Shell Oil Company, Building Conservation Trust and LDWF work together to create critical new habitat in Big Lake
Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana, Shell Oil Company, Building Conservation Trust (CCA’s National Habitat Program), the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and DLS Energy will begin construction on an expansion to “Big Jack’s Reef” in Calcasieu Lake next week.
This will be the first enhancement to the original Big Jack’s Reef, constructed by CCA and conservation partners in 2017 in memory of Lake Charles conservation legend Jack Lawton, Sr. The original project created roughly 6 acres of reef habitat in southern Calcasieu Lake that has become a popular hot spot for local anglers. The expansion project will consist of another 6,000 tons of “softball sized” limestone or crushed concrete spread over 5 to 6 acres adjacent to the original reef.
Enhancement of this reef will support a variety of marine life, including oysters, crustaceans and small baitfish. These species serve as forage to sportfish like redfish, speckled trout, flounder and others, making this enhanced habitat a perfect spot for Louisiana anglers. The new, larger reef footprint will provide additional opportunity for anglers to enjoy. The reef’s location in southern Calcasieu Lake make it of particular significance considering the recent loss of critical oyster reef habitat in the area.
This project marks the fifth reef project completed by CCA in Calcasieu Lake. In 2007, CCA built Turner’s Bay Reef, followed by the Brad Vincent Reef in 2012. In 2017, CCA Louisiana completed the original “Big Jack’s Reef” in southern Big Lake, and in 2018, CCA completed an expansion to the Vincent Reef. In total, CCA has constructed 25 artificial reefs across Louisiana in recent years, representing an investment of more than $10 million in marine habitat.
Last week CCA also announced plans to build the Ted Beaullieu, Sr. Reef in the place of removed oil and gas platforms in South Marsh Island Block 233. That project should be completed in the next two months.
Funding for the Big Jack’s Reef expansion is provided through CCA’s Building Conservation Trust, Shell Oil Company and LDWF‘s Artificial Reef Development Fund. In-kind materials and services will be provided by DLS Energy and Road Rock Recycling.