|CCA and Conservation Partners construct St. Tammany Fishing Pier Reef|
|Monday, 18 February 2013 16:13|
Reef built using recycled I-10 twin span rubble.
The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana, Shell Oil Company, The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Bertucci Contractors have completed construction on a new artificial reef in Lake Pontchartrain, built around the base of the new St. Tammany Fishing Pier in Slidell.
The reef was built with recycled material taken from the old I-10 Twin Span Bridges that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The new "St. Tammany Fishing Pier Reef" is the third reef built by CCA and LDWF in Lake Pontchartrain using material from the damaged bridges. The South Shore Reef and the Kim and Dudley Vandenborre reefs were built in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
"We have been catching big trout and redfish on the CCA reefs in Lake Pontchartrain since they were first built, so there is no doubt they hold fish," says CCA Slidell President Ron Harris. "The new pier reef will surely be no different. I can't wait to give it a shot later this spring as weather conditions improve."
In 2012, St. Tammany Parish completed construction on the St. Tammany Fishing Pier, using two 1,500 foot spans of the old I-10 bridges. The opening weekend saw thousands of area anglers fishing the pier, and it has remained a very popular and productive fishing spot for anglers and their families. At the grand opening, CCA Volunteers gave out free rods and reels to the first 200 kids on the pier.
The pier has been closed to the public since September due to damage from Hurricane Isaac, and is currently undergoing repairs. Local officials hope to re-open the pier to the public soon.
“We continue to work with FEMA to repair and bring back the fishing pier, but the addition of an artificial reef will make it an even better place to take the family fishing,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “With the generous gift of the reef, the big fish of Sportsman’s Paradise will easier to target right here in St. Tammany Parish.”
“The new St. Tammany Fishing Pier Reef will create a great habitat for these fish,” said CCA Louisiana Habitat Chairman John Walther. “While the bridges have always been known to hold fish, the rocky bottom created by this new reef will attract the micro-organisms and baitfish that are coveted by our target species. We expect trout, redfish and flounder to be plentiful over this new reef.”
The recycled material will be broken down into 6-8 inch diameter pieces or smaller, and will be placed between the two spans.
“These new enhancements will benefit shore-based anglers just as our other artificial reefs have benefitted boating anglers,” said Walther. “The smaller material should help create an excellent habitat as well.”
"The public pier and the new reef are good for fisherman, good for fish and good for local businesses," said Michael Tate, owner of The Dock Bar and Grill. "It will attract fish and fishermen, and that's positive for everyone."
The St. Tammany Fishing Pier Reef is the 11th built by CCA in recent years, and the 5th to utilize recycled material. In 2012, CCA and their partners completed the Brad Vincent Reef in Calcasieu Lake and the Buras High School Reef in Breton Sound. Later this spring CCA will build its 12th reef near Cypremort Point, in Vermilion Bay.
Funding for the St. Tammany Pier Reef was provided by Shell Oil Company, CCA’s Building Conservation Trust and LDWF’s Artificial Reef Trust Fund. Continuing support of CCA’s Artificial Reef Program is provided by the Paul Candies Family.
“As always, CCA is proud to work with our great partners in conservation to make this project possible,” said Walther. “This is another great example of government, industry and non-profit organizations coming together for the good of our coastal habitat.”