 300 plants. Roughly 8,000 native plants, including mangrove, seashore paspalum and smooth cordgrass, were installed.
“This fourth phase of the Floating Islands Installation Project was a huge success and has resulted in wide-spread enthusiasm from the local community,” said John Walther, chairman of the CCA Louisiana habitat committee. “The support we’ve received from Entergy and Shell really exemplifies the unlimited potential there is to create marine habitat when we all come together for a great cause.”
The Building Conservation Trust (BCT) was founded in 2013 as the national marine habitat program of Coastal Conservation Association. BCT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to providing funding for local, state and national fisheries, habitat conservation and restoration projects. BCT has created a model for the successful collaboration of business, non-profit organizations and government agencies to revitalize critical habitat and establish a vibrant foundation for the marine ecosystem.
In its 35th year, CCA Louisiana is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the state. With more than 30,000 members and volunteers in 29 local chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977. Visit www.CCALouisiana.com for more information.