BATON ROUGE, LA – The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) today announced the completion of another segment of rock breakwaters at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Cameron Parish. The Rockefeller Shoreline Protection project expanded the area’s rock shoreline by 3,414 linear feet, adding erosion protection to an area that has been retreating at an average of 70 feet per year.
Formed using a lightweight aggregate core material covered with larger rocks, the breakwater structure blocks wave energy from eroding the shoreline and contributing to rapid land loss. Combined with the just-completed state project and an earlier project funded through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA), the total rock shoreline protecting the Rockefeller Refuge will stretch 4.5 miles.
The $9.27 million project, a collaboration between CPRA and the Cameron Parish Police Jury, was funded by a combination of state surplus dollars and Cameron Parish Community Development Block grants.
“Implementing an innovative and effective solution to address the rapid land loss at Rockefeller Refuge has been a top priority at CPRA,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “These breakwaters not only prevent day-to-day impacts to the southwest coast, but they have also proven they can withstand an unprecedented hurricane season. The value of these restoration and protection efforts to our state, our coast, and our people can’t be overstated.”
“The Rockefeller Refuge project is a significant step in protecting Southwest Louisiana from land loss and storm surges,” said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase. “The breakwater structures have been very effective in enabling sediment to accumulate on the coast, which in turn allows for sustained marsh creation, vegetation growth, and shoreline expansion.”
State Representative Ryan Bourriaque says earlier federal, state, and local partnerships achieved success in the region, and the lessons learned are being replicated in projects along the Cameron Parish shoreline.
“This is a perfect example of what can be accomplished in the coastal arena when partnerships are formed for the greater good,” Bourriaque said. “In spite of two direct-hit hurricanes in 2020, the projects have fared well overall, and the protection afforded by these shoreline projects benefit our coastal communities and all points north.”
“An investment in our coast is an investment in the future of Louisiana,” said State Senator Mark Abraham, whose district includes Cameron Parish. “The Rockefeller project and those like it don’t just protect our coastal communities, they benefit the entire state and preserve one of the most productive ecosystems in the country.”
Coastal Zone Manager for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Laurie Cormier says the benefits of the Rockefeller Refuge project will have a lasting effect on all of Southwest Louisiana.
“The Rockefeller Shoreline Protection Project is part of our multiple lines of defense strategy for the Southwest Region,” Cormier said. “When we protect the Cameron shoreline, we don’t just protect the coastal marsh wetlands, we also protect the citizens, wildlife, vegetation, and culture of Southwest Louisiana. This is an important project and its extension is exciting news for the entire Chenier Plain.”
CPRA continues work on ongoing projects to protect and restore the area, including the Cameron Meadows Marsh Creation and Terracing project, the Cameron-Creole Freshwater Introduction project, and the Rabbit Island Restoration project.