Chevron, LDWF and CCA collaborate to create critical new fisheries habitat south of Cocodrie

Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana, Chevron, Building Conservation Trust (CCA's National Habitat Program) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), began construction on a new artificial reef, located in Terrebonne Bay, south of Cocodrie.

Volunteers and project partners participated in a dedication ceremony at Coco Marina on Tuesday, followed by a trip to the project site. This is the second enhancement to the original Point Mast reef, constructed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 1985. An additional 3,500 tons of crushed limestone was added by CCA Louisiana in 2009. This addition is comprised of approximately 1200 tons of crushed limestone and will create between two and three acres of new reef habitat on the site.

Enhancement of this reef will support a variety of marine life, including oyster, crustaceans and small baitfish.  These species serve as forage to sportfish like redfish, speckled trout, flounder and others, making this new habitat a perfect spot for Louisiana anglers. The reef’s location in lower Terrebonne Bay is a site that was formerly emergent islands composed of relic oyster shells and dominated by dense stand of black mangrove.

CCA Louisiana’s Vice President of Habitat John Walther says that this project holds special significance for him, having fished the Cocodrie area throughout his entire life.

“I grew up fishing this area, and I have watched the marsh and habitat disappear throughout my lifetime,” said Walther.  “The opportunity to create new habitat while providing an easily accessible spot for anglers to enjoy is very special.  I am proud to have worked with our great partners on this effort.”

This project marks the third reef-building collaboration between CCA Louisiana and Chevron and is the 22nd artificial reef overall to be built by CCA Louisiana.  In total, CCA has constructed more than $8 million in marine habitat projects on the Louisiana coast. All past CCA projects have proven to provide exceptional fish habitat, and have become popular amongst recreational anglers.

“We would expect this reef to be holding speckled trout, redfish and drum this Spring,” said Walther.

Funding for the Point Mast Reef expansion was provided through Chevron, LDWF‘s Artificial Reef Development Fund and CCA’s Building Conservation Trust, as well as in-kind donations and services from DLS Energy. Continued support of CCA’s habitat program is provided by the Paul Candies Family.

Leah Brown from Chevron says her company is proud to support CCA in their mission to conserve Louisiana’s marine resources.

“Chevron recognizes the importance of protecting biological diversity- the rich variety of life on Earth, its ecosystems and species, and the ecological processes that support them,“ said Brown.  “This includes artificial reefs, which are proven to be very valuable fisheries habitat, and provide critical shoreline protection.”

LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet had high praise for all of the partners who came together to accomplish today’s project.

“These are the kinds of crucial partnerships that help all concerned, but especially Louisiana’s fishing community,” said Montoucet.  “This is Louisiana at its best.”

Sean Stone, Executive Director of CCA’s Building Conservation Trust, applauded the commitment by CCA Louisiana and their partners to build new habitat.

“Over the years, CCA Louisiana has built millions of dollars of new habitat across the Louisiana coast, covering hundreds of acres,” said Stone. “That work simply would not be possible without partners like Chevron, whose commitment allows CCA to leverage additional matching dollars and expand projects like this one exponentially.  Kudos to everyone who made this happen.”

Construction of the Point Mast Reef is expected to take less than a week. The coordinates for the new reef are 29° 6’ 21.574”N, 90° 38’ 3.114”W. That information is also available on signage installed at Coco Marina, and at ccalousiana.com.